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.
Many students delay purchasing required textbooks due to the high cost. Studies have shown that access to textbooks is a strong predictor of academic success. By ensuring that all students have access to required materials on day one, you will help set them up to succeed.
By adopting Open Educational Resources (OER), you control the content and pick only the resources and materials that are specific to your lesson plans and teaching style. It is also easier for you to adjust the course materials according to student needs given most OER are born digital.
Publishing Open Educational Resources (OER) presents fewer barriers to entry than the traditional textbook publishing industry. Utilizing OER will therefore be easier for you to include more diverse voices from marginalized communities in your course materials.
There are lots of ways to lower textbook costs for your course, from adopting Open Educational Resources, to transitioning to ebooks, to embedding course materials in Canvas. Not sure where to start? Check out some of these cost-reduction ideas and our tips for how to implement them! And don't forget, librarians are always here to help!
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Finding free or low-cost course materials may seem like a daunting task... but don't worry, we've got you covered! We've compiled an Open Educational Resources Guide to help you navigate OER repositories and find materials that are both high-quality and low-cost.
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Although it may not seem like much, reporting textbook costs for your course can make a big difference by helping students make informed decisions and budget appropriately as they select their classes. Moreover, if additional expenses for your course are $50 or less, your course will be highlighted as low-cost in Class Search, which may help boost your enrollment numbers.
Although prioritizing affordable course materials is ultimately up to your instructors, there are still ways for you to get involved and benefit from the AL$ initiative as a student!
Did you know that you can filter by classes that are low-cost and zero-cost in Class Search? Or that the Campus Store has a price matching program? Check out our tips to help you minimize expenses!
If you're having trouble accessing course materials for a particular class, fill out this quick, anonymous form to encourage your instructor to add required textbooks to the library's course reserves.
From getting involved in student government to participating in Twitter campaigns, there are lots of ways to advocate for affordable textbooks! Check out this page for a few advocacy ideas.
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