Engage - Best Practices for Instructors

This document is for instructors utilizing an Engage eText or publisher Digital Learning Tool (DLT). It provides some best practices when interacting with and thinking about your eText/DLT, including around how to communicate with your students.

If you would like to learn ways to make your course accessible, please review this guide.

Understand the concept of eTexts, as well as the key features eTexts provide.

Positive student perceptions of eTexts, and the resulting academic engagement and success, are predicated by instructor ability to explain and/or demonstrate a clear and thoughtful decision to use Engage eTexts instead of traditional paper materials.

Introduce eTexts to students proactively

  • Please consider adding a statement about the use of eTexts or Digital Learning Tools (DLT) to your syllabus and posting it as an announcement to your students 1-2 weeks before the first day of class. 
    • Example syllabus language on the use of Engage is available here
    • Example language on the use of a DLT is available here.

Visit the Engage help menu

View the Engage help menu (for instructors) to learn about the basics of navigating in and using the basic features of the Engage platform.

Enhance the text

Take advantage of the Engage features allowing you to:
  • Highlight, annotate, add study tips, and insert links to external materials.
    • Note: To provide an equal accommodation, ensure your annotations, study tips, and links are available for all students in a Word document.
  • Review the Accommodations section below for some considerations regarding accessibility.

Promote early engagement in the text

Help students practice navigating in Engage:
  • Open the course early so they can review the eText or DLT before class starts.
  • Include documentation in your syllabus or in your course that helps students with usage and support. McBurney also provides sample syllabus language surrounding accessibility here.

Be open to discussing why you chose to use eTexts with your students

  • Promote the key features your students may not know or understand.
  • Share the University interest in providing well-below market cost materials and ease of access for all students in a class.
  • If students wish to discuss opting-out of eTexts and the related fees:
    • Help students understand the academic benefits of eTexts from your perspective.
    • Help students understand the academic risks of opting out of the eText in your class.

Inform your students how the DLT will be used in your course.

  • If you are using a publisher Digital Learning Tool (DLT) like Cengage MindTap or Pearson MyLab and Mastering, be sure to inform your students how the DLT will be used in your course. 
    • If students have support questions related to use of the DLT, they can be referred to the vendor for support. 
    • More information on where to go for vendor support can be found here.

Merging Sections that use Engage eTexts


  • If you are using Engage for your eText let students know they can print up to 50 pages at a time, for free (not including the cost of printing). 
    • If needed, printed loose leaf copies of some courses’ texts will also be available for an additional charge at the UW Bookstore. 
    • Check the UW Bookstore’s website to see which texts are available for purchase.
  • Remember we have arrangements in place with the publishers and the McBurney Disability Resource center to create alternate versions of texts for those students who require accommodations. For more information see Engage - Accessibility & Usability Information.

    • Note: Even with an alternate version of the text, the social features, especially Q&A and sharing notes between students, remain inaccessible for students with disabilities. These features should be avoided so that equal opportunities exist for all students in the course.

These best practices were shared by Indiana University. Many thanks to IU!