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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.

Your AL$/OER Librarian

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Katherine "Kitty" Luce

Using OER? Add a blurb 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.

AL$ Call for Applications Fall 2022

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

Applications Due November 18, 2022
Search Party to Locate OER November 17, 2022

About the AL$ Program

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

What Will You Do

  • Identify free or lower-cost course materials 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 by January 31, 2023.
  • When your showcase is final, you can be paid.


  • Course sections taught in Fall 2022 and Spring 2023 are eligible.
  • Eligible course materials include any required assigned materials, such as textbooks and courseware. Projects that include some or all openly-licensed materials will receive priority consideration.

How to Apply

  • Submit an application by the end of the day Nov. 18, 2022. You must complete a separate application for each course.
  • Join us Nov. 17, from 4-6 pm in the Faculty Lounge to look for free course materials, submit your application, and eat pizza! Register here.

Project Types

AL$ Conversion 1: Change course materials to save 75-100%: $1,000 1st section, $500/section up to 3 total.

AL$ Conversion 2: Change course materials to save 30%-75%: $500 first section, $250/section up to 3 total.

Zero-cost from the get-go: Course has always had free materials. Identify the standard text or most likely textbook for this course, submit a showcase in MERLOT and conduct a student textbook survey: $500/section up to 3 total.

For further information

Kitty Luce,, or Laurie Borchard,

Apply here!

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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 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.

AL$ Presentations

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.

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