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Affordable Learning Solutions

Use this guide for information to develop materials in response to the Affordable Learning Solutions Campaign

AL$/OER Faculty Learning Community Presentations, March 2018

More Affordable Learning Strategies

Dr. Ian Littlewood

PHYS 3080, PHYS 3550, PHYS 4900and PHYS 3010

Dr. Littlewood creates class pages which list the online resources he expects students to use and provides extensive online notes for the students. Most importantly, he allows students to use older editions of the course text. Says Dr. Littlewood, "Using an earlier edition of a textbook rarely poses a problem, as the differences  between editions are usually small. Using online resources can actually improve learning, as the students become adept at searching out and evaluating material (GE goal 4)."

Dr. Scott Russell

CHEM 1110 and 2010

For CHEM 2010, Dr. Russell switched to a less expensive text. Students can purchase the previous edition, since the older edition does not differ significantly from the most recent one, sometime saving as much as $150. CHEM 1110 students use an online homework systems created by Dr. Russell in Blackboard  instead of a $50 commercially available homework system. His system utilizes free online videos to review concepts and strategies that help students review material they will need to know for their final exam.

Dr. Elvin Aleman

Physical Chemistry

Dr. Aleman used a chemistry text offering an online option for just $99, compared to the $297 print version. However, none of the students purchased the online book, preferring the print in spite of the cost.  In response to student preference and still seeking to find a way to reduce costs for students,  Dr. Aleman adopted a new print textbook priced new at just $73. The less expensive text efficiently explained concepts, providing excellent examples and exercises. Compared with previous years, students are more satisfied with the new book.

Dr. Paul O'Brien

SOCL 3820 and SOCL 3150

Students taking Dr. O'Brien's Sociology 3150 classes will appreciate his strategy of using the 16th edition of the textbook, Families in Transition, instead of the costlier newer editions. Sociology 3820 students may also purchase an older edition of The Sociology of Food and Nutrition. This can result in savings of $25-$35 for student.

Dr. Chris Nagal

PHIL 4401 and PHIL 4430

Dr. Nagal says it best:

"I was concerned about costs and quality of textbooks for Professional Ethics. I used an anthology of essays, and although there were excellent essays in the textbook, the text did not reflect changes in professional work over the years.  I built an anthology that met that requirement, by utilizing the university library’s electronic journals. The text is composed of articles that enrolled students have access to through the library. They pay nothing additional, and I can modify the course text on an ongoing basis to keep up to date and to respond to student needs. I did the same thing for Bioethics, focusing the text on medical ethics issues of primary concern to the nursing students who were the predominant student population. Students use mobile computing devices, laptops, or print the articles out to use them in class discussion. It’s well-received because of the cost, but also because students can have access to the text wherever they have Internet access. Students use the electronic text a variety of ways. For example, a few copy and paste article text into their class notes, so as to have a commentary or gloss on the text for studying. Students also copy and paste article text into email messages to ask about interpreting those passages."

Mark Perry, MPA, MA

CJ 2250

Students have several $$ saving options made available by Mr. Perry. Extra copies of the text are placed on reserve in the University Library and a few copies are made available during class time for students to share. Previous, less expensive editions of the required text are acceptable for class use, for a savings of $50-$70 per text. Class material is also posted on the class Blackboard page to assist in learning and study.

Dr. Vickie Harvey

COMM 3100

Students in Dr. Harvey's class expressed concern about the cost and quality of the selected text for this class. In response, a less expensive text with a stronger academic foundation was selected. This switch reduced the cost of the text book in this class from $119 to $77.

Dr. Cathlin Davis

LIBS 3000

Previously, this class used an anthology of readings priced at $40. While this is not extraordinarily expensive, Dr. Davis and her colleagues found that all but one of the readings was available through the databases in the library. The students now access these articles for free, without having to buy a book at all!

Dr. Davis lists three advantages (besides cost) to utilizing the databases for reading material:

1. Students get very good at using the databases
2. Students no longer think the readings are all by one author
3. Readings can be changed and updated with very little effort
4. Students don't have to print anything, as they can read all the materials online

Dr. Greg Morris

Criminal Justice, CJ 2255, CJ 3170, CJ 5201

For each of these methods course, Dr. Morris utilizes older editions of the primary course text for which the current edition costs about $200. Older editions can be found for as little as $14.00.

CJ 3120 Causes of Crime

Again, the use of previous editions of the course text saves students a substantial amount of $$.

CJ 5200 Advanced Statistics in Criminal Justice

Students enrolled in this course are able to utilize material available in the Social Science Research and Instruction Center,made available to CSU students, faculty and staff through an institutional license.

In addition to the cost saving strategies above, Dr. Morris buys used copies of his required texts and loans them to students on an as needed basis. He reports that students always return the books!

Dr. Chad Stessman

CHEM 3090 Chemistry in the Elementary School Classroom

Realizing that his students often tried to get through his class without buying the expensive required textbook, Dr. Stessman has switched to using an e-textbook published online by Flat World Knowledge. Students can purchase the text in whatever format works best for them, from an inexpensive e-text ($39.00), a black and white printed version ($59.00) or a printed full color version ($139.00).

The most current edition of the previously required text cost $186.00, so the new text saves students a considerable amount of money.

Dr. Nhy Y Stessman

Organic Chemistry I and Organic Chemistry II

The cost of textbooks in the sciences has skyrocketed in recent years. To combat the trend, a new text was adopted which allows students to purchase the text in a hardcover edition (most expensive), a loose leaf format ($100 less expensive), or as an e-text (savings of over $150). In addition, students can buy older versions of the required text which are available for a reduced cost.

As an aside, students report that they generally like the newly adopted textbook much better!

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