SAM Frequently Asked Questions

What is SAM?

How do I get Started with SAM?

What is the College's Institution Code for SAM?

What if I have a SAM code from last semester?

How do I use SAM training?

How do I get a SAM report?

What if the keycode in my SAM package does not work?

Where can I use SAM?

How will my SAM tests be graded in my CIS 101 course?

What happens when I take a SAM test?

What do I have to do before I am able to take a SAM test?

What if I forget my username and/or password?

What if the bookstore runs out of SAM before I can purchase it?


What is SAM?

SAM stands for Skills Assessment Manager and is an online software program that assesses or tests your hands on abilities to perform tasks in the Microsoft software Windows, Word, and Excel. One of the important ways that you can learn and practice these skills or abilities is to use the training feature of SAM. When you purchased the SAM package, you received a one time use key code (it's on an orange sticker inside the package) that you use to activate your online account. Use the SAM CDs to install a SAM local application so you can, from your home computer,  take the SAM tests that are available during most of the semester for practice. Do NOT use the CDs after installing SAM, either at home. Never use the CDs on campus!  SAM is available from the Internet and should be used that way so that your progress is always tracked in the Internet based database

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How do I get Started with SAM?

To activate your SAM account (should be done the first few days of class), go to the following website: 

http://sam2003.course.com (on campus you can also click Start, Computer Based Training, Testing Software, Sam 2003).

Click the new user button. Refer to the instructions on the SAM reference card that came with your packet. You will not have this if you purchased used books, but you can refer to another student's card after they have set up their account.  The institution code is S3624203. The key code you need to supply is inside your SAM package. To keep things simple, it is strongly suggested that you use the same user name that you are using in your 101 Blackboard course, that is first initial+first 3 letters of last name + birth month + birth day (JSmi0913 for John Smith born on September 13). Use a password you are already using, perhaps for your email account. It is critically important that you supply your actual email address on the form because in the future, assuming you know your username, you can have your password emailed to you. IMPORTANT: please perform this process ONLY ONCE. After you have used your key code, it cannot be used again; you should simply login with your user name and password  You'll also need to join your instructor's section, unless your instructor is enrolling students. Please see "What do I have to do before I am able to take a SAM test?"

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What is the College's Institution Code for SAM?

It is "S3624203" (ignore the quotes). In the process of registering as a New User at http://sam2003.course.com you need this number that identifies you as a member of the our College, thus allowing you to join the proper section (4-digit, course reference number), e.g., 2222.

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What if I have a SAM code from last semester?

Your username and password from last semester will still work. Remember, you cannot use another student's code! Your instructor can look them up if you don't remember them. Codes earlier than last semester will not work because we have upgraded our from SAM for Office XP to SAM for Office 2003.  Important: you will not be able to do tests and training from your computer using last semester's software. To receive the correct version of the software free of charge, you can log into SAM and click the "Request CD" button on the bottom of the screen. You will then see the following:

On the screen shown above, click the link labeled "Click here" in the row labeled "CD v 2.0." This means you are running 2.0 (which is what we used last semester) and you need 2.5. When you click the link you will see the following:

Your name will already be filled in. IMPORTANT: select the middle button as shown above, "SAM 2003 Assessment and Training v2.5 CD." Fill in your name and address, Prince George's Community College for the school and your email address. Click the "Request CD" button. You should receive the CDs in 3-5 business days.

How do I use SAM training?

Connect to the Internet and go to http://sam2003.course.com as you did when you created your login as a first time user. Important: once you have created your login, you do not use your keycode again! Just login with the username and password you established (which, if you followed directions, should be the same as your Blackboard username, with your own chosen password. See your instructor if you have lost this information. If you know your username but have forgotten your password, you can type it in and have your password automatically emailed to you. 

Your assigned training will be listed when you click the Assignments button. After you choose a particular task, you will be guided through learning that task. After observing and practicing the task (see buttons on the bottom of the screen) you will apply it by completing the task yourself. When you click Apply and correctly perform a task, that is recorded in a database. You or your instructor can get reports showing which tasks have been completed and when (for Apply mode). 

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How do I get a SAM report?

You can get a SAM training report, which will summarize the number of training tasks on which you have successfully completed the "Apply," along with the amount of time spent. In addition, the SAM pretest report will be extremely useful in improving your skills. Choose "SAM Exam Study Guide." When viewed on screen, this report contains links to the specific training (under Launch Training) for all questions. 

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What if the keycode in my SAM package does not work?

Remember that the keycode in your SAM package is used only once to create your login! After that, you simply login with your existing user name and password. Your instructor or one of the CIS coordinators can get this information for you if you have forgotten it. Back to Top Students who get the message (during the new user process) that their key code is already in use must call 1-800-648-7450, option #4 (Course Technology Technical Support) between 8:30 and 6:30 Monday through Friday. Be sure to have your key code with you when you call. It is the responsibility of each student to log in to SAM the first week of class in order to find out if there are any problems. If you have problems, your instructor, the CIS coordinators, and Course Technology will work with you to help you establish your login. Difficulty in doing this does not excuse you from taking the SAM tests. You MUST login the first week of classes; most instructors will make this an assignment.

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Where can I use SAM?

You can use SAM in the open labs at the college. You will use it with your instructor in a lab class. In addition, you can use it to take tests, if you are an online student, and to do training exercises, at any computer that you have installed the SAM software (which comes on the CDs in your package). NOTE: Please read the SAM 2003 Assessment and Training System Requirements on the right inside panel of your SAM package as well as the directions for installation on the right side to see if your computer can run SAM and the workstation software installation software on your CDs (there are 2) You use these CDs only when performing the installation, not afterwards.

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How will my SAM tests be graded in my CIS 101 course?

The first test you take, the pretest, which covers Windows, Word, and Excel, is not graded, but it helps you to know which skills you need to work on. In addition, students with scores of at least 70% can be exempt from taking the SAM final exam (they would receive the points that their percentage is equivalent to). One of the nice features is that you can get a report that, when viewed on screen, contains links directly to the training sections for questions you missed. Your last test, taken at the end of the semester, will cover the same skills. The grade that you get on this test counts, and is worth 15% of your grade in the course. In between these two tests, you will have access to very extensive tests in Windows, Word, and Excel, that can be used for practice. Individual instructors may give assignment points for these and/or for completion of  the training tasks.. Please refer to your course syllabus for details.
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What happens when I take a SAM test?

Login into SAM as usual. Your tests will be listed under Assignments. WARNING: if you are in a face to face course, you must take this test under the supervision of your instructor! Please read your instructor's syllabus carefully for specific requirements. You select the test you want to take and launch it. The pretest that you take at the beginning of the course with your class may be taken once. The results are used to determine which skills you need to learn and practice. Likewise, the test you will take at the end of the semester may be taken only once; this grade counts for 15% of your grade in the course.  In addition to these two tests, comprehensive tests on Windows, Word, and Excel, will be available throughout the semester, so that you can practice these skills (also make sure to use the SAM training for this purpose). These tests contain quite a few questions. You may take them up to 50 times each, but remember that every time you launch the test (even if you don't complete it), this counts as one of your 50 attempts.

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What do I have to do before I am able to take a SAM test?

You will not be able to take any SAM tests until you join your instructor's section. To do so, click Sections, Join, and choose your section, then click the arrow to send the section to the right side of the screen. Click Save. You will be put on a waiting list, and your instructor will have to accept you into the course. Some instructors may enroll students themselves, but you still need to first become a SAM user by following the process described under .How do I get started with SAM? Note: everyone can join the sample section without being put on a waiting list and take a small sample test to get familiar with how SAM works. This sample test is not meant to prepare you for the SAM content (none of the questions on this test will appear on the actual SAM final test), but to get you familiar with how the SAM tests work.

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What if I forget my username and/or password?

If you are unsure of BOTH your user name and password, you will need to see your instructor. Always speak to your instructor first. If you wish, you may see if one of the CIS 101 coordinators is available (if it is going to be a long time before you see your instructor again). Go to Marlboro 2011 for directions. This may not be an instant remedy because coordinators are not always on duty. If you are sure of your user name (and you should be if you followed directions in creating it to be the same as your BlackBoard username) but have forgotten your password, you may have your password emailed to you. Follow the link "Forget Your Password?" on the SAM login screen. This is dependant upon your having supplied a valid email address when you created your login originally with the key code. The email you supplied there will be the one used to send your password.

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What if the bookstore runs out of SAM before I can purchase it?

Copies of SAM should be available at the front counter of the bookstore. If the bookstore runs out, you can order it online with a charge card. Go to http://course.com. On the first screen, type in the ISBN number in the Search box at the top of the screen: 0619172053. On the next screen, click the link to the product, and on the next screen click the "Buy this item" link. Follow the prompts to purchase the product.