There are different forms of learning environments available to students at USI and one particular education technology that many professors use is known as Cengage.
Cengage is an online learning environment that provides tools and information to learners about the course that they are enrolled in.
Certain Cengage subscriptions include a platform called MindTap. This enables students to access everything that Cengage provides.
The book for the class a student is in is made available, along with study tools to help promote learning. Some of these tools that are provided may include test preps, flashcards, notes and a glossary.
These are meant to help students with their tasks for the class. Other potential perks Cengage offers are tabs to join study hubs, read speakers and the opportunity to begin a career portfolio.
Students are also able to access the grade book to check their progress throughout the course. Though there are obvious benefits to using Cengage, it’s actually hard to get behind for several reasons.
One of the biggest issues with Cengage is that it’s expensive. It costs more than buying the actual book for a class, and the tools that are provided on Cengage can easily be obtained without having to pay for a subscription in order to have access to your work.
You can highlight certain texts in a physical book too, or find examples of situations that the homework or book may discuss from the chapters for free.
The layout of Cengage may be organized and meant to help students complete their work (maybe it does work better for some students) but I have a hard time agreeing with being forced to subscribe when a professor decides they want us to use it.
I see Cengage as a way for professors to not have to do much for classes. This platform grades everything and basically serves as your instructor.
Granted, most of the time I have had to use Cengage is for an online class. There are different expectations from an instructor when you are not meeting for a classroom-based course.
In my experience, the online instructors who use Cengage are practically MIA. Since it grades all of our work and provides tools for us to learn the material on our own, there is no reason for a physical instructor. Besides maybe emailing the class once every week, professors can just leave it up to Cengage to teach their course.
It’s hard to understand why some instructors don’t use Blackboard when it’s a platform that’s already provided. It may not have the same resources or include our books, but we don’t have to pay extra money in order to use it each semester as you have to with Cengage.
Blackboard also requires more one-on-one with professors, and you can feel like the class you are paying the university for is worth it.
When a class forces us to subscribe to Cengage, I can only think it is because the instructor does not want to take the time to put our material on Blackboard and properly teach.
The online professors I’ve had so far that have used Blackboard have given personal feedback and have kept in touch with their students. I actually feel that they are passionate about their work and aim to help students learn.
Though Cengage includes useful tools, I’ve found that the instructors are allowed to be absent.
If these instructors made sure to dedicate time to students the same as they would if they were not using Cengage, it would give the students the opportunity to feel as if they were getting the support they need.
By following up and providing personal feedback, students could have a more meaningful experience in their course, creating better communication between them and the professor.
Cengage would no longer be a substitute teacher for them.