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Affordable Learning Resources: Affordable Learning

Learn about affordable learning resources and open educational resources (OERs).

Affordable Learning & OER in the time of COVID-19

Affordability and ease of access are more important than ever right now.

The open education movement has been focused on cultivating flexible learning solutions and ease of access for years. If you haven’t yet, now is the time to take advantage:

By using an open (free) textbook, you can ensure that all your students have online access to course materials on day one.

  • Students are facing increased financial insecurity and may be more likely than ever to delay or avoid textbook purchases.
  • Shipping and supply chain delays could impact timely access even for students who do order course materials.

OER can offer ways to supplement your traditional class experience without adding to costs for your students.

  • If your class normally includes an in-person lab, you may find some online simulations to use instead.
  • OER are not just textbooks--there are presentations, videos, tutorials, homework sets, and many other kinds of supplemental material.

OER offer pedagogical flexibility and support student success.

  • Because you can modify and adapt them, OER are ideal for times when you want to focus on something that is either not covered in a textbook or where a fresh or more local example would be more fitting. You can even have students edit and add to course materials. 
  • Studies have shown that OER improve end-of-course grades and decrease DFW (D, F, and Withdrawal letter grades) rates for all students. They also improve course grades at greater rates and decrease DFW rates at greater rates for Pell recipient students, part-time students, and populations historically underserved by higher education. 

OER advocates have compiled instructor resources for moving online in a hurry:

Have questions? Contact us!

Gretchen Scronce's picture
Gretchen Scronce
Contact:
Addlestone Library, Room 101
843.953.5855

What Is Affordable Learning?

Affordable Learning Resources are quality, low- or no-cost educational resources that encourage student success while lowering student costs.  These resources include: 

  • library-licensed resources
  • Open Educational Resources (OER)
  • items freely available or in the public domain on the web

If you'd like help locating library-licensed or open content to use in a class, please contact your department's library liaison.

Open Educational Resources (OER)

Open Educational Resources are educational materials offered freely and openly for anyone to use.  Most licenses allow resources to be shared, remixed or customized for your class.  Open educational resources include textbooks, full courses, course materials, modules, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other resources used to support access to knowledge.  

The General OER Collections and OERs by Subject pages have links to resources where you can find OER materials for your classes.

Library Resources

Using materials available through CofC Libraries can save your students money. The library offers e-books, databases, and journals that can be easily linked to and freely accessed through OAKS using the Build Reading Lists tool

In particular, the library has access to thousands of ebooks through the Springer and Knowledge Unlatched platforms, and many of these are appropriate for use as course textbooks. These ebooks are free from digital rights management (DRM), so they never expire once downloaded, and our license allows for unlimited concurrent use, so your students can all access the book at once.

Other library ebooks can be used in your courses. Some have restrictions on concurrent use and may only be viewed by one or two users at a time. If you are interested in using a book with these restrictions, please contact the library. Our Collection Development department will work with you to see if those limits can be relaxed for your course.

Free Online Resources

Free Online Resources are resources that are available online but are not always open, so you may not be allowed to change or revise them to suit your needs. The Open Access Luminos collection from UC Press (below) is a good example. 

For those resources that do not fall under the public domain, it is best to use them by linking to the resource through OAKS and sending your students to the specific site and not re-posting the information.

Professors for Affordable Learning

Congratulations to the following CofC instructors who have been recognized as PALs!

Professor for Affordable Learning

Pat Dillon

Amanda Kraft

Brandon Lewter

Elena Rodriguez

Gretchen Scronce

Joey Van Arnhem

Are you already utilizing course resources that are entirely free for your students? If so, apply to be recognized through PASCAL's statewide program, Professors for Affordable Learning!