July 13, 2024


Education, What Else?

My Favorite MindTap Feature: the SAM MindApp

3 min read
My Favorite MindTap Feature: the SAM MindApp
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Melinda Doty is a full-time faculty member at East Carolina University.


My favorite MindTap feature is the SAM MindApp. SAM (Skills Assessment Manager) is a built-in program within MindTap. It allows students to use simulation software and exported projects to assess their knowledge in several Microsoft applications. SAM Projects allow me to actively engage students when teaching Microsoft Office applications. The SAM Trainings and SAM Exams display the applications in a simulated environment so my students who may not have the programs installed can learn how to complete tasks in Office.

As instructors, we all know the best way to learn is to do. Utilizing the assignments provided in the SAM MindApp, we can teach the tasks and tools in the Microsoft applications without losing the students to a boring PowerPoint presentation.


SAM evolution

Prior to MindTap, SAM was a stand-alone website where students visited a specific URL, found their assignment, completed it, and then reopened the webpage to submit their assignment. While this was effective at the time, it was a cumbersome process.

A few years ago, MindTap came onto the scene and completely changed the way I teach using SAM. Instead of the burdensome way of accessing the assignment previously, students can now access them directly from the LMS (Learning Management System), link directly to the assignment through MindTap, complete the work and submit it for a grade. Once submitted, the student’s grade is seamlessly added to the LMS gradebook. While this updated process is much easier on me as an instructor, it is also less confusing for the student.


SAM assignments

With the SAM MindApp, you can create and edit assignments easily through MindTap. I can revise a SAM exam, SAM Path or SAM Training while also creating a new SAM Exam and/or SAM Training. I can also edit specific weights of SAM Projects through the SAM MindApp.

Using active learning techniques and the SAM MindApp, the students can work through the SAM Project while I teach the program during class. This allows me to teach the tools of the application while the students are actively engaged with the program.

The SAM Exams and SAM Trainings provide the students additional ways to learn the Microsoft Office application in a simulated environment. The Trainings allow students to Observe how the task is done, Practice the task and then Apply what they learned. Once they are comfortable with the material, students can take the SAM Exam to assess their knowledge of the application.



By using MindTap and the SAM MindApp, we customize our courses in a way that is appropriate for our classes. SAM Trainings and Exams are web-based only and require only a web-browser to complete the assignment, which can be easier for our MAC or Chromebook users who may not have access to the full Microsoft Office application. For instructors teaching in a computer lab, SAM projects could be a better option.

I employ a combination of simulation assignments and projects in my classes, as I enjoy being able to teach the application while the students perform the action required within the project. I assign the simulation assignments (trainings and exams) as homework.

With the many SAM Project versions, SAM Trainings and SAM Exams available, my hope is you find you love the SAM MindApp as much as I do.

Note: The SAM MindApp can be found within MindTap Collections products. The availability of this MindApp and corresponding activities will vary from product to product.


Join Melinda for a walkthrough of the SAM MindApp in this tutorial video:


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