Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Seven Tips to Help with First Day Jitters

The first day of an online course can bring just as many nerves as heading to campus for your first day. It’s hard to know what the first day of any new adventure will bring. Whether you are going back to college, taking an online course for the first time or are a continuing student, you may still have some nervousness about what to expect. Here are 7 tips on getting rid of those first day jitters.

  1. Breathe. Take a deep breath and relax. After a few deep breaths and you will feel more relaxed and confident.
  2. Enroll in an ELI Orientation webinar. This webinar is beneficial to students who are new to distance learning, or who are returning to NOVA and/or distance learning and would like a refresher course. This one hour webinar for students enrolled in courses offered through the Extended Learning Institute (ELI) will focus on getting started in your courses, navigating in your Blackboard course site, and identifying tips for success, financial aid resources, and student support services. Click here for dates, times and to sign up!
  3. Ask your professor, a counselor or success coach any questions you have. Take advantage of the knowledge of all of your professors, counselors and success coaches.  They are here to help. You should have access to Blackboard on the first day your class is scheduled.  Direct course specific questions to your professor. General ELI questions can be answered by contacting a staff member through the Hotline or Live Chat. Visit the ELI website for contact information.  
  4. Be prepared. You should receive a Quick Start Syllabus for each ELI course in the postal mail before your course(s) begin. This has general information about ELI courses as well as your professor’s contact information. You will receive a full syllabus for your course(s) when you gain access to Blackboard on the day your course is scheduled to begin. The more prepared you are, the more confident you will feel!  
  5. Make a Term Planner. Use what works for you and stick with it throughout the semester. Whether this is the calendar on your computer, or your planner that you write due dates in, know what works for you! Write down important ELI dates (webinar dates, inactive student drop date, etc) as well as course specific dates (midterm, finals, etc.). Remember, ELI dates are not necessarily the same as campus dates, so make yourself familiar with ELI’s schedule.
  6. Talk to those who understand. ELI has several social media sites which are available to help you connect with other online students. Explore the ELI website, facebook page, twitter and this blog to get some advice from fellow students, faculty and staff about succeeding in distance learning.
  7. Get a good night's rest. A good night’s rest can help calm the nerves you may have about a new day. This will help clear your mind and prepare you for a new experience.
Good luck to everyone who is taking ELI courses this summer. Does anyone have tips to share?

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