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22st Annual OLC International Conference
November 16-18, 2016 | Orlando, Florida | Walt Disney World Swan/Dolphin Resort

OLC Innovate 2016 - Innovations in Blended and Online Learning
April 20-22, 2016 | New Orleans, LA | Sheraton New Orleans Hotel

Cal State University's Affordable Learning Solutions Initiative: Scaling Impacts

Gerry Hanley (California State University, USA)
Session Information
April 9, 2013 - 10:30am
Open and Accessible Learning
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Applied Use (technology or pedagogy)
Institutional Level: 
Audience Level: 
Session Type: 
Interactive Workshop
Melrose 3
Session Duration: 
90 Minutes
Workshop Session 2
MERLOT Session

The CSU has implemented a systemwide program to significantly reduce the cost of course materials for students and provide faculty greater choices

Extended Abstract

The Costs and Consequences for CSU Students: Between 1986 and 2004, textbook prices rose 186 percent in the United States, or slightly more than six percent per year (GAO, 2005). The 2008 California Bureau of State Auditor Report indicates that CSU students paid $812 per year for textbooks, a significant percentage of students' total cost for their education. Applying the historic textbook inflation trend of 6.1 percent annually means full time CSU students are now paying approximately $1,000 per year for textbooks. Collectively, CSU students are spending well over $300 million for textbooks. In a 2011 national Student PIRG survey of 1,905 students at 13 college campuses, seven of 10 students report not buying at least one of their required textbooks because it was too expensive. Seventy-nine percent of all students in this survey stated they would do "worse/much worse" in a class without their own textbook. The affordability of course materials is a significant barrier for student success. Strategies for improving the affordable choices of course materials for CSU students have become an important part of a number of campus Graduation Initiative programs. When the total cost of education is more affordable, students graduate in less time, providing greater access to a CSU education to more of our citizens.

Federal Requirements Shaping the CSU's Strategy: The textbook provision of the 2010 Higher Education Opportunities Act requires campuses to provide students registering for their courses easy access to the cost and description of the associated course materials. All CSU campuses comply with this new federal regulation, which aids students in planning for the total cost of their education.

Scalable Capabilities Tested and Being Deployed: The CSU is scaling its capacity and readiness to adopt affordable learning solutions and campuses are implementing these solutions in a sustainable manner. The 2008 California Bureau of State Auditor Report on textbook affordability has recognized CSU's leadership and innovations in providing students with quality course materials at more affordable prices. The CSU has demonstrated significant cost savings for students in five ways:
1.Use print rentals and used books, which can produce 35% to 55% savings over new textbook costs.
2.Use digital rentals for textbooks which can produce 60% savings over new textbook costs.
3.Use of CSU's library resources for course materials which are free to students.
4.Use of Open Educational Resources for course materials which are free to students.
5.Use lower cost digital course materials that are authored with CSU faculty in partnership with publishers which can produce about 80% savings over new textbook costs

The workshop will showcase the different deployment strategies used by CSU campuses and will review the savings delivered to students. Workshop participants will develop their own draft plan for designing and implementing their own Affordable Learning Solutions Initiative, applying the lessons learned from the CSU and customizing the lessons to meet their own institutional culture and needs.

Lessons Learned for Affordable Learning Solutions Initiative within the CSU:
1.Collaborate with California State Student Association, the Chancellor's Office public affairs office and CSU stakeholder communities to deploy a systemwide marketing campaign for the Affordable Learning Solutions Initiative.
2.Scale and sustain campus affordable learning campaigns to accelerate the adoption and effective use of more affordable course materials. Continue to share exemplary practices and facilitate the adoption of such practices.
3.Further develop CSU-business partnerships that result in high-quality, more accessible and more affordable content for our institution and our students. The Digital Rental Program has produced savings in fall 2012 and we're scaling up for spring 2013.
4.Leverage the recent California Legislation for the CSU, in collaboration with the California Community Colleges and the University of California, to lead the development of the California Open Source Digital Library for delivering OER for 50 strategic courses across our 3 systems.
5.Further streamline the technologies that result in more convenient and cost-effective delivery of quality and accessible digital content. Integration of affordable content into LMS's is key.
6.Develop accountability strategies and tools that will enable CSU campuses to measure the student cost savings produced by affordable learning initiatives.

Lead Presenter
Gerry Hanley Gerard L. Hanley, Ph.D. is the Executive Director of MERLOT (Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching) and Senior Director for Academic Technology Services for the California State University, Office of the Chancellor. At MERLOT, he directs the development and sustainability of MERLOT’s innovative open education resources, services and consortium of higher education institutions, professional societies, corporations, and other digital libraries. At the CSU, Gerry oversees the development and implementation of systemwide academic technologies, digital library systems and resources, and accessible technology initiatives supporting CSU’s 23 campuses serving over 400,000 students. Previously held positions in the CSU include Professor of Psychology, Director of Faculty Development and Director of Strategic Planning.