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SAM Projects for Mac


Happy Monday Instructors!


Our team would like to learn from those of you who assign SAM projects and have students who use Macs. A few questions to consider:

- How many students per course/semester must use a Mac to complete their work?

- How do you communicate options for Mac users (such as Mac hints or Mac projects)? Syllabus, class announcements, or on an "as needed" basis?

- Is project or course grading affected by accommodations for Mac users, and what does that look like?


Please share best practices and anything else you'd like to share below. Thanks in advance for your help!

Valued Contributor

I have maybe four students per semester that use a MAC. It is very problematic if they are online students. I have told the students to find Windows machines to do the projects. Not an ideal solution but that seems to work.

For my database class, they have to have Microsoft Access for the projects. I have that stated in the syllabus.


 Each one of our sections has a max of 30 students in it. And I would say maybe two or three of those students is a Mac user.


We belong to the Microsoft imagine academic alliance and with that our students can get a free windows download. They can easily install windows with Boot Camp that comes with their Mac operating system and then they can download install office 365 for windows.  This is all detailed in the course notes, syllabus and learning management system getting started information.


If they don’t want to install windows on their Mac, they can come to any of our campuses and use our campus computers in our labs. Since all students have to do access projects along with the other office applications, they really have no choice to use office 365 for windows. So far this Has not been an issue!


I teach a few large sections of Excel.


I have about 1/2 of my students using Macs.

In the syllabus I have this statement:

  • IF you are using a MAC with Excel 2016 then please be aware that some of the advanced functionality may require loading add-ins or may not be available. It is your responsibility to check ahead of time and is not an excuse for late work.

The problem only occurs on their Projects which I do use for grades. 


My practice is that I require the SAM path to be completed the night before class.  In class I cover the harder to understand topics or things I require them to know at a higher level than the training provides.  Then their Project is due 2 days later.  I recommend that they have made at least 1 attempt at the project before class.  After lecture I allow time to help any who are need help on projects.  At this point we are in a lab with Windows machine so they can pull up their project and complete on the Windows machine.  (IF they don’t take advantage then it is up to them…whether they take the grade on the project from a Mac computer or go to a Windows machine to complete.)


I think in Excel there are only a few projects with some missing functionality on the Mac.


I have a question for computing faculty. Someone in the last year mentioned that their Mac students can log into a server on campus to access office 365 for windows remotely. This would prevent them from having to install windows on their machines. Who was that? I’m trying to encourage my dean to get funding for that for our students to access the software If their computers at home don’t have the capacity to install it.


Just a thought....

What if the projects could be done using the online version of Office 365?  I haven't used the online version enough to know how big the differences are.


If the online version had the capability then it wouldn't be a problem as to which OS the students are using.


Again....just a thought.


The online version is so scaled down and missing many important features students need to learn so that would not work for us.



Office online only represents about 15-20% of the full feature set of installed Office 365. Our Cengage Introductory texts all go well beyond that basic feature set. Nice thought though 😃

Corinne Hoisington



I kind of had that feeling....I wonder if in the future they will beef up the online version (fingers crossed).





Office online is free. The full featured installation is part of the paid subscription. Microsoft has to make some money off the paid one 😃



I agree...I was thinking more along the lines of an online paid subscription access kind of option.

The scaled down version could remain free but for the beefed up version it could be a paid option of some kind.


The University of Findlay has a Citrix Server which allows access to Microsoft Office and other software required for classes. Our Mac users find it very helpful for taking classes that require MS Access in particular.

They install a Citrix Receiver client on their machine, which also allows them to access their network shared drives. This is recommended for classes with MS Access projects.

There is a "light" version, which runs in the browser, which many students use to access our print release stations on campus.


You can contact me for more information



Frequent Commenter

Over the past several years, I have found the number of Mac users increasing and estimate about 15 to 20% of students utilize a Mac. The curriculum for the MS Office Courses entails various assignments which includes:

- SAM Textbook Project (just for practice and students with Mac are able to recognize which features may not be supported);

- SAM Path - which incorporates Mac tips; and

- SAM Module Project for which I select the Mac compatible project.


I also incorporate links to outside resources that provide guidance on what features may not be supported by the Mac version.


Our college provides all students access to a virtual desktop (VMware) so they have access to several software applications as if they were sitting on campus which utilizes a window-based OS.


What I find challenging is when students utilize their Macs in the classroom and I have to recall how to function in a Mac environment.