Computing Success Stories

Premier Digital Learning Tool is Easy To Use, Even for Students Intimidated by Technology

Some people just have that fighting spirit, that ‘can do’ attitude, that propels them to a brighter future than what might otherwise develop from a lifetime of challenges. Kathryn Fryman, a mother of eight children and caretaker of some terminally ill family members, made a conscious decision to move her life onto a positive path when she entered Kentucky Community Technical College. However, Fryman had no computer experience and she faced the challenge of learning an online study/homework system while adapting to a new life as a student. This story of Fryman’s experience with SAM, an online study tool from Read More…


Cengage Learning Tech Team Assures Smooth Integration of SAM and Canvas at Salt Lake Community College

Susumu Kasai, Professor of Computer Science and Information Systems at Salt Lake Community College (SLCC), knows both the importance and the value of collaboration. Although the institution uses the Canvas learning management system (LMS) as its primary vehicle for course design and delivery, its educators also recognize the advantages of digital solutions in teaching and learning. Until recently, however, no one at SLCC had attempted to integrate a digital product into Canvas. For the “inaugural” attempt, selecting the right digital product wasn’t enough: Susumu’s department also wanted the right publishing partner. They selected SAM (Skills Assessment Manager) from Cengage Learning and are pleased with their choice.
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SAM Primes Students for MOS (Microsoft Office Specialist) Certification

In the eight years that Erin Dischler has been teaching Accounting Software applications at Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC), her department has used a textbook in conjunction with SAM (Skills Assessment Manager). This interactive online learning environment helps students master Microsoft® Office and other computer skills and concepts that are essential to academic and career success. SAM is also instrumental in helping Erin ensure that her students are ready for the Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) certification exam. MOS certification verifies that an individual is well versed in one or more Microsoft Office applications, such as Word, Excel®, Outlook®, Access®, or PowerPoint®.
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Instructor Turns to Technology to Identify and Assist Struggling Students at Owens Community College

Cy Keiffer, a computer instructor at Owens Community College, quickly became frustrated with guessing which students needed more of his time and attention to succeed in his Introduction to Computing course. Teaching the course with the printed textbooks was challenging, Keiffer said. Adding to Keiffer’s frustration was the fact that students were often unable to see exactly where they were erring when attempting to learn about the Microsoft Office suite of products. It meant Keiffer often spent too much time reinforcing course material some of his students had already mastered while not spending enough time on topics that still puzzled students.

Keiffer sought a digital solution that would not only take the guesswork out of identifying which students needed additional attention, but also create a richer learning environment with fewer redundancies and inefficiencies. He found exactly what he was in search of when Owens Community College switched to Cengage Learning’s SAM platform, a cloud-based interactive learning environment that helps students master Microsoft Office and computer concepts vital to academic and career success. Owens uses a master Blackboard shell and the same SAM assignments across all sections and instructors.

In the case study below, you’l read how Students in Keiffer’s course now complete both assignments and exams in SAM, which allows instructors unique insight regarding individual performance. You’ll also see how the use of SAM helps instructors identify which students need extra help, as well as what they could to to improve or revise their courses.

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Hand Grading and Paperwork Become Overwhelming, Until SAM Lightens the Load

Sandy Keeter has been teaching at Seminole State College since 1994, but has been a computer “trainer” since the early 80s. At Seminole, she teaches a variety of classes in Microsoft® Office, both on-campus and online, including Introduction to Office Applications, which is offered as an online or hybrid course. As a former Air Force officer, Keeter previously worked with IBM on a project to “modernize” DOD computer systems, and she also taught Air Force ROTC students at the University of Florida. Not too many years ago, Keeter and her colleagues in Information Technology at Seminole were struggling with Read More…


SAM’s Hands-On Environment Boosts Computer Competency at University of Arkansas

Brittany Bright teaches two online computer competency courses at the University of Arkansas’ Sam M. Walton College of Business. For as long as she has been there (since 2009) she has used SAM (Skills Assessment Manager) — an online learning environment for Microsoft® Office and computer concepts.

In this Success Story, you’ll read how SAM enables her students to learn skills that are essential to both their college experience and career needs. SAM guides students and reinforces their learning as they observe, practice, train, and then apply their skills live in the application.

In addition, SAM’s auto-grading saves instructors time, while its flexible reporting tools enable them to easily track and report details of students’ progress at the student or section level, and then focus their attention on those areas where students need the most help.

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Busy Student Overcomes Academic Challenges with Technology

Darryl Nguyen, a freshman at Northern Arizona University, aspires to work in Hospitality as a hotel manager. However, a busy schedule that includes a job in the campus cafeteria was cutting into his study time and complicating matters.
 
Despite enrolling in a Computer Information Systems course, Darryl initially doubted the classroom technology would lighten his load. But after using Cengage Learning’s SAM Assessment/Training/Projects solution, a cloud-based digital learning platform, Nguyen was convinced.
 
In this success story, you’ll learn how SAM helped Darryl think more critically, collaborate with fellow students, become more motivated to study, and overcome academic challenges such as procrastination.

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Skills Assessment Manager Helps First Generation College Student Confronted with Challenges and Technology

Matthew Kisiel, a freshman at Northern Arizona University, is the first in his family to attend college. Despite being a Computer Information Systems major and tech savvy, Kisiel was a bit suspect of the technology that greeted him on campus.

Though he was initially uncertain about Skills Assessment Manager (SAM), Kisiel says that the platform has improved his critical thinking skills, test preparation, and overall academic performance. Kisiel also credits SAM’s “learn at your own pace” features with helping him grow personally and become more independent.

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Instructors Frustrated with Manual Grading and Data Entry Turn to SAM for Relief

The time that Computing faculty at Northern Arizona University (NAU) spent on data entry and hand grading prevented them from spending as much time on classroom learning and student achievement. It’s why the they began searching for a digital solution that would improve both the student and faculty experience.

As an instructor of an Introduction to Computer information Systems at NAU, Brandon Jones became part of a five-member faculty team tasked with identifying ways in which the university might provide students a more effective way to learn Microsoft Office Applications while simultaneously reducing the time instructors spend hand grading student assignments.

In the following success story, you’ll read about some of the many benefits that SAM has brought to instructors at Northern Arizona University. Instructor grading is now completely automated allowing teachers to focus more time and attention on students. In addition, student achievement has increased as students are now able work at their own pace and engage with SAM in ways that improve their understanding of course material.

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Implementing a Customized SAM Solution Leads to Positive Student Results

Chuck Louviere is a lead instructor in the Information Systems and Technologies department at Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City (OSU-OKC) campus. His current responsibilities include course design and development for an introductory level general education computer course called Computer Concepts with Applications, which services 1,200 to 1,300 students yearly.

Chuck’s deep experience means he has interacted with virtually all of the major IT digital learning solutions. When he started his position at OSU, Chuck felt that circumstances dictated the department begin searching for a new digital learning solution for the introductory course. This began a yearlong evaluation of digital learning solutions. During this process, Chuck appreciated Cengage Learning’s willingness to customize the platform to his needs. He also noticed SAM’s user-friendliness, and noted that that SAM would be easy to implement in a large, multi-section course.

As a result of the school’s recent switch to SAM, Chuck has already observed an increase in student scores using SAM Paths, and appreciates the added practice that SAM gives to students in the areas where they need it the most.
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