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Affordable Learning/Open Educational Resources  

Last Updated: Aug 19, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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CSU Affordable Learning Solutions and Chico's CALS campaign

In 2010, the California State University Chancellor’s Office launched the CSU’s Affordable Learning Solutions (AL$) campaign “to enable faculty to choose and provide quality educational content that is more affordable for their students." The CSU's AL$ website provides some very helpful tools to assist faculty in finding Open Textbooks, Open Course materials, and more.

In the spring of 2012, Chico State launched its own campaign, calling it Chico Affordable Learning Solutions or CALS for short. Our first project was a workshop in March of 2012 (see below). More recently we launched a new local website for CALS at this address: and a project, the Textbook Alternatives Project or TAP, to address the problem of high cost textbooks faced by all of our students.

Later in 2012, in the fall, the Meriam Library awarded 8 grants of $600 each (or an iPad) to CSU faculty for their TAP proposed projects to find affordable alternatives to traditional print textbooks. The grant projects were completed in the fall semester of 2013 and were a resounding success.

Seven of the eight projects found or created new, more affordable alternatives to their old textbooks, resulting in an estimated total savings of over $43,600 in just one semester for our students here at CSU, Chico. In March, 2014, the success of TAP's first grant projects was recognized in a news announcement from the CSU's Public Affairs Office:


News and Announcements

As noted above, our most recent ALS project, the Textbook Alternatives Project or TAP,  completed its first major project in the fall of 2013, with the completion of eight grant projects, and was a resounding success.

Seven of the eight projects found or created new (two wrote new textbooks), more affordable alternatives to their old textbooks, resulting in an estimated total savings of over $43,600 for just one semester, for our students.

The eight  CSU, Chico faculty who were awarded grants are: Leslie Atkins, Eric Ayars, Laurie Browne, Maria DeCastro, David Kagan, Jim Mensching, Susan Roll, and Steve Stewart.

More recently, on April 1, 2014, the CSU’s Affordable Learning Solutions (AL$) program awarded CSU, Chico’s local Affordable Learning program (CALS) a grant for $19,750 to expand and further develop the current CALS program. Applications for the grants will be available starting in early Fall 2014

For those unfamiliar with the Textbook Alternatives Program, TAP's primary goal is to encourage faculty to replace their high cost commercial textbooks for free or lower cost alternatives, such as OERs, library resources, digital textbooks, or self-authored content, while also maintaining or improving the quality of student learning. For more information about  TAP and details about the eight grant projects, see the TAP homepage at


Past Projects

At a workshop held in the library on March 9, 2012, Linda Riggins from the AS Bookstore, Marc Langston and James Tyler from the Meriam Library, and Laura Sederberg from the Technology and Learning Program (TLP) offered faculty alternative solutions to over-priced textbooks. A video recording of the presentation, Alternatives to Expensive Textbooks, is now available on YouTube.The  TLP Blog article on CALS individually links you to the individual segments you may like to watch from this presentation, pointing you to them on Chico’s TLP YouTube channel.


About OER

What are Open Educational Resources (OER)?

"OER are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use or re-purposing by others. Open educational resources include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge." Atkins, Brown, & Hammond (2007)

What's new about OER?

OER are much more than just learning materials. As you can see in the definition above, they also now include open software tools (such as Moodle and Kaltura), and intellectual property tools (such as Creative Commons licenses). The benefits of using Public Domain materials, or having an explicit copyright license attached to a free learning resource is especially helpful for educators, as it removes the legal uncertainty and the costs and/or effort of getting copyright clearance for resources that you may want to use. In addition, it can make it easier to find free and open materials for your courses. For example, many search engines now have plug-ins that limit results to materials with open use Creative Commons licenses.

For more on OER, see the Wikiedicator website.



Suggested Readings

Atkins, Daniel E., John Seely Brown, and Alan L.Hammond. A Review of the Open Educational Resources (OER) Movement. February, 2007. Accessed 24 Sept. 2008. <>


CALS Coordinator and Manager of TLP

Laura Sederberg
(530) 898-4326



CSU Chico, Subject Librarians

Librarians are available to assist you find and  use library materials and OER.
Find your librarian on this web page:

meriam library | csu, chico


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