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Orientation: Getting Started with Online Learning

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What Do I Need To Know About ELI Courses?

Online Courses


  • Students receive a mailed one-page Quick-Start Syllabus.
  • The Quick-Start Syllabus provides contact information for the instructor, Blackboard course login, critical enrollment dates, and refund/withdrawal information.
  • Courses are made available in Blackboard the first day the course is scheduled to begin. Once you have access to your course in Blackboard you will see the full length syllabus and course requirements.

Basic Skills Required

  • Read and write in English
  • Operate a computer
  • Basic computer software programs such as MS Office
  • Access and browse the Internet
  • Create and send email (with/without attachment)
  • Manage time well
  • Study independently


Possible Additional Requirements

  • Class meetings/labs (less than 5 times)
  • Field trips
  • Group/individual course projects
Student Responsibilities
  • Review course information thoroughly. Obtain your course information from the ELI Web Site at http://eli.nvcc.edu/courses.htm, then choose your semester, discipline and course.
  • Know your critical enrollment dates: Enrollment, Refund, First Assignment Due Date, Inactive Students Dropped, Withdrawal and End of Enrollment. These dates are listed on your Syllabus.
  • For all official correspondence, use your VCCS email account assigned by the college.
  • Purchase your course textbook and other related materials.
  • Courses are made available the first day the course is scheduled to begin. Once the course is available in Blackboard it will be listed under “My Courses” on the main Blackboard page. If the course does not show under “My Courses” on the start date of your course, contact the instructor or call the ELI Hotline at (703) 323-3347 or (888) 4DL-NVCC.
  • Complete and submit the first assignment.
  • Set up a schedule and stick to it.
  • Contact your instructor if you have questions, need assistance, need to withdraw from the course after your Last Withdrawal Date or request an extension on an assignment.
Faculty Expectations

If you are enrolled in an ELI course, your instructor expects that you already know how to:

  • Manage your time and study independently.
  • Read, write, and use basic computer software programs.
  • Purchase your course textbook and other related materials.
  • Create and send email (with/without attachment).
  • Be able to operate any specified technology used in the course.
  • Access and browse the Internet.
  • Contact your instructor if you have a question about an assignment or are having difficulty.
  • Contact your instructor if you wish to withdraw from the course or to request an extension.
  • If you are out of the area, submit the Proctor Request Form or use proctor u to have your exams proctored.
Strategies for Success

Thousands of ELI students have been successful, and you can be, too. Because there are few or no classes to attend, YOU are responsible for directing your learning. The following are a few suggestions to help you succeed in your course:

  • Start as soon as your course begins.
  • Spend 2 to 3 hours per course credit per week studying for each course. A three-credit course requires 6 to 9 hours a week.
  • Establish a routine and stick with it throughout the semester. Schedule your study time like you would with on-campus courses. Set aside time each week to work on your assignments.
  • Back up your work! Establish a plan to back up assignments so you do not lose your work throughout the semester.
  • If you have questions, contact your instructor right away. Your instructor's contact information is in your course Syllabus.
  • Read the course material immediately so that you know what assignments are required and what time frame you have in which to complete them.
Who to Call -- Hotline

If you have a question, you can call the ELI Hotline for assistance at 703-323-3347 or 1-888-4DL-NVCC.

ELI staff members are available between 8:30 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. on Friday. If you are hearing impaired, call the V/TDD number, 703-323-3717.

Post Test

Take this post-test to see how much you know about ELI courses.

1. You registered for an ELI online course and are anxious to get started. Which of the following sources will provide information on your instructor, the course login, and your critical dates?


    Quick-Start Syllabus

    ELI Newsletter

    ELI Web site

2. Taking an online ELI course requires certain basic technical skills in order to successfully complete a course. Which of the following skills are you most likely to use in an ELI course?

    Using an internet browser to search for information on the web

    Utilizing Blackboard

    Sending email

    All of the above

3. Where do you take exams for an ELI course?

    With an approved proctor if living outside of the Northern Virginia area

    At a NOVA Testing Center

    At home if Proctor U (online testing service) is available for your course

    Any of the above

4. What is the duration of most ELI courses?

    16 weeks

    12 weeks

    8 weeks

    6 weeks

5. As a student taking an ELI course, you are responsible for ______.

    Reviewing the course syllabus thoroughly

    Knowing your Important Dates

    Purchasing your textbook and other related assignments

    All of the above

6. If you are taking a three-credit ELI course, approximately how many hours should you set aside each week for studying?

    1-2 hours each week

    2-4 hours each week

    4-6 hours each week

    6-9 hours each week

7. If you live outside the Washington, DC, metropolitan area and are unable to take your exams on campus, which of the following actions should you do in order to take your exams elsewhere?

    Submit a written request to your instructor for permission to take your exams at home on your computer

    Obtain a proctor and submit the Proctor Request Form

    Contact the ELI Hotline for assistance

    Contact the Testing Center at your home campus and submit the Proctor Request Form

8. In order to take an exam, what do you need to bring to the Testing Center?

    Your course registration form and photo ID

    Your course registration form and exam pass

    A photo ID and course exam pass

    A photo ID and your course registration form

9. Besides basic technical computer skills, what other basic skills should you have?

    Reading and writing

    Managing time

    Meeting deadlines on assignments and exams

    All of the above