Building Engaging Course Content Rapidly with Cengage MindTap
Mark Nowowiejski | TrustRadius Reviewer
Updated May 07, 2019

Building Engaging Course Content Rapidly with Cengage MindTap

Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Overall Satisfaction with MindTap

MindTap has been essential in helping up building out course content for various online courses in our MBA program including Corporate Finance, various law courses, Accounting, and Financial Reporting. The LMS integration and test banks allow us to maintain fresh assessment each semester and the eBook saves our students a lot of time and trouble in hunting down a hard copy version of the text book.
  • Customer Support has been outstanding for both students and faculty. Our dedicated reps are very responsive and proactive in touching base with users who have dropped off.
  • The student facing mobile app has gotten very strong reviews. With many of our PT students being working adult on the go, the ability to access study material such as flash cards via their smartphones has been very helpful and it shows it their grades vs sections that just use the hard copy book.
  • Importing content from Mindtap into an LMS like Blackboard is very easily done, everything is customizable and it integrates seamlessly with the course Grade Center. It also makes copying content from semester to semester very painless.
  • The biggest issue our first-time users have with Mindtap is that ad/pop-up blockers often stop the tool from opening. (Mindtap typically opens in a new window vs inside the LMS) This leads to a lot of initial frustration amongst the students early in the course.
  • MindTap lacks a really strong set of roles outside of Instructor and Student. There is no Teaching Assistant role or and IT/Course Builder role. Additionally setting up students workers as TAs in one course while they may be a student in another concurrently has been more than a little cumbersome.
  • The UI is a bit dated and it doesn't implement many responsive web design features, though this can typically be worked around by downloading the free app.
  • The mobile app experience is not as strong for Instructors as it is for students.
  • It saves the designer and faculty member a lot of time with course setup - especially in maintaining robust question banks for exams from semester to semester.
  • The pop-up issue often taxes our IT Help desk, especially early in the semester.
  • From a student POV - their pricing model has a very friendly 'try before you buy' model. I believe it is two weeks of free access before they have to choose to subscribe or go with the hard copy version on the textbook.
  • Because of the auto-grading features our faculty and TA's are freed up to focus more on students that may be struggling.
We have worked with multiple publishers that have tools similar to Cengage MindTap. All of them seem to integrate well with the LMS it just comes down to what textbook the faculty prefers. Personally, I feel that McGraw-Hill has a much more robust library and more powerful set of tools (its adaptive textbook feature, for example, is really amazing) However I have not found as many matches in our curriculum to use it.

I have found myself in a similar situation with WileyPLUS, the tool has some possibilities but we don't have many matches amongst interested faculty. Though on the surface it seems to be more basic than the other tools mentioned.
Well first you have to have a textbook match, they have a pretty good library but I can only vouch for business and law courses. It can be very helpful for online students in remote areas who may have trouble getting a hold of the hardcopy textbook and as noted the mobile app/study features are a huge hit with PT students.

On the Instructional Design side, it can also be helpful to a Blackboard/HTML novice who either isn't comfortable building content within the LMS or doesn't have the time required to build out a full course.

MindTap Feature Ratings

Course authoring
Course catalog or library
Not Rated
Learning content
Mobile friendly
Progress tracking & certifications
Compliance management
Learning administration
Learning reporting & analytics

Using MindTap

50 - MindTap is typically used by Instructors in online graduate programs but it also used daily but a member of the Instructional Design & technology teams. Course support professionals and teaching assistants. If you include students into the equation we'd have a around 1000 users actively using the tool through various academic cycles
We typically employ one primary point of contact on our team and one back up who meet with our dedicated rep on a monthly basis to discuss semester launches, product upgrade and debrief on helpdesk reports
  • Integrate course content with LMS
  • Keep assessment quizzing and exams fresh
  • allow digital and mobile access to study materials
  • I think the rollout of the mobile app has been the biggest change, allowing students to study on the go with flashcards etc on their phone has had a positive effect of learning outcomes
  • The analysis feature has been steadily improving, lots of actionable to data to help make course improvements
  • I think it could be used more in our face-to-face or hybrid courses - especially the exams/quizzes
  • Possibly a course of content for our non-credit Executive Ed courses but those are very short (1-5 days) so it's a fit a tool like that in
It's hard to imagine not renewing it as the professors would not want to go back to the way their courses were previously populated.
The only thing that would cause us to change would be in the textbook changed and the new company offered a better tool

Evaluating MindTap and Competitors

Yes - Not a direct replacement but we did look as similar services such as McGraw Hill Lab, Wiley PLUS, and Pearson Labs various services.

  • Product Features
  • Product Usability
  • Prior Experience with the Product
  • Vendor Reputation
  • Existing Relationship with the Vendor

Many of the other tools mentioned are strong but it usually comes down to the faculty's preference on the course textbook
I probably wouldn't change much, but I do advice running a small pilot first to work out the kinks. I think we rolled it out in too many courses simultaneously

MindTap Support

The effort from them always feels strong - I'd just recommend they be more prepared for OS (mac) and LMS (blackboard) upgrades
Quick Resolution
Good followup
Problems get solved
Kept well informed
Quick Initial Response
Escalation required
Yes - Typically our issues with MindTap center around an OS or Windows update that they are not ready for. These have been few and far between but it's caused some courses to start of a little rocky.
Our original reps were outstanding and alway willing to physically come to campus and work with faculty directly and/or hold workshop events such as 'MindTap on Tap' . There was a point where we lost our original rep and got passed around to few different people. It did eventually settle back down. Though you will go through that will any vendor from time to time.