SAM

How to Achieve Better Learning with Technology

Technology is transforming learning, and institutions considering how to move forward have lots of compelling options. Just as instructors bring diverse experiences and expertise to class, so too do students vary in how they best absorb new knowledge. Smart use of technology can meet the needs of all—student, instructor, administrator—and still improve learning outcomes.

Better Learning Through Technology

Key benefits of a good digital choice will:
    Empower learners to be more engaged and confident in their course material
    Be flexible so instructors can personalize their lectures while also enabling customized student experiences
    Offer convenience and time savings, yet produce superior results

Success Story: Erie

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SAM’S Real-World Environment Empowers Students for MOS Exam Success

Employers used to prefer candidates with technological skills. Now they often mandate fluency in the use of computer applications, most notably Microsoft® Office. With 86% of hiring managers saying IT certifications are part of their hiring criteria, today’s college students are realizing the importance of preparing for — and passing — the Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) exams. A study involving 1,600 students at 30 two-year, four-year, trade, and vocational colleges identified engagement, preparation, and confidence as three components required to drive student success on the MOS exams. The study also found that Cengage’s Skills Assessment Manager (SAM) provides an Read More…


A New Digital Solution Brings an Unprecedented Rise in Student Grades and Success

Unfortunately, there’s a phenomena running rampant across college campuses nationwide that kills weekends and prevents educators from being their best. It’s called grading overload, and Linda Manning, an Associate Professor at Pellissippi State Community College in Knoxville, Tennessee knows the problem as well as anyone. “It seems like we’re grading all of the time,” Manning said. “We could save a lot of time if we didn’t have to manually grade the assignments.” The students to whom Manning teaches Microsoft Office concepts and applications are often initially intimidated by what can be perceived as complicated software to learn thoroughly. Even more Read More…


Business Students Rate SAM “Useful” for Building Excel Skills

At Baruch College in New York City, Professor of Economics Ted Joyce directs the Zicklin Online Learning and Evaluation (ZOLE) program, which promotes and supports the use of technology at the institution. “We interpret technology broadly, from courses delivered purely online to the use of Excel® in a traditional classroom format,” says Professor Joyce. “The unifying theme is the application of new technologies to engage students, build skills, save resources, and advance learning.” One of those technologies is SAM (Skills Assessment Manager), an online environment for Microsoft Office®. Professor Joyce managed a semester-long study of SAM’s online Excel® module, 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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Cengage Learning Solutions: How to Set Up Your Course

You’ve adopted the Cengage Learning digital solution that best suits the needs of your course and your students. Now, you’re ready to put that digital solution into action!

Access live and on-demand webinars to get the information you need—when you most need it. You’ll learn how to use your Cengage Learning solution to deliver an immersive learning experience and enable your students to achieve academic success.
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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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