Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are affordable learning solutions (AL$)?
    • Affordable learning solutions refers to the large array of course learning materials that are lower cost or no cost as compared to more costly commercial options.
  • Does AL$ only include OERs?
    • No. AL$ include both low cost and no cost course materials for students. This may include renting course textbooks, using digital versions of course materials, or utilizing OER as no cost options.
  • Is AL$ for faculty or students?
    • CSU's Affordable Learning Solutions initiative supports both faculty and students. It enables faculty to choose and provide more affordable, quality educational content for their students. Now CSU faculty and students have greater access to quality free and lower cost learning materials through a variety of AL$ programs and partnerships.
  • How can I qualify for AL$ funding?
    • Each CSU campus AL$ program is designed to meet the needs of individual campuses. To learn more about the AL$ funding requirements for your campus, find your campus AL$ coordinator here.
  • Do I need to author my own OER to participate in AL$?
    • No. The CSU AL$ program actually encourages discovery and adoption of existing AL$ materials, not the creation of new learning resources. Our goal is to support as many students as possible in saving on the cost of their education by utilizing the large array of low and no cost resources readily available.
  • How can I find out if my campus is a participating AL$ institution
  • Since there are incentives in the programs for faculty to choose less expensive materials, what is in place to avoid rewarding those who simply choose based on price, not on quality or outcomes?
    • Just choosing cheaper or free materials does not necessarily maintain or improve learning outcomes and may even have a negative impact if they are not quality or cutting edge. Faculty spend years, including entire sabbaticals, researching and creating quality course materials that are subject to exhaustive peer-review by major publishers, professional verification of sources, and expert editing. For this, very minimal royalties are earned.
  • It has been somewhat easy to refer students with disabilities to the campus office for help with providing accommodating versions of my adoptions. With digital and course-based, am I now responsible to vet everything?
    • No. Your campus office for students with disabilities can still assist you with assessing the accessibility of an AL$ resource you are considering adopting.
  • I will need to change my syllabus and curriculum if I change from my traditional materials to AL$.  What advantages balance out that effort?
    • Great question! It is true that changing the learning materials for a course takes effort and time. We believe the benefits far outweigh this investment. Benefits to adopting AL$ include:
      • Increased student engagement and satisfaction
      • The ability to innovate and customize your course curriculum with ease to best meet your teaching needs and your students’ learning needs
      • Ensures students have course materials on the first day of class
      • Increase student course retention and enrollment
  • ARTICULATION.  Will courses using OER in the CA Community Colleges transfer to the CSU?
    • The articulation statement from the CSU and UC (2017) is as follows:
      • It is fine to use assembled materials or Open Educational Resources, so long as they’re stable and publicly available as published textbooks (and not a list of links). 
      • All CSU and UC campus departments consider the content of textbooks when reviewing articulation proposals from the CCCs. The use of online texts is reviewed by campuses on a case-by-case basis for articulation with CCCs.
      • There are multiple CCC courses that use online texts that are approved for CSU- and UC-transferability, and for articulation with CSU and UC campuses.
      • Some CSU and UC campus departments use online texts themselves.
        • Nancy Purcille, Transfer Articulation Coordinator, University of California, Office of the President
        • Alison M. Wrynn, Ph.D., State University Associate Dean, Academic Programs, California State University, Office of the Chancellor