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Affordable Learning $olutions

The official website of the CSUN AL$ initiative.

Report Textbook Costs

 

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. Per SB1359, CSUN is required 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.” CSUN uses four designations for courses with $0 required costs, under $50 required costs, $50-$150 required costs, and Over $150 required costs.

Update: The designations for $50-$150 required costs and Over $150 required costs will not be implemented until 2021 Spring. Please check back for updates. Please still make sure you report textbook selection to your department, Campus Store, or AL$ so that students have adequate time to acquire course materials.

Textbook Cost Reporting Form

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is reporting textbook costs so important?
  • To comply with legislation: CSUN is required to highlight courses with zero cost in Class Search per SB1359. By filling out this form, you are in compliance and you don’t need to send a separate email to the Campus Store about ZCCM. 
  • To support student success: by filling out this form, you are providing transparent textbook information (zero cost, low cost, mid cost, high cost) to students when they select classes and plan ahead of time to purchase course materials for your class.
  • To ensure the most appropriate designation: perhaps you want to offer your course textbook through the Campus Store for convenience, but you have another source that can provide all of your students a lower-cost alternative. If your source is not a limited supply, you can report this cost and it will be used for the icon designation for your course, rather than the Campus Store cost. 
How are textbook costs shown in Class Search?

Per SB1359, CSUN is required 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.” CSUN uses four designations for courses with $0 required costs, under $50 required costs, $50-$150 required costs, and Over $150 required costs. 

Included in the cost caps are: textbooks and other text-based materials, workbooks, lab manuals, online homework platforms and codes or publisher-provided curricular materials for students.

Excluded from the cost caps are: standard school supplies (pens, notebooks, paper, scantrons, green books, etc), standard calculators, and class fees.

See below for a screenshot of how textbook icons look like now in Class Search for students to identify classes with low cost or zero cost course materials. The NEW icons for four textbook icons will be announced soon:A screenshot of Class Search with highlighted textbook icons

Do these designators infringe on the academic freedom that faculty instructors have in order to choose what materials they use in the classroom?

No. These designators are a means of providing awareness and transparency about course costs to students. AL$ hopes that this increased visibility will positively influence negotiations between instructors and publishers, and lead some faculty to become more aware of no-cost and low-cost options, such as OER. Faculty should continue to work in coordination with their departments to select the materials that best work for them and their students, weighing into consideration that the fraction of students purchasing a given textbook is negatively correlated with the cost. 

What if I don’t fill out the textbook report form?

The cost designation for your course will be determined by the cost of your new course materials sold through the bookstore, and the corresponding icon will appear in Class Search.

Where did these categories come from?

‚ÄčThe zero-cost designation stems from SB1359, and the under-$50 low-cost designation from practices in other institutions and data on current textbook pricing from reserves at the Oviatt Library and Campus Store. The cost ranges for the other categories, proposed by the Academic Technology Committee in collaboration with AL$, are based on surveys of student perception of textbook costs, as well as data on current Campus Store textbook pricing.

What if my course is assigned after the due date?

Please fill out the form as soon as you can. 

What if materials are less expensive on Amazon, etc.?

To calculate your text-related costs for these designations, use the cost of materials in the CSUN Campus Store. While materials may be less expensive elsewhere, those prices can often vary and can have limited quantities that are not always guaranteed to be available to all students. Contact Robert Munck or Keila Reyes, textbook managers, for help with bookstore pricing.

What if my textbook is available as an e-book through the Oviatt?

If your required text is available as a free-to-students e-book through the Oviatt Library, as long as you don’t require the printed text in your class, your course can qualify for the $0 cost designation. However, in this case, the text should not be listed as “required” through the bookstore’s site, because students may assume they must purchase it. Consider listing the text as “optional” on the bookstore’s site and messaging students about their choices before the term begins.

What if I don’t require any texts or other purchased  materials for my class?

Your course qualifies for the $0 designation if no purchased materials or texts are required. For the purposes of these cost designations, it doesn’t matter if you are using instructor-created materials, activities, slides, websites, library materials, etc. Apply the question: does my course have any costs? If the answer is no, the course meets the $0 designation. If the answer is yes, but $50 or less, the course meets the low-cost designation.

What happens after I fill out the textbook report form?
  • In Class Search, your course will be associated with an icon corresponding to the cost category you have selected.

  • If you choose over $50 for the question on the total cost of your required course materials, we might be able to purchase a copy of your textbook to put on Reserve for your students.

  • If you indicate an interest in knowing more about any of the topics on course materials, we will contact you to provide more info.

What if I want to change my course designation since the cost changes?
Please fill out the form again or email Robert Munck at 0150txt@follett.com. 
What if I am unsure about the cost of my materials or have other questions?

‚ÄčConsult Robert Munck or Keila Reyes, textbook managers, for guidance. For questions about AL$, please contact the AL$ team.

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