Getting Started Online: Online Learning at NVCC's NOVA Online

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Getting Started Online

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Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) and the 22 other community colleges in the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) provide web courses through a common set of software systems. This page will help you get started with them.

Note: You must use a recent standard browser (Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, or Safari). You must enable your browser (and firewall software, if you use it) to accept cookies and use Java.

Your Email and Blackboard Accounts

When you register and pay, two accounts will be created for your use in the course.

  • A VCCS email account, which you must use for all private communication with your instructor or other students.
  • A VCCS Blackboard account, which you will use to view and complete most course activities.

Both of these accounts are accessed through the NOVA portal My NOVA located at You will use the same accounts for any future VCCS courses you take.

Note: Account generation takes one week from the time of your paid registration. If you cannot log on after one week, please contact the IT Help Desk. If you can log on to Blackboard, but your course isn't listed, please contact your instructor.
Your User Names and Passwords

  1. Click here to search for your email address, Blackboard user name, and Empl ID. To assist in the search process, you will be asked to enter your last and first names, your six-digit birth date (two digits for month, two for day, and two for year), social security number or your Empl ID. When you click search, you will see your user name, Empl ID, and email address. Print the page and save it for your records.
  2. To access Blackboard and Email, log in at You will be asked to answer a security question and then create your password.
What's Next?
  • Verify your tuition payment and class schedule by going to My NOVA, choose VCCS SIS 8.9: Student Information System and then Student Center.
  • Purchase your required textbooks and materials. Go to the NOVA Online Bookstore web site, scroll to enter your term, course and section number for the complete list of requirements. You can have your books shipped if your prefer.
  • Pick up your NOVA card (student picture ID card) the next time you are on campus. (See the NOVACard Website for more information.)
  • Your Bb courses should be open to you no later than the first day of classes. If you still do not see your courses on that day, notify NOVA Online by email, phone, or live chat. (See the NOVA Online Web site for contact information.)

Additional Help

If you need additional help using

Email Blackboard