Ten Quick Steps to Emailing Your Instructor

Need to email your instructor and not sure where to start? These ten easy to follow steps will help you get that email written and the send button hit in no time!4805341351. Use your NOVA student email account to send your email. All correspondence relating to your courses should come from and go to your NOVA email address. Email messages originating from other email addresses may go directly to your instructors SPAM folder and go unnoticed.

2. Make your subject line meaningful. Your instructor likely teaches multiple courses and may even teach on other campuses. Include the course and section number along with a quick description of why you are writing your instructor.
An example might look like this:
Subject: PSY 200-E05W, Question about grade calculations

3. Briefly and politely state the reason you are writing. Be sure to include all of the relevant information pertaining to your question and leave out anything that does not relate directly to the situation.

4. If you are writing your instructor because you have a problem, include a proposed solution in your email. The instructor may or may not agree with your suggestion. Regardless, it does demonstrate to your instructor you are taking the initiative to actively work towards resolving the situation.

5. Sign your email with your complete first and last name along with your student ID number.

6. Read through your email to check for spelling and punctuation errors. Make sure all of your sentences are complete and do not contain any abbreviations or other modified text that is used in text messaging.

7. If your email is lengthy, have a second set of eyes proofread your email for clarity. This will be an opportunity to make sure you have clearly articulated what it is you wanted to say.

8. Send your email.

9. Allow adequate time for a response from your instructor. Many NOVA Online instructors also teach campus based courses so they are not always sitting at their computer in their office. Often you will find information in the syllabus relating to how soon you should expect a response from your instructor.

10. Once you have received a response from your instructor, acknowledge it. A simple “Thank you” may be all that is needed. If your instructor asks you questions in their response to your email, be sure to answer all of them thoroughly.

This post was adapted from www.wikihow.com/Email-a-professor by the NOVA Online Success Coaches to help you develop skills to effectively communicate through email to your instructor for the February focus on communication. NOVA Online Success Coaches can be reached at elisuccess@nvcc.edu or 703.764.5076.

ToBeMe@NOVA: Veteran/Active Duty Military Students Resources

Thank you to all students who shared what it’s like to be a Veteran/Active Duty Military student at NOVA. Below you will find some helpful resources and tips for students and faculty to better serve this great student population.

For Students:

Stay in contact with your instructor. For active military students and students who are family members of active duty soldiers, orders can come without much warning and it can take a toll on academic performance without the right support. Such mitigating circumstances need to be shared with instructors immediately to discuss any accommodations. If you need additional help with exploring your options, reach out to Military Services (see below for contact info) and NOVA Online Success Coaches (elisuccess@nvcc.edu).

Testing Information. Many military students live outside of the Northern Virginia area and need to make arrangements to ensure all course exams are done in a timely manner. You have the option of taking NOVA Online Course Exams at a location more convenient for you through the Proctor Approval Process. Please click here for more testing information and infomation how to find a proctor to take your exams near you!

Use our Office of Military Services. NOVA offers our Veteran, Active Duty, and Military dependents/spouses/families resources and services they need to make their educational experience as enriching as possible. Reach out to the Office of Military Services to get more information and find a Veteran Advisor and a Military Site Representative at militaryservices@nvcc.edu or call 703.293.8132.

For Faculty

Keep lines of communication open. Create an environment in which students feel comfortable to come to you as issues arise.

Know where to refer students. You will often be the first point of contact for our students so you need to be aware of the appropriate referrals to make. You can send your students to the Office of Military Services for assistance and have them reach out to NOVA Online Success Coaches if you aren’t sure where to start.

Be empathic. Addressing students with a tone of understanding and support can go a very long way.

If you have any questions please reach out to the Office of Military Services or email NOVA Online Student Success Coaches.

–Jennifer, NOVA Online Student Success Coach

MTT – Technology Based Developmental Math

Are you enrolled in a MTT course through NOVA Online? We want to make sure you have all the information to start strong!math

What is MTT ?

MTT refers to the Motivating Academic Success Through Effective Redesign (MASTER) math courses that make up NOVA’s developmental math program. These courses offer personalized instruction allowing students to skip sections of material in which they can demonstrate competency and work toward mastery of the remaining material. Which MTT course a student takes depends upon the number of units needed. The Virginia Placement Test (VPT) for mathematics is aligned with the MTT units. View the MASTER Math: Progression chart to determine what units are required to be prepared for specific math courses at NOVA. The most units a student can cover in an MTT course at one time is four (MTT 4). Some students may need to complete more than one MTT course to be prepared for the math course required for their degree.

To be successful in MTT, you will need to spend several hours working on the course activities.

Textbooks and Course Materials:

MTT courses use MyMathLab which is an online textbook-based diagnostic evaluation and tutorial program designed specifically for this course. It includes an electronic copy of the class textbook, a variety of multimedia instructional resources, unlimited practice exercises, self-paced learning modules, online testing, and an individualized study plan. MyMathLab is supported and maintained by the publisher’s web server and the required plug-ins for this tool are standard.  MyMathLab is delivered inside a web-based course delivery system called MyLabsPlus. You must have an access code to MyLabsPlus, which can be purchased through the online bookstore.

The Online Math Lab is a substitute for the on-campus Math Computer Lab requirements and can be accessed through the Online Math Lab link in the menu of your Blackboard course site. The Online Math Lab is used by MTT students to ask general questions regarding course content and concepts.

Tests and Quizzes:

There are pre and post tests for each unit. Unit pre and post-tests must be proctored. Module quizzes are not proctored and will be taken at home. You cannot move forward, or complete a unit without completing the pre and post test for that unit. If you are out of the area, you will need to secure an approved proctor to supervise your exams. If you are in the area, you can take your proctored exams at any NOVA campus testing center.


Success Coaches – Anxious about taking a math course? Contact your Success Coach at elisuccess@nvcc.edu or 703.764.5076 for tips for success and resources to help you have a successful semester.

Smarthinking – Smarthinking is a free online tutoring service available to NOVA Online students. Smarthinking provides tutoring in a variety of subjects, many of which are available 24/7.

Student Lingo – Engaging on-demand, on-line workshops 24/7 on a variety of subjects – including math-related topics for example:  How to Succeed in Math, which provides specific strategies on how to succeed in an online math course and How to Overcome Math Anxiety, which helps students understand and assess their own level of math anxiety while providing ways to cope with fear and eliminate stress.

Khan Academy – This free resource offers a new way to work on some of the skills that you may be falling behind on. Students can use Khan’s large library resource database and partake in interactive assessments, challenges and even some helpful videos on a variety of topics.

This week at NOVA Online!

Today, Monday, February 2nd is the start date for the 2nd 8-week courses. Do you have courses starting today? Do you have access to your course in Blackboard? Any Blackboard questions? Check out Blackboard tutorial tips here.516356269

Monday, February 2 from 12:15-1:15pm – Participate in an NOVA Online Orientation Webinar – This one hour webinar will focus on getting started in your courses, navigating your Blackboard course site, and identifying tips for success and student support services. The NOVA Online Orientation is highly recommended for students who are new to online learning. Register or request a recording here.

Wednesday, February 4 from 12:15 – 1:00 pm – Participate in an Focus on Your Career Planning Webinar – This 30 minute webinar will introduce students to FOCUS 2 an online, interactive, self-guided career and education planning system.  The system can help students select a program/major based on their interests and aspirations, discover occupations matching their personal preferences and attributes, map out their career plans – present and future, and make informed career decisions. Register here.

While enrolled in courses, you may want to register for NOVA Alert to get emergency related messages, including closures due to inclement weather. Campus closures will affect all campus offices, including the testing centers, tutoring centers, and campus libraries.

February’s focus on the blog is Effective Communication Skills. Throughout the month we will post topics and have guest bloggers related to improving and fine-tuning your written communication. To kick off the topic, we recommend the Effectively Communicating Online Student Lingo video. What are challenges you face with communicating in your online courses?

Complete Your Goals with the S.M.A.R.T. Approach

Today’s goal setting blog post is brought to you by the Student Success Coaches. Do you have any questions about goal setting, time management, or resources available to you? Contact your Success Coach at elisuccess@nvcc.edu or 703.764.5076 for tips for success and resources to help you have a successful semester.goal setting Are you feeling defeated, before you even get started, when trying to achieve a new goal? Do you feel like it is trying to climb a mountain? Do you find that your current method of writing down goals such as, ‘buy a new car’, ‘get my own apartment’ or ‘get my degree’ is not working? If you answered, ‘yes’, it is time to get motivated and adopt the S.M.A.R.T. goal setting approach. Unlike an undefined goal such as, ‘get my degree’, the S.M.A.R.T. approach enables you to clearly define a plan and stick to it. If you are not familiar with the S.M.A.R.T. process, it stands for:

S- Specific, M – Measurable, A – Attainable, R – Realistic, T – Time-bound (timely)

The S.M.A.R.T. approach will put you in control. It will provide a better vision, motivation and promote your confidence as you see your goals coming to life. For starters, ask yourself, “what do I want to achieve”? Let’s say you want to complete your degree. Using the S.M.A.R.T. framework,

  1. Specific Goal: I want to complete my Associates Degree in General Studies within the next 3 years.
  2. Measurable Goal: With this specific component of the process, you can measure your progress by the credits you complete which will ultimately result in the degree. If your goal is to complete a degree, you could write up your measurement, ‘I will complete a maximum of 15 credits each semester and no less than 6 until my A.S. Degree is completed’. As you complete each class, you will watch the credits grow! Be flexible, if you need to take less than 12 credits some semesters, you will still accumulate credits and move forward.
  3. Attainable/Achievable: Make sure you will be willing to stick with your goal and be in control. Do not take on more than you can accomplish. Ask, ‘have others done this successfully’, ‘do I have the necessary resources, skills and abilities to achieve this goal’? Plan and make sure there will not be stumbling blocks that could defeat you and do not be afraid to ask for help!
  4. Realistic: Make sure that you will be able to complete your goal. Don’t take on more than you can handle which may result in overwhelming yourself and giving up.
  5. Time-bound: Set an end date to achieve your goal and consider setting up check points along the way. For example, after attending classes for a year, check to see how many credits you have completed. Are you well on your way or you need to adjust your goal and add an extra semester? That’s okay! In the end, setting a manageable timeline will help you stay motivated and on track.

Don’t let your goals paralyze you, stay flexible, and don’t stress if life interferes and you need to make alterations along the way. Stick to the S.M.A.R.T. approach that will guide you down the road to success! To help develop your goal, click on this S.M.A.R.T. goal questionnaire. If you are more of an auditory learner, click here, for a well-developed YouTube video that explains and outlines the S.M.A.R.T. process.

This Week at NOVA Online!

Happy Monday! How’s the weather in your area?!

snowToday, Monday, January 26th is the start date for the 2nd twelve-week courses. Do you have courses starting today? Do you have access to your course in Blackboard? Any Blackboard questions? Check out Blackboard tutorial tips here.

Monday, January 12 from 12:15-1:15pm or Wednesday, January 28 from 6:30 – 7:30 pm – Participate in an NOVA Online Orientation Webinar – This one hour webinar will focus on getting started in your courses, navigating your Blackboard course site, and identifying tips for success and student support services. The NOVA Online Orientation is highly recommended for students who are new to online learning. Register or request a recording here.

Wednesday, January 28 from 12:15 – 1:00 pm – Participate in an Conducting a Job Search Webinar – This 45 minute webinar will focus on basic strategies for conducting a job search. Topics covered will include creating a plan, identifying sources of job leads, and resume, cover letter, and interview basics. Register here.

While enrolled in courses, you may want to register for NOVA Alert to get emergency related messages, including closures due to inclement weather. Campus closures will affect all campus offices, including the testing centers, tutoring centers, and campus libraries.

Resource: Student Lingo –  Student Lingo provides a series of interactive on-demand, on-line workshops action plans, and valuable resources focused helping students achieve their academic, personal, and career goals. Topics included are: Time Management, Test Taking/Text Anxiety, Study Skills/Time Management, Writing a Paper and more!  This is an excellent resource – each topic is only about 30-40 minutes that you can easily start and stop.

De-stress as you move into Advising Week

Winding down from one semester, and planning for your next can be a significant adjustment. With the demand of approaching deadlines, it is easy to get overwhelmed in the blink of an eye. As you move into Advising Week, we want to provide you with some resources to help you unwind, and refocus on preparing for your next step.

Yoga has more benefits than I can list but the ones I want you to take advantage of right now is it’s capacity to reduce anxiety and stress. Taking time to stretch and twist the body, releases chemicals that our bodies naturally produce when stressed. Beyond the physical movements, yoga has a meditative component that ignites your inner strength in a way that will empower you to tackle any obstacle, help you maintain peace when feeling harried, and turn down the volume of the loud voice of self-doubt. iStock_000052315416_Large

Incorporating yoga into your daily practice has been made easy with the use of technology. Here are some free apps you can download today that can jump-start your yoga practice! There is no greater obstacle to overcome than your own mind, feed it with positivity and it will help you accomplish great things! Namaste.

YogaQuote: Gives you daily inspirational yoga quotes and mantras.

Daily Yoga: Gives you live training with  videos and a professionally made yoga program for you to follow without needing to go to a gym. This app even has yoga to help you de-stress at your desk (great to do right before writing a paper)!

As you move into Advising Week, continue to follow ELife for tips on:

  • Familiarizing yourself with resources to help you with your academic planning.
  • Focusing on your career planning.
  • Checking to make sure you are on the right path to achieve your goals.
  • Gaining skills outside the classroom.
  • Taking some time for reflection.

Article provided by NOVA Online Success Coach, Jennifer Reed.  For more resources, please reach out to your NOVA Online Success Coaching Team by sending an email to elisuccess@nvcc.edu.


Blackboard Tip: Tutorials

Confused as to how to submit an assignment or use the discussion board in Blackboard? Check the Blackboard Tutorials in your course menu.

Blackboard MenuThe Blackboard Tutorials menu button is available in every NOVA Online Blackboard course site and provides a list of “how to” tutorials featuring the tools in Blackboard 9.1. This You Tube channel will also provide you with a variety of short videos to help you succeed this semester!

View this video, to help you better understand how to submit an assignment. Don’t fall behind. Make sure you are reading through the syllabus section and using the Overview of Assignments as a guide.

There is also an overview to help you understand how to post a discussion board post.

Remember, in most NOVA Online classes, once you submit your assignment or discussion board post, the submission is final. The only way to go back and edit is to ask the instructor for permission. Make sure to spell check, proof read, and edit!

Motivational Minute: Pushing Toward your Goals

By now you are settling into the new year and I want to help you keep the momentum going in a BIG way! I’m sure you have set some new goals for the new year so take advantage of the opportunities  that will propel you forward toward your goals.  Let this be the time when you push yourself past all the limitations you set for yourself last year, last week, last night and see through the lens of possibilities and imagine them into reality. Get a clear picture of what you want for yourself in the future and all of your steps will be aimed at  creating it for yourself. If you don’t have a clear picture of what that future looks like, surround yourself with people who contribute to making you a better person and let them inspire the change you are capable of. NOVA Online has people here that can help you define your plans and future! Reach out to your NOVA Online Counselors and NOVA Online Success Coaches to talk about your goals and come up with a plan for carving out the best path to achieving them. You can go as far as your mind and effort can take you. How far will that be for you? Namaste.

Jennifer, NOVA Online Student Success Coach

NOVA Online Counselors: elicounselors@nvcc.edu

NOVA Online Success Coaches: elisuccess@nvcc.edu

Learn More About The Man And The Movement This MLK Holiday

King, Martin Luther mlk jr 4 Martin Luther King / Photo / 1961
 Martin Luther King  Media Preview Held For The Martin Luther King National Memorial  mlk jr 2

This Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, learn more about Dr. King and his legacy.

Here is a landmark interview with Dr. King filmed in 1957:

Martin Luther King, Jr.: Look Here

image of the documentary Martin Luther King Jr.: Look Here

We also recommend this e-book for more information:

image of book cover for Becoming King: Martin Luther King, Jr. And the Making of a National Leader




Becoming King : Martin Luther King, Jr. And the Making of a National Leader


To access these items, use your myNOVA username and password when prompted. For more resources on Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement, please visit the library’s website or contact us at NOVA Online-Library@nvcc.edu.