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SAM/MindTap Support for MAC students during COVID-19


As more courses are moving online due to COVID-19, we've received a number of inquiries asking how to support students who may only have access to a MAC at home. 


SAM Training and Exams


When we are looking at SAM Training and Exams, recall that these are all in a simulated environment, so students can easily complete these using a MAC (including Access Modules).  Our integrated Guide (available with 2019) will provide students with alternative pathways including the Method to use in Office for Mac.


Guide with MAC Steps.jpg


Students can also click on the Task Menu to access MAC hints for working with the SAM content player itself.


MAC Hints in Content Player.jpg



SAM Projects


We added functionality at the end of 2019 to allow instructors to offer a MAC version of a Project if the steps differ, or when specific steps cannot be completed on a MAC.   If the difference is minimal, a MAC hint may be included in the instruction file.  


Here are a few details regarding the MAC functionality in Office 2019/365


  • When specific steps cannot be completed on a MAC, instructors may choose to assign an alternative MAC version of the project. If you see an assignment setting named Project Version, then the selected project has an alternate MAC version available. The default is PC only. To grant students access to either the PC or the MAC version (determined by the student operating system at the time of project launch), navigate to the assignment options and select PC & MAC. If you do not see the Project Version option, then the project should be compatible with both operating systems. 

PC or MAC.jpg


Project Steps and Skills


  • While they cover comparable skills, MAC project versions include different step instructions or a different number of steps. 
  • At this time, projects that have a separate Mac version do not allow for modifying individual step weights.  This affects both the PC and MAC version.  Returning this functionality is on our roadmap and is expected to be resolved for fall.
  • You can preview the project files for both PC and MAC by selecting the Preview icon next to the project in the SAM Database. 

MAC Instruction File.jpg


The Student Experience

  • When the PC&MAC option is enabled, SAM will auto-detect the operating system the student is using and present the appropriate files.  Once that project file is downloaded the student must complete the project using that OS.  Instructors can reset the Operating System flag allowing the student to restart the project using a different OS by deleting previous project attempts. 

MAC Student.jpg


A Note about Access Projects


* Since SAM Projects are completed live in the Office Application and Microsoft does not offer Access for MAC, there are no MAC versions of Access Projects. Some students have successfully partitioned their hard drives to be able to run Access and complete SAM Projects.  You may want to check with your IT dept to see if they offer any support to students with this process.


If you have additional questions, feel free to post them here.  If you need technical support please contact us at or by phone at 800-354-9706

Frequent Commenter

Appreciate the insight on the flexibility with 2019.


Since we are still utilizing the 2016 content, I’m wondering if there is a document that outlines the variances in features between Windows vs Mac based MS Office applications. 


I share the ‘Mac Hints’ document but it does not outline the individual variances.  It would be beneficial to have an outline upfront of the Mac features where the process varies such as the find/replace feature.  I realize this is identified  when they work through the SAM Path in the “Office for Mac” but sometimes the task may not be  part of the SAM Path.  To have a summary or guide to reference when working on the Projects would be helpful to the students...and instructor in making all of us confident learners. 


By chance, if such a summary is available by application, I would greatly appreciate direction on how to access it. Thank you!



Frequent Commenter

Thank you Sandy!  Helpful and a great resource. Hoping for a guide that identifies the features Module by Module and the steps to do the feature utilizing a Mac.  


Thinking outside of the box during these tough times, and I think I might put my students into teams of two to work on the access projects and this way I can pair a Mac student with a PC student and have them complete the projects together over zoom. hopefully one of them will have access installed so they can complete the project! Many times I will create teams for capstone projects, but now thinking I might do it for individual projects on each module as well.


I will have the person completing the project submit via MT/Sam but then have the “team” send me a copy of the Graded Project Report so I can manually enter the grade in for all other members. I hope this works!


I love this idea, Sandy!!