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Distance Learning and Online Classes

Mailing address In-Person address
8333 Little River Turnpike
Annandale, VA 22003–3796  
8000 Forbes Place
Springfield, VA 22151

Phone: 703–323–3347 or 888–4DL–NVCC (888–435–6822)
Fax: 703–323–3392


The Extended Learning Institute (ELI) of Northern Virginia Community College is nationally recognized as a leader in distance learning, with more than 38 years of experience in the field.

Each semester, ELI offers more than 300 courses, with multiple sections starting throughout the semester. You can combine distance learning with traditional classroom studies, take a class or two, or earn a degree or certificate completely through ELI from a distance. Fifteen degrees and fourteen certificates are offered entirely through ELI distance learning. Visit http://eli.nvcc.edu for a complete listing.

Course Length
ELI courses may be 16, 12, 8, or 4 weeks in length. Be sure to carefully check the start and end dates of each course before signing up, and remember that courses with shorter lengths  involve the same amount of course material as a longer course, taught at an accelerated pace.

Advantages of Distance Learning

  • Begin your studies or complete your degree — with more flexibility for work or family responsibilities.
  • Accelerate your academic progress by taking distance learning classes with regular classes.
  • Reduce the amount of time spent commuting to campus.
  • Same quality instruction, range of choices and service as NOVA’s on-campus programs.
  • Flexible, convenient and affordable course selections.
  • Complete most assignments on a regular basis day or night from any location.
  • Expert faculty skilled in distance learning.
  • Financial aid and payment plans available.

How Does Distance Learning Work?
Most courses can be completed at home or from your place of work by the following directions in your online course site. Many assignments involve participating in discussion forums or e-mailing your instructor. Some assignments may be required on specific due dates. Some courses include online class meetings using a microphone and headset. All distance learning courses require regular internet access. If you are using dial-up, you may have trouble accessing some course materials and may need to use a public or work computer for some of your course work. NOVA faculty and ELI staff are available to support you. NOVA faculty members provide valuable assistance by telephone, e-mail, office visits or through the mail. Student services are provided through ELI and NOVA’s campuses. Exams are usually taken at a NOVA campus Testing Center, although an approved proctor may administer exams for students who live outside the Northern Virginia region. Textbooks can be ordered online (http://eli.nvcc.edu/books/) or by fax, mail, or in person at the Alexandria Bookstore.

Who Can Benefit from Distance Learning?
Distance learning requires as much or more time and effort than campus-based classes. Good reading and writing skills, initiative, self-discipline, and the ability to use internet technologies are important for success. A self-quiz on the ELI Web site may help you decide if distance learning is a good option for you: http://eli.nvcc.edu/eliforme/eliforme.asp.

How Do I Enroll and Get Started?
You register for ELI distance learning courses the same way you enroll in on-campus courses using NovaConnect online.  When course capacity limits are reached, ELI sections are closed to further enrollment. ELI courses are designated with the letter “E” before the course section number (for example, E05H, E20A).

You will receive registration confirmation and instructions on how to get started with your course by postal mail. Once classes begin, you will find your course materials in your Blackboard course site. ELI courses require you to start working according to the start date in the course information you receive to avoid administrative withdrawal.

Other Information

Internet Access: All ELI courses require internet access. If you are using a dial-up connection, you may not be able to access all course materials. You may need to find access to a high-speed internet connection to complete assignments.

Virtual Class Meeting courses: While most distance course work is completed asynchronously, some courses require scheduled online sessions at pre-designated times using online meeting software such as Blackboard Collaborate. For more information and minimum technology requirements visit the Frequently Asked Questions on ELI’s Web site at http://eli.nvcc.edu.

VCCS Distance Learning: Distance learning courses are also offered at other colleges in the Virginia Community College System. Visit the VCCS Web site at www.vccs.edu/vccsonline.

For advice and help in choosing a class, contact ELI to speak with a counselor at 703–323–2425, contact your academic advisor or call ELI’s hotline at 703–323–3347.