ETSU Orientation Checklist

Here’s a handy-dandy guide to being prepared for orientation at ETSU.

Activate your ETSU Domain account

You will need to activate your ETSU domain and reset your password so you are able to use GoldLink at orientation. If your account was not activated during the admission process, you’ll need to do it now ( Don’t forget to bring this information with you to orientation. You need it to register for your courses!

Make sure your Goldmail account is up and running

The university communicates with students and faculty through Goldmail (ETSU email). The university will send you emails about orientation, advisement and account information.

Get your shots!

If you don’t turn in proof that you’ve had required immunizations, you won’t be able to register for classes. Make sure you have this submitted and check your status on GoldLink.

Check on your Financial Aid

Check Financial Aid status through GoldLink frequently. Things with Financial Aid can change frequently so make sure you stay up to date!

Register for Orientation

Make sure you have logged onto the orientation system, taken the quiz, and selected a date for your on-ground orientation. If you live more that 250 miles away, you can participate in orientation online. Email for more information.

Advanced tip: The ETSU Department of Housing and Residence Life has on-campus housing available for no additional cost. The First Look program includes lodging, dinner and breakfast. Visit the First Look to reserve your spot!

Advisement/Registration for classes

You’ll register for classes during orientation, but you should contact the advisor for your major beforehand. Some program of studies require pre-registration advisement. Some advisors might schedule you prior to your orientation date, and others might email you information needed for registration. Check the your program’s website to find contact information for your advisor.


Still have orientation questions? Visit for more information!

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How to survive your first semester at college

First time? Coming back after taking some time off? Here are 6 tips to help you start your college career on the right foot.

1. Get involved as soon as possible.

High school shouldn’t be the last time you are involved. Find tryout dates for club sports, join an intramural team or find an organization you love. Everyone needs homework and study breaks every now and then. Use a club or sport to get your mind off things and let off some steam.

2.Network, network, network.

Networking can lead to a job right after graduation. Make connections with professionals and keep up with them throughout your four (or more) years. You’ll regret those connections you didn’t make when you are on the job hunt in the future.

3. Back up your files.

You only thought you saved that 15-page research paper and then your computer crashed out of nowhere. Save assignments in multiple places to avoid being the student who emails the professor the night before the due date with “technical difficulties.”

4. Get to know your professors.

Go to office hours. Ask for help when you don’t understand. Professors remember students who interact with them. Professors who know more than just your face and your name will be more willing to work with you and help you out when you need it.

5. Don’t be too prideful to get a tutor.

If you need help, seek it out. You’ll see your grades improve and will learn tips and tricks from other students who have been where you are in classes. People won’t make fun of you for being a nerd when they need help on the next test.

6. Find a note-taking method that works for you and stick to it.

Whether it’s using a note-taking app on your tablet, color-coding with pens and highlighters, using a hilarious amount of sticky notes or just good old-fashioned pencil and paper, find something that makes sense. You will see so many different styles, and people will always be the first to say that their way is the best. It might be the best way for them, but everyone is different. Try out a few different methods and stick with the one that works the best.

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5 Tips to Succeeding in an Online Course

onlinestudentCourses online allow students a flexible schedule and convenience while receiving the same education as on campus students. However, an online course is a different experience compared to in-class courses.

If you aren’t familiar with online classes, it can be a tricky adjustment. Here are a few tips that can help you get on your feet and get the most out of your online education.

Make sure that you can access the online materials. Be sure that you have access to/can navigate the programs and technical requirements before the course begins. This will save time and frustration.

2. Reach out to the instructor (the earlier, the better) – You will find that some online courses are more challenging than others. Don’t hesitate to ask questions because your online instructor is there to help you. However, when communication is through messaging or email, your professor may not respond to your message as quickly as you would prefer. In that case, try to find answers on your own. Contact other students in the course or search the Internet.

3. Create a schedule – Typically, online professors will send out a syllabus with all the information you will need at the beginning of the course including a calendar of assignments and due dates. Be sure to set aside time in your busy schedule to complete and turn in those assignments.

4. Stay organized – You may not have the convenience of being reminded every class about assignments that are due such as in-class courses. Find ways to stay on top of your assignments whether it is through daily reminders or sticky notes.

5. Find a consistent workspace – Find a place that has no distractions and will help you be determined and focused. For on campus students, that is the classroom but as an online student, you have the luxury of creating your own workspace to get things done.

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Find your next read: a list of National Book Award finalists


Image Credit: National Book Foundation

2014 National Book Awards Finalists

The National Book Foundation, presenter of the National Book Awards, announced the 2014 shortlist of finalists for fiction, non-fiction, poetry and young people’s literature on NPR’s Morning Edition yesterday.

If you’re looking for your next read or planning some early Christmas shopping for a book lover you love, here’s the complete list of finalists in each category:

Finalists for Fiction

Rabih Alameddine, An Unnecessary Woman (Grove Press/ Grove/Atlantic)

Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See (Scribner/ Simon & Schuster)

Phil Klay, Redeployment (The Penguin Press/ Penguin Group (USA))

Emily St. John Mandel, Station Eleven (Alfred A. Knopf/ Random House)

Marilynne Robinson, Lila (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Finalists for Nonfiction

Roz Chast, Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? (Bloomsbury)

Anand Gopal, No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban, and the War through Afghan Eyes (Metropolitan Books/ Henry Holt and Company)

John Lahr, Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh (W.W. Norton & Company)

Evan Osnos, Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Edward O. Wilson, The Meaning of Human Existence (Liveright Publishing Corporation/ W.W. Norton & Company)

Finalists for Poetry

Louise Glück, Faithful and Virtuous Night (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Fanny Howe, Second Childhood (Graywolf Press)

Maureen N. McLane, This Blue (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Fred Moten, The Feel Trio (Letter Machine Editions)

Claudia Rankine, Citizen: An American Lyric (Graywolf Press)

Finalists for Young People’s Literature

Eliot Schrefer, Threatened (Scholastic Press)

Steve Sheinkin, The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights

(Roaring Brook Press/ Macmillan Publishers)

John Corey Whaley, Noggin (Atheneum Books for Young Readers/ Simon & Schuster)

Deborah Wiles, Revolution: The Sixties Trilogy, Book Two (Scholastic Press)

Jacqueline Woodson, Brown Girl Dreaming (Nancy Paulsen Books/ Penguin Group (USA))

The National Book Awards winners in each category will be announced at a November 19 ceremony in New York City emceed by Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) with special awards presented by Neil Gaiman (American Gods, Ocean at the End of the Lane) and Kyle Zimmer (co-founder, CEO, and president of First Book).

If creative writing and critical reading are skills you’d like to cultivate, we welcome you to explore ETSU Online and find flexible and convenient online Literature and Language courses at East Tennessee State University to get you started. Critical Thinking and Argumentation, Critical Reading and Exposition, Literary Heritage, American, British, and World Literatures, and Literary Ethics and Values are among the courses regularly offered online.


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ICYMI: Under the Pumpkin Sun

Why does the sun look like a Jack-o-Lantern, and why is it that we tend to see faces everywhere?


Image Credit: NASA/GSFC/SDO

The Science of the Pumpkin Sun

Last week NASA released a composite photo of the sun using two different wavelengths of light (specifically, the 171 and 193 angstroms … explained below). In the photo, the sun looks an awful lot like a smiling Jack-o-Lantern.

The image, captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) on Oct. 8, 2014, shows the sun’s active regions (the areas that appear brighter are the areas that were emitting more light and energy) using the combination of two extreme ultraviolet wavelengths typically colorized in gold and yellow. The wavelengths observed by NASA’s SDO are used to measure and monitor specific aspects of the sun’s surface or atmosphere. The length of each wave is measured in distances called Angstroms (which are about one ten-billionth of a meter, or 0.1 nm).

The wavelengths SDO observes, measured in angstroms, from the sun’s surface outward are:

  • 4500: Showing the sun’s surface or photosphere.
  • 1700: Shows surface of the sun, as well as a layer of the sun’s atmosphere called the chromosphere, which lies just above the photosphere and is where the temperature begins rising.
  • 1600: Shows a mixture between the upper photosphere and what’s called the transition region, a region between the chromosphere and the upper most layer of the sun’s atmosphere called the corona. The transition region is where the temperature rapidly rises.
  • 304: This light is emitted from the chromosphere and transition region.
  • 171: This wavelength shows the sun’s atmosphere, or corona, when it’s quiet. It also shows giant magnetic arcs known as coronal loops.
  • 193: Shows a slightly hotter region of the corona, and also the much hotter material of a solar flare.
  • 211: This wavelength shows hotter, magnetically active regions in the sun’s corona.
  • 335: This wavelength also shows hotter, magnetically active regions in the corona.
  • 94: This highlights regions of the corona during a solar flare.
  • 131: The hottest material in a flare.

The wavelengths used to create the Great Sun Pumpkin are marked in bold, and, according to NASA, they are “markers of an intense and complex set of magnetic fields hovering in the sun’s atmosphere, the corona.”

But, why do we see faces everywhere?

Scientist Carl Sagan hypothesized that humans are “hard-wired” to identify human faces and that, from an evolutionary perspective, there was a definite survival advantage for humans to be able to do so. The result is, according to this line of thinking, that we are primed to see faces even when what we’re looking at is a random occurrence in nature (Man on the Moon anyone?), or a grape juice stain on the carpet, or interior wood paneling from the 70s. You get the idea …

This “psychological phenomenon involving a vague and random stimulus (often an image or sound) being perceived as significant” is called pareidolia. It’s also attributed by some to be the idea behind the creation of the original Rorschach Test, which was widely used in the 1960s. The test relied on inkblots to incite pareidolia in test subjects in an attempt to identify perceived significance of the images as a way to detect underlying thought disorders in patients.

Pareidolia is one of many interesting aspects of human psychology. If this is particularly interesting to you, there are many free, open courses, like the East Tennessee State University’s OpenBUCS Introduction to Psychology course, available online and on a variety of platforms, offering the opportunity for anyone with an interest to explore the basics of psychology at a collegiate level without enrolling at a university or committing to paying tuition dollars.

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Remembering Maya Angelou – Rainbow in the Clouds

On a rainy Tuesday in March of 2006, Maya Angelou addressed a gathering of 3,600 on the campus of East Tennessee State University.

Her message: be a rainbow in the crowd.

To Angelou, being a rainbow in the crowd meant hope. It meant not giving up. It meant being a blessing to others, even if they don’t look like you, speak like you or dance your dances.

Rainbow in the Clouds


Today we feel sadness because of her death and gratitude because of her life. Angelou’s example of tolerance, love and grace have and will be a rainbow in the cloud for us. We are grateful to have had the pleasure of having such a truly remarkable woman on our campus, and we feel privileged to have known her through her works.

Love Liberates


Still I Rise


Angelou was an award-winning poet and author as well as a social and civil rights activist. In 1993, she recited “On the Pulse of Morning” at the inauguration of President Bill Clinton, becoming the first poet to make an inaugural recitation since Robert Frost in 1961 and the performance of which garnered her a Grammy Award. Her works include I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Gather Together in My Name, The Heart of a Woman,  Mom & Me & Mom.



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ETSU Online Offers SGA Debate Via Live Stream

ETSU OnlineEast Tennessee State University’s Office of eLearning, home to ETSU’s online programs and courses, will broadcast the April 14 Student Government Association election debate via live streaming.

SGA President Michael Wallace says live streaming the debate is an important component in informing as many students as possible about the candidates and their platforms.

“We want all students to make an informed decision,” Wallace said. “Student Government has faced many disagreements this year internally … and we need leadership that upcoming senators can look up to and respect.”

The Office of eLearning will provide the live streaming, which Digital Media Services Director David Currie says directly supports one of the primary goals of the department: to increase student access to information through technology

“It will certainly benefit traditional and online students who are not able to attend but who will vote in the SGA elections,” Currie said. “And ultimately we’re here to offer that kind of student support.”

Wallace hopes that making the debate widely accessible to students will result in leadership that accurately represents ETSU’s student body. “ETSU has faced many changes as a university,” Wallace said. “And we need a leadership team that can keep with the pace of an evolving university while knowing the pulse of the students and what they want.”

The SGA election debate is a collaborative effort by members of the Forensic and Debate team, Model UN, and the Student Government Association. The debate will take place at 7 p.m. in the Ballroom of the D.P. Culp Center.

The live stream broadcast will be available at

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