CSU AL$ Strategy

Image illustrating parts of the AL$ strategy: Leveraging Content Providers, Creating Capabilities, Developing Demand, Enabling Ecosystems.

Leveraging Content Providers

In order to build a capacity of system-wide infrastructure services, we have created a one-stop shop on the AL$ website by providing links to free course materials, free and rent digital textbooks, library options, custom publishing opportunities for faculty, accessibility information on our vendor/partners, a campus showcase, and resources supporting the deployment an AL$ initiative on the CSU campuses.

We continue to leverage the scale and size of the CSU to enable beneficial partnership opportunities with publishers, other content providers and CSU campus bookstores.

Creating Capabilities

In 2012 we began negotiating vendor/partner agreements and launched the Rent Digital Program and we enlisted campus bookstores to promote the Rent Digital partnerships.

  • They notified faculty of availability of Rent Digital titles already adopted by faculty
  • We provided CSU banners, shelf tags, and artwork for posters for the bookstore.
  • Our Communication plan included informing faculty via
    • Webinars, on-site presentations, AL$ web page tools, Faculty recognition events, emails and flyers

As a result:

  • Faculty have a wide choice of titles and students can choose a digital rental for a significant percentage off textbook prices.
  • CSU and vendor/partners are collaborating to raise awareness and competencies in using digital textbooks
  • Vendor/partners provide the CSU a roadmap for improving the accessibility of their eReaders
  • Increases in digital use has meant that more students have access to their course materials!

Student feedback includes:

  • Appreciating the option to purchase their course materials at lower costs
  • Learning more from interactive tests and materials found in the digital content.
  • Choosing Rent Digital overused and print titles because the upfront costs are lower and there is no risk of theft, loss, or the burden of returning the books at the end of the term.

At the System level we are also providing access to:

  • Open Educational Resources:  Through ALS site, find over 1,000,000 FREE online instructional materials, including over 5,000 FREE online textbooks in MERLOT.org including COOL4Ed.org
  • CSU Library Resources:  Our electronic library collections provide students FREE access to extensive resources
  • Faculty Customized and Authored Materials can be options to publish and distribute custom content in a variety of ways
  • Lower Cost Publisher Content in both electronic and hardcopy formats.

Developing Demand

Regarding the adoption of AL$ resources, the real value of creating capabilities and leveraging content providers is realized when campuses deploy these services within the context of their campus initiatives.

The campus initiatives are multi-faceted.

  • Communication WITH and BY stakeholders such as the President, Provosts, Academic Senate chairs, Faculty Development Directors, library staff, financial officers, Bookstore managers, Center for students with disabilities, and student governments encompass the recommended stakeholders to include in this initiative.
  • Through professional development workshops, we are attempting to create the human capabilities to be successful with OER (open education resources) and create digital media confidence.
  • We know that in reviewing and adopting low cost materials requires time and energy, so we have encouraged the initiative to align with the campus priorities and encourage these activities to be recognized in the faculty tenure/promotion portfolio.
  • With the growing collection of eBooks that can be used as course materials, we have found that both Students and Faculty need support learning to use eReader tools.
  • The AL$ initiative facilitates a two day workshop where we invite campus stakeholders such as faculty, librarians, bookstore managers, academic technology groups, faculty professional development directors to learn more about the details of the AL$ initiative in the CSU, showcase campus AL$ activities, introduce the campuses to new partnerships and opportunities for the continually changing AL$ ecosystem.
  • We incentivize the campuses with small grants to work collaboratively with their faculty and stakeholders develop awareness, discovery, and adoption strategies for low or no cost materials’ implementation.
  • Examples of current campus activities are showcased on our website.  They can be inspiring examples of the AL$ initiative demonstrating the growth and adoption of affordable learning solutions within their campuses.

Enabling Ecosystems

Within the AL$ ecosystem, we have found that:

  • Incorporating buy-in from “Top to the bottom” within the organization is most important because connecting “silos” is for the students’ benefits.
  • Creating and maintaining relationships with vendor Partnerships is key to providing opportune business deals for affordable solutions.
  • Paying attention to and working within policies such as intellectual property, copyright, “textbook” adoption, HEOA implementation, and accessibility will represent the institutions’ values and provide “good guidance”.
  • Last but not least, responding to legislator’s intent and actions affects the affordable ecosystem, too.

Affordable Learning Solution’s Strategy Drivers are:

  • Access to higher education dependent on a “Total Cost of Education“
  • Cost transparency that requires changes in campus business practices
  • Timely delivery of accessible content to students with disabilities
  • Student and faculty demands for digital services and products
  • Meeting and improving upon student learning outcomes for accreditation
  • One more aspect of the AL$ ecosystem is our partnerships with the higher education organizations including the University of Georgia system, the Tennessee Board of Regents, the Oklahoma Board of Regents, the State University of New York system, and the Louisiana Board of Regents.

Future Focus:

  • Grow exemplary practices faculty showcases
  • Focus on mobile and work with students
  • Aggregate digital offerings and savings
  • Explore adaptive learning options and possible discounts
  • Continue to develop a repository of open education materials