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Affordable Course Materials

Research is conclusive that students with financial needs sometimes forego purchasing required course materials even though they know it will impact their grades (Student PIRGs. (2021). Fixing the Broken Textbook Market, 3rd ed).

In partnership with the Office of Information Technology and the Office of Instructional Innovation, the Libraries support efforts to reduce the costs of course materials for our students. Librarians, instructional designers, and technology experts offer a variety of strategies in support of instructors’ needs for course materials that both meet their learning objects and are affordable for students.

We are happy to partner with you to discover and create low- and no-cost course materials for your students. Use these strategies to make your course materials as affordable as possible and contact your subject or regional campus librarian to get started.

Put your complete textbook information in the University’s Textbook database early.
  • The earlier they know, the better chance students have of getting a used, library, or discounted copy.
  • Many textbook sellers base their prices on demand, so they rise as the semester begins.
Place a physical copy of the textbook on course reserve in any of our libraries.
  • This can be your copy or a library copy (if we own it).
  • We also have other items that students need outside of class, like bone models, microscopes and slides, DVDs, music CDs, and more.
Let students know which older editions they can use.
  • Let students know in your syllabus how to navigate assigned readings using older editions that still meet your learning goals (e.g. use chapter headings if page numbers are different).
If using portions of books, we can scan those and make them electronically available.
  • Choose the Libraries’ course reserve system or Blackboard to host the scans.
Link to the Libraries’ electronic articles, newspapers, books, and movies.
Choose a book that is available electronically from the Libraries.
  • Ask your librarian about limits on simultaneous logins to our e-books.
Choose a digital textbook that is available through OIT’s Digital Course Materials program.
  • Participating publishers, including McGraw Hill, Pearson, Wiley, Sage, Cengage, Macmillan, and W.W. Norton, offer deep discounts on retail prices.
  • Students make their opt-in or opt-out choice and access their course content from your course in Blackboard.
Adopt an Open Educational Resource (OER) or open textbook.
  • High-quality OERs are increasingly available.
  • OERs are free to readers and allow you to customize the content to suite your course needs.
  • Ask your librarian for help.
Adapt an existing open textbook or OER to your needs or create your own!