Center for Teaching, Learning & Technology

Affordable Learning Solutions Faculty Recognitions and Showcases

Open Resource PathwaysThe CSU's Affordable Learning Solutions ("AL$") and AB 798 programs are both supported by the Chancellor's Office grant initiatives and both function to reduce student cost for course materials. This initiative is designed to help make college more affordable by expanding faculty adoption of high-quality free or low-cost open education resources (OER) in place of commercial textbooks. The initiative  contributes to Cal Poly's efforts to improve graduation rates as well as to make the campus more inclusive by reducing the cost of earning a Cal Poly degree. 

Also see: CTLT: Open Educational Resources and Kennedy Library: Affordable Course Materials.

Affordable Learning Solutions ("AL$") Faculty Recognition (Virtual Ceremony)

Academic year 2020-21

Faculty curators, creators, and adopters of open educational resource ("OER") and/or zero cost course materials for AY2020-21 are recognized below for their accomplishments in AY2020-21. These faculty helped make Cal Poly a more inclusive, more diverse, and more academically engaging campus by reducing the cost of earning a Cal Poly degree. Because of these specific faculty OER adoptors and creators, their 250 total students are saving approximately $25,610 compared to the cost of commercial texts.

Please enjoy the video below to meet the faculty and learn a bit about their projects and accomplishments:

Affordable Learning Solutions ("AL$") Department OER Recognition Awards *new*

Academic year 2020-21

Three departments have earned recognition for helping Cal Poly become a more inclusive and equitable campus for students through faculty adoption of low- or no-cost open educational resources (OER). These newly established departmental awards are part of the CTLT’s program to recognize faculty adoptions of OER as an important way to reduce students' costs to earn their degree. The awards are supported by grants through the CSU Chancellor’s Office. Collectively, faculty in these three departments who adopted OER saved students a total of $178,000 in AY2020-21.

Departmental Achievement Award: Communication Studies

Communication Studies earned the top award for reporting the highest number of course sections in the academic year using an open-source textbook and/or qualified to be designated “zero-cost course material” (ZCCM) course. Instructors of 46 sections used OER or ZCCM, which benefited 1,166 students. The Communication Studies Department has received a $4,000 award and a framed certificate to post in their department office.

Departmental Honorable Mention Award: Graphic Communication

Graphic Communication won an Honorable Mention Award for utilizing Kennedy Library’s free E-texts in 31 sections for student zero course materials savings. The Graphic Communication Department has received a $2,000 award and a framed certificate to post in their department office.

Departmental Outstanding Efforts Award: BioResource and Agricultural Engineering

BioResource and Agricultural Engineering won an Outstanding Efforts Award for composing an original textbook and implementing it free in all 15 sections of BRAE 340: Irrigation Water Management. The BioResource and Agricultural Engineering Department has received a $1,000 award and a framed certificate to post in their department office.

Affordable Learning Solutions ("AL$") Faculty Showcase of OER Projects

Academic year 2020-21

Faculty who participate in the CSU's open educational resource programs are asked to share with colleagues on their home campus and around the CSU details of their projects. The purpose is to inspire similar projects and to offer to share OER resources with faculty who teach similar courses at other campuses.

The most common method is to post on the MERLOT website, which is an extensive archive of faculty-contributed educational resources that are available for free and open to browse and borrow. Below are three entries by two Cal Poly faculty in MERLOT's "CSU Instructor Open Textbook Adoption Portrait" pages.

Dr. Sara Lopus 

  • COURSE: Sociology of the Environment (SOC 308)

    Description: The complex interactions between society and environment. Environmental movements, food security, population growth. Local and global inequities regarding consumption, toxins, sea level rise, and “natural” disasters. Emphasis on environmental justice: race, class, and gender.

    All course textbooks are library E-texts at zero cost for the students.

    For details see: "CSU Instructor Open Textbook Adoption Portrait" -- Sara Lopus: SOC 308

  • COURSE: Migration (SOC 321)

    Description: Migration is a long-standing human behavior. Despite its ancient roots, migration’s societal impacts feel fresh and pressing, eliciting emotional responses and vitriolic debate. We will critically examine migration and its impacts. Why do people migrate?

    All course textbooks are library E-texts at zero cost for the students.

    For details see: "CSU Instructor Open Textbook Adoption Portrait" -- Sara Lopus: SOC 321

Dr. Terry Lease 

  • COURSE: Wine Marketing (WVIT 343)

    Description: The objective of the course is to provide students with the skills to develop a marketing plan for a branded wine marketing product. Students will determine the impact of new brands, new products and varietals, government sales regulations, distribution systems, and the changing consumer on new and existing wine brands.

    All texts are OER at zero cost for the students. 

    For details see: "CSU Instructor Open Textbook Adoption Portrait" -- Terry Lease: WVIT 343

Below is an alternative method of sharing OER project details. It is an interview with Cal Poly's  Am Sagarwala, an OER Ambassador and OER author. In this video "Adopting and Creating OER for Web Design and Production," he comments on the professional benefits of embracing open education resources as a professor. His comments on the use of OER in his course are indicative of most OER adopters.


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