Efficacy and research

A Decade of Success with SAM at Ole Miss

Teresa McCarver is the adjunct instructor for computer science and manager of the IT help desk for The University of Mississippi. The university has been using SAM (Skills Assessment Manager) — an online learning environment for Microsoft® Office — for ten years.

Starting with SAM XP Training and Assessment in 2004, Teresa used SAM in conjunction with the New Perspectives in Microsoft® Office textbook. In 2009 she added Projects to SAM, and is now using SAM 2013. Teresa credits SAM with helping students learn more effectively while also saving instructors time, thereby freeing them to focus on other important teaching activities. Read More…


Oregon City Schools Uses CLiC to Replace Textbooks and Engage Diverse Learning Styles

Jan Snyder has been the district media specialist for Oregon City Schools (OCS) in Oregon City, Oregon, for 25 years. The media center plays a critical role in the curriculum and
teaching process, so Jan is a linchpin who works closely with teachers and administrators to find high-quality, trustworthy resources that will help the students be successful. Not
surprisingly, her mission at the center is to put the best resources possible into the hands of teachers and students. Oregon City Service Learning Academy (OCSLA) is the city’s charter high school. OCSLA enrolls approximately 170 students in a “1-to-1 Program,” Read More…


MindTap™ Captures the Interest of Marketing Students — and Their Instructor Holly Hapke

Holly Hapke is a lecturer at the University of Kentucky’s Gatton College of Business and Economics. Like many instructors in business courses, Holly uses cases to promote analytical thinking and to help her marketing students connect concepts to real-world applications. Not so long ago, the manual grading of three case assignments each term for as many as 600 students became an overwhelming task. “It was too time consuming to grade assignments for all of the students, so I started looking for another solution for homework,” she says.

Holly was using a Cengage Learning textbook, so it was a logical step to look at the digital assets that supported it. One of those resources was MindTap™, an interactive online learning experience built upon the textbook’s content. More than an eBook and different from a learning management system, MindTap allows students to guide themselves through their course — combining cases, readings, multimedia, activities, and assessments into a consistent learning path, with all relevant resources instantly accessible. In addition, MindTap exercises are automatically graded, which was good news to Holly. Read More…


iLrn™ Is Key to Communication Competence in Debora Rager’s Online Intro and Advanced Spanish Courses

Debora Rager is the full-time instructor of Spanish at Simpson University in Redding, California, and has more than 25 years of experience teaching Spanish and French. The university recently implemented a rule specifying that any course with more than one session must include at least one online session. Consequently, Debora now teaches both an online and a traditional session for both her Spanish I and Spanish II courses.

When she realized that she would be taking some of her classes online, Debora started looking at the available options, including iLrn™, an all-in-one course management system featuring communication tools that encourage students to use language outside of the classroom. She attended an iLrn presentation as well as one from another publisher. “Hands down, iLrn was so much better that it really wasn’t even a choice. It was the obvious choice,” she says. Read More…


An Experiment with SAM Projects Produces Positive Early Results

Rex Parr has been teaching Introduction to PC Applications at Aims Community College (ACC) in Greeley, Colorado, for nearly 20 years. ACC has used a number of different course materials and methods throughout this period — including a previous version of SAM (Skills Assessment Manager), an interactive online environment for learning Microsoft® Office skills and computer concepts. At one point, the Computer Information Systems (CIS) department switched from SAM in an effort to incorporate more soft skills into classes, but later decided it was time to revisit the product. Rex was prompted to try SAM again because he liked the looks of the projects component.

In this Success Story, you’ll learn what Rex discovered regarding the ability of SAM Projects to give students practice in applying Microsoft® Office concepts and skills in real-world projects.
You’ll also learn how SAM’s auto-grading feature saves instructors’ time, makes it easier for instructors to monitor student progress, and provides students with instant feedback that helps them take immediate corrective action. Read More…


Real-Time Access to Progress and Grading Makes SAM Effective for Randy Meissner and His Students

Randy Meissner is a Computer Science lecturer at Bismarck State College in Bismarck, North Dakota. He teaches three night classes with a total of 50-60 students each semester, and has been using SAM (Skills Assessment Manager) — an online environment for Microsoft® Office — for eight semesters.

In this Success Story, you’ll read how SAM engages his students through real-world simulations and hands-on training activities that allow them to build their skills and work on course materials at their own pace. You’ll also discover how SAM makes teaching and learning more efficient, through auto-graded assignments that save his time while providing students with instant feedback on their work. Read More…


MindTap™ Feeds Steve Ball’s Nutrition Students’ Craving for Interactive Learning Technology

Steve Ball has been teaching Nutritional Science and Exercise Physiology at the University of Missouri in Columbia since 2002. He uses MindTap™ — which provides a fully online learning experience that replaces a traditional textbook — in his fitness and wellness course. He and his students give MindTap a “thumbs up” for its interactivity, features, ease of use, and affordability. Read More…


Choosing a Digital Solution that Suits Your Needs

How can you make a positive impact when it comes to choosing digital solutions that best suit the needs of you and your students? The process for selecting course materials for the classroom varies widely by institution. In Cengage Learning’s recent “Digital in the Classroom” study surveying over 1,000 college students and faculty of all different institution types, we discovered that 33% of instructors are free to choose their own materials. Another 42% are on committees tasked with choosing what to adopt, and 15% choose materials for the entire department.

Instructors' top methods for selecting course methods Read More…


Benefits of Using Technology in the Classroom

Whether you’re just starting to use technology in the classroom or you’re well versed in the tools and terminology of edtech, you may be curious how other instructors are using technology in their classrooms. You may also want to know how they would describe the benefits of technology in their courses.

In a study conducted by Cengage Learning, 74% percent of instructors report that the move towards implementing digital technologies in the classroom has increased students’ academic performance, and 73% say it has improved students’ engagement with their courses. Less than 1% reported it has decreased performance or engagement significantly.

College students report similar educational benefits of using technology in the classroom:

  • 80% say the move towards implementing digital technologies in the classroom has subsequently increased their academic performance.
  • 77% say it has improved their engagement with their courses.

Read More…


How Instructors Incorporate Digital Content into Their Courses

Practices at every college, department, and classroom likely vary from those trending at a national level. Whether you are required by your university to use a certain type of digital content in your classroom or you get to choose for yourself, there are often many unique ways to customize this content to make it work perfectly for your course. Whichever your circumstance, staying “in the know” about what’s trending with peers can help keep classrooms from falling behind in both engagement and outcomes. Cengage Learning’s recent “Digital in the Classroom” surveyed over 1,000 college students and faculty of all different institution types. After first asking students what they found to be the most effective digital content types, we then asked instructors to share with us their most-used digital content types.  Read More…