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AL$, or Affordable Learning $olutions, is an initiative by the CSU Chancellor’s office to promote the use of low- or no-cost course materials to reduce the financial burden on students. Since 2016, AL$ has saved CSUN students over $1,000,000 in textbook costs. Learn more about the AL$ Initiative.
Why is AL$ important for student success?
Textbooks are expensive, and costs are rising all the time. This puts an undue burden on students, especially ones who are struggling to make ends meet financially, and it often results in students delaying purchasing textbooks until late in the semester... or worse, not purchasing them at all. By participating in AL$, you are supporting student success by:
Reducing costs for students and bridging opportunity gaps
Improving student performance by ensuring everyone has access to course materials on day one
Creating more interactive, collaborative learning experiences using online resources
Are Open Educational Resources high quality?
There is a misconception that free resources are not high quality – and this is simply not true! There are many repositories and publishers that offer peer-reviewed resources and have rigorous publishing requirements. Although Open Educational Resources (OERs) are relatively new to the educational landscape, several studies have compared student learning outcomes between traditional textbooks and OERs to guage any differences in quality, and many have found either no significant difference in student learning or performance, or have found improvements. For more research on OER effectiveness, see the Open Education Group.
How can I find OER and other affordable resources for my course?
How can students identify zero-cost and low-cost courses?
California Senate Bill 1359 requires CSU campuses “to clearly highlight, by means that may include a symbol or logo in a conspicuous place on the online campus course schedule, the courses that exclusively use digital course materials that are free of charge to students and may have a low-cost option for print versions.” Look for the following symbol in Class Search to identify zero-cost course materials:
Do I have to adopt OER to be designated as a zero- or low-cost course?