Computing Success Stories

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…


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…


SAM Helps Szymon Machajewski’s Students Gain Confidence and Proficiency with Computer Technology

Szymon Machajewski is an Affiliate Professor in the School of Computing and Information Systems at Grand Valley State University. An instructor for eight years, he currently teaches eight sections of Introduction to Computing annually. Szymon uses SAM (Skills Assessment Manager) — an interactive online learning environment that helps students master Microsoft® Office and other computer skills and concepts that are essential to academic and career success — in conjunction with the textbook Discovering Computers. Szymon discovered SAM in 2013 and saw the advantage in using a learning solution that gives students a self-paced, hands-on experience. “I was surprised at how successful SAM is at really bringing out what we’ve known now for a while, based on the research of Dr. Benjamin Bloom, that one-on-one instruction is most effective.”

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Using SAM, Instructor Melinda White’s Students Learn from Mistakes

Learning Microsoft® Office® applications requires repetitive hands-on practice and reinforcement to assure skill retention—yet many of the students in your computing courses may have family, work, and other obligations that make it challenging to find the time for that practice. Discover how Melinda White of Seminole State College (Florida) uses the trainings, projects, review resources, and exams in SAM to make learning convenient, engaging, and effective for the students in her Office Applications courses. Read More…


Professor Kathleen Gowdey’s Computing Students Stay on Track with SAM

Your Computing class may feature a mix of students with varying levels of experience with computers and technologies—leading to varying levels of preparedness and confidence. Additionally, students may not have ready access to their own copies of the software that you cover in class. But SAM — the learning environment that supports assessment, training, and projects —offers a solution. Dr. Kathleen Gowdey of Berkshire Community College (Pittsfield, MA) has found that SAM helps to address the diverse needs of students who are at very different levels in terms of their Microsoft Office skills—and it provides them with a way to learn the software without having the entire suite downloaded to the computers they use. Read More…


Students of Dr. Steven Mark Sachs Like the Range of Learning Options in SAM

Students with varied computer backgrounds and learning needs require an environment that accommodates all proficiency levels. SAM addresses multiple learning styles with a student-friendly interface, three modes of learning (Observe, Practice, Apply), and a self-paced environment that helps them develop practical Microsoft Office skills with real-world simulations, hands-on training, and instant feedback. In the following Success Story, you’ll see how Dr. Steven Mark Sachs of Los Angeles Valley College (Valley Glen, CA) used SAM to support his students’ needs—and see an improvement in their performance in his Microsoft® Office® course. Read More…


Professor Lee Cornell Sees an Increase in Student Engagement with SAM

Providing Business majors with the fundamental skills they need in information systems—and keeping them engaged in the class—can prove challenging. However, if your course is supported by learning resources that make the learning process smoother for both you and your students, the experience is much more motivating and rewarding for all involved. Discover how SAM has helped the students in Dr. Lee Cornell’s Introduction to Information Systems class at Minnesota State University, Mankato to keep up with—and master—course concepts, and how SAM supports students’ learning needs through engaging assignments that provide plenty of practice with important course concepts, 24/7 availability, and instant feedback that direct students towards areas that need further study. Read More…


Professor Andrew Blitz’s Students are Inspired to Learn Microsoft® Office with SAM

When novice computer users enter your course, they may feel intimidated or anxious about learning new and unfamiliar technologies. Likewise, they may also be juggling a number of responsibilities—requiring them to fit in study time wherever and whenever they can. In the following Success Story, you’ll see how SAM’s user-friendly interface, instant feedback, and 24/7, web-based availability has helped the students in Dr. Andrew Blitz’s Computer Literacy and Computer Applications for Business courses at Edison State College, Lee Campus (Fort Myers, FL) to reduce their anxiety towards technology, and how its step-by-step trainings, auto-graded assessments, realistic projects, and computer concepts labs promote student learning and retention. Read More…


With SAM, Merlin Amirtharaj’s Computing Students can Learn at Their Own Pace

Students enter Computing courses with a variety of motivations, needs, and purposes—and they also come with a diverse set of learning needs and backgrounds. Thus, the learning solutions that you choose for your course should provide an environment that accommodates all proficiency levels. With self-paced training and projects that address multiple learning styles, SAM has allowed Merlin Amirtharaj’s students at Stanly Community College (Albemarle, NC) to work through their assignments as slowly or as quickly as their level of expertise allows. In the following Success Story, you’ll learn more about how Merlin uses SAM in her course, and how it’s helped her increase student engagement and retention, and how it enables her to ensure consistency in course content across a number of sections. Read More…