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Engage - Troubleshooting [UW-Madison]

This document explores common issues with Engage eTexts. It summarizes troubleshooting steps for students and instructors on three main Engage topics: eTexts, DLTs, and Ordering. This document also explains how to request help with Engage.

To check the status of the Engage eReader or the Order Tool, review Unizin’s status page or RedShelf’s status page (eReader only).



Trouble accessing eTexts on Engage?

Try the following:

  1. Use only Firefox or Chrome. If you're already using one of these, try accessing Engage with the other browser. 

    1. Update your browser to the newest version; older versions of browsers lose support as they age.

    2. A list of recommended and required hardware and software can also be found here.

  1. Clear your browser cache.
  2. Enable cookies.
    1. Chrome
    2. Firefox
  3. Verify you have Internet access (review the "Internet" section in this document for specific internet-related troubleshooting steps).
  4. Close other tabs and windows on your screen, and disable extensions.
  5. Ensure pop-ups are allowed in your browser.
  6. Disable any antivirus software as this can sometimes cause Engage to not work properly.
  7. Ensure the correct term is set in the upper right corner of the Engage “Bookshelf” (the view after launching Unizin Engage from Canvas).
  8. Do not set a bookmark or shortcut outside of the class site.
  9. Check UW-Madison Outages for any outage notices.

Note: This is eText specific. Students can access eTexts in their Canvas course, as long as the instructor has published the course, following the directions here.

If the course is using a publisher digital learning tool (DLT), it will not be accessed through the Engage eReader. Please contact the publisher with any questions or support requests. If there are any issues with access, students should not purchase the materials from the publisher directly. They should open a case with the publisher and let them know in the support ticket that they have purchased access through UW-Madison’s Engage (or Inclusive Access) program.

Additional Notes for Instructors

  1. In Canvas, verify you've enabled the Engage tool, and you haven't inadvertently hidden it. If you haven't enabled the Engage tool please see Engage - Set-Up/Preparation for Instructors using an Engage eText.

  2. Do not merge (aka “crosslist”) a Canvas course using Engage with a Canvas course that is not using Engage. If you have any concerns about crosslisting your course, please contact the DoIT Help Desk for further assistance. Directions on crosslisting a course are available in Canvas - Crosslisting/Merging a Canvas Course (UW-Madison).

  3. The course must be published in order for students to access it and read their Engage materials.

UW-Madison's or Unizin's Engage documentation may also be helpful in answering how-to questions for eTexts. Publishers can provide assistance for their tools if needed.

System Errors

A list of error messages and fixes can be found in the System Errors RedShelf Solve article.

Error while accessing eTexts

While uncommon, it is possible for users to encounter an error message when attempting to access an Engage eText.

Engage may display a username and login page when attempting to access the eText that looks like this:

Error Message Shown in Engage with Troubleshooting Options

The user cannot log in with their NetID to view the eText. There are a number of different reasons this could happen. Occasionally, it is caused by a back-end issue that will require the intervention of Unizin Support. However, the error message is more commonly caused by one of the following issues.


Issue Occurs When Using a Bookmark to Access an Engage eText

This will affect users who bookmark an Engage eText and use that bookmark to attempt to access it. Instead, the user must log in to the Canvas course to access the Engage eText material:

  1. Login with your NetID to Canvas:
  2. Select he link or the course card for the course using an Engage eText
  3. Select the Engage eText link in the course navigation:
    A screenshot showing a Canvas course menu with the cursor hovering over the "Engage eText" menu option.
  4. Select the purple Launch Unizin Engage button that appears in Canvas to open your Content Library in a new tab
  5. Select the thumbnail of the appropriate eText to open it

Issue Occurs When eText Has Not Been Accessed in Two or More Weeks

If you have not launched Engage from a specific course in two or more weeks, you will be redirected to the Unizin login page after selecting the thumbnail of your eText from your Content Library (which appears after selecting the purple Launch Unizin Engage button). 

To resolve this, you need to launch Engage again:

  1. Close the tab with the Unizin login page
  2. Navigate back to the Canvas course using that eText
  3. Select the Engage eText link in the course navigation
  4. Select on the purple Launch Unizin Engage button to open your Content Library in a new tab
  5. Select on the thumbnail of the the eText to open it again

Make sure to launch Engage and access your eText at least once every two weeks to ensure this doesn’t occur again.

Issue Occurs When Accessing Via Canvas

If you are experiencing this issue when accessing the eText directly from the Canvas course, there are still a few things to try:

  1. Clear your cache and cookies.
  2. Try in an incognito window or tab.
  3. Try a different browser. (a list of recommended browsers can be found here)
  4. Check for browser updates.
  5. Start your browser in Safe Mode (or disable browser extensions - some anti-virus extensions can cause issues with access).
  6. Check the status of the eReader through Unizin’s status page or RedShelf’s status page

If none of these work, please open a case with the DoIT Help Desk for further support.



Access differs between eTexts and DLTs. If a course is using an eText only, students will access the materials through the Engage eReader. If a course is using a DLT, students will access the materials through the publisher’s third party tool. Please ensure you’re using the correct access point.

If you are using publisher Digital Learning Tools (DLTs) like Pearson Mastering Physics and MyLab or Cengage MindTap, support is provided directly from the publisher. More information on where to get DLT support is available in this KB doc next to the publisher name under Support Notes.

Courses must be published for students to access them and their Engage digital materials.

Instructors and course coordinators can verify what type of material they ordered by logging into the Order Tool and reviewing their Order History and clicking View. Students can check by reviewing their Purchase History

There will be an icon next to the title that will display the type of digital material the course is using:

  •  eText
    image shows eText icon


  • DLT
    Image shows DLT icon

Order Tool

Can’t log in/Courses won't load

  1. Use only Firefox or Chrome. If you're already using one of these, try accessing Engage with the other browser. 
    1. You can also try updating your browser to ensure it’s at the latest version.
  2. Clear your browser cache.
  3. Check UW-Madison Outages for any outage notices.

Instructors must be the instructor on record for the course. If they do not have any course assignments, and depending on their status at the University (e.g., if they have not yet been provided a NetID), they may not be able to log in until this is changed.

If an instructor also holds the role of “Course Coordinator” within the Order Tool, this may be causing the issue. Unizin will need to resolve this on the backend. Contact the DoIT Help Desk to get a case escalated accordingly.

If none of the above works, please contact the DoIT Help Desk.

Can’t find materials (Instructors/Course Coordinators)

  • When you try to order your digital materials, the content you used the prior semester may not show up in the Order Tool (this typically occurs when publishers don’t provide that content in their metadata that they send to Unizin). If this happens, you (or course coordinators) can use the Reorder button to reorder previously used materials. If the text is available, the button will add the content automatically to your order. If it is not available, Reorder will automatically create a Content Request for that title.
  • If the Reorder button is not available, or if you cannot find the title you want in the catalog, you should submit a Content Request. Instructions can be found in this document.
  • There must be active Ordering Periods to place orders for content.

Can’t find course (Instructors)

  • The course must be listed in the schedule (can be verified by checking the public Course Search & Enroll).
  • You must be either the instructor of record on a course or a course coordinator (in Engage) for the department to be able to place an order.
  • Ensure the correct term is set in the upper right hand corner of the ordering screen.
  • Ensure you are not in the My Account tab - you must click Order > Place an Order to see your available courses.

Can’t opt-out (Students)

  • You can only opt-out of digital materials during designated Student Choice periods. These occur 15 days before the start of the term through the 100% refund deadline
  • If you drop a course, you do not need to opt-out. 
  • More information about opting out, including other considerations, can be found here

Getting Support 

For technical support, contact:

The DoIT Help Desk 

  • Phone: 608-264-4357
  • Chat: link
  • E-mail:

Your eText/DLT's publisher

When contacting support, provide screenshots of any error messages or when otherwise necessary.

Students may ask you how the materials will be used, or contact you about issues with the Canvas course (for example, if the course isn’t published).


For important accessibility information, please see the following KnowledgeBase documents

McBurney Disability Resource Center

Keywordsunizin, bugs, issues, problems, supporting, how-to, missing, etext, dlt, digital, learning, tools, can't, viewing, seeing, crosslisted, courses, internet, accessing, bookmarks, browser, helping, fix, signing, sign-in, loggin, log-in, can’t, enabled, enabling, adding, finding, ordering, materials, instructors, students, coordinators, content, requests, opt-out, opting, choice   Doc ID77768
OwnerLearn@UW MadisonGroupLearn@UW-Madison
Created2017-10-31 12:04:11Updated2024-03-28 14:22:37
SitesDoIT Help Desk, Learn@UW-Madison
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