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OER and Affordable Learning Solutions (AL$)

Information on free and low-cost textbook and courseware options: what they are, how to find them, and programs to support their adoption.

AL$ Call for Applications Spring 2024

Convert Your Courses to Free or Low-Cost Materials with AL$!

Applications Due May 10, 2024
Recognition and Info Event April 23, 2024

About the AL$ Program

Affordable Learning Solutions (AL$) funding provides stipends to faculty to support the adoption of affordable, high quality educational content for their students. More information is available at the AL$ Guide

Changes you should know about

The Chancellor’s Office’s expectations of campus AL$ programs are evolving, so our program is evolving too. We are prioritizing affordable course adoptions that affect ALL sections of a given course, such as department-wide adoptions.  Our funds are limited and we may not be able to accept all applications that meet the criteria.

What you will do

  • Identify free or lower-cost course materials for one or more of your courses and teach with them.
  • Gather student feedback in the first semester teaching with the new materials.
  • Prepare and submit a course showcase to the CSU-wide AL$ staff and the campus coordinator by September 25, 2024.
  • When your showcase is final, you can be paid.


  • Convert required course materials (textbooks, courseware, supplies, etc.) to $0 or low-cost ($50 or under), or teach a course for the first time with such materials: $1,000 stipend per course.
  • Course sections taught in Spring and Fall 2024 are eligible.
  • Eligible course materials include any required assigned materials, such as textbooks and online materials.
  • Priority consideration will be given to
    • Applications to convert all sections of a course to free or lower-cost materials.
    • Conversions with largest total student savings potential.
    • Projects that include some or all openly-licensed materials.

How to Apply

  • Submit an application by the end of the day May 10, 2024 You must complete a separate application for each course.
  • Save the date for the annual AL$ Recognition Event for more info: April 23, 2024, 1130-1300, on the Quad.

For further information

Kitty Luce, kluce@csum.eduor Laurie Borchard,

Apply here!

Call for applications qr code Spring 2024

Using OER? Add a statement to your syllabus!

Here's an example for a brief statement to put in your course syllabus if you're using OER or other free materials, from Rajiv Jhangiani of Brock University.

Course Readings:

Here’s the thing: I don’t want you to spend $200 on a textbook if I can avoid it. And I can avoid it, because we will use a free and open textbook. It is available here in a variety of digital formats (entirely free for you to use or print as needed), but if you prefer you can also order a print copy. It is very important to me that higher education be affordable to any student who wishes to access it.

What to know while you're converting your course(s)

Once your proposal to convert your course sections to free or low-cost course materials is approved, it's a good idea to start gathering information early! To receive the stipend, you'll need to complete the guiding questions document below, describing your new course materials and how they affected your students, in order to create a course showcase on the MERLOT / COOL4Ed websites. Here are a few documents to guide you.


Cal Maritime AL$ Participants' Amazing Course Conversions

Zero-Cost and Low-Cost Course Materials in the Course Schedule

Course sections which don't cost students anything in course materials such as textbooks and online access codes can be given a "zero-cost course materials (ZCCM) attribute in the course schedule. Please contact your AL$ Coordinator if you have questions or your course should be listed.

Accessibility for AL$ Course Materials

Any materials used in CSU courses need to comply with Section 508, being accessible to all students with or without disabilities. If you have questions, review the resources at Cal Maritime's accessibility websitecheck with the Department of Academic Technology or Disability Services at Cal Maritime.

If you experience accessibility barriers using this website, please contact 707-654-1090 or . You will receive a reply within two business days. The library is committed to remediate accessibility barriers within this website and will provide accommodations until the barriers are remediated.