Affordable Instruction (and Learning)

SF State is part of the CSU Affordable Learning Solutions initiative started in 2010. SF State's Affordable Instructional Materials program aids faculty in replacing costly textbooks with lower cost alternatives by using high-quality open educational resources (OER), library resources, digital or customized textbooks, and/or faculty-authored materials.  Every dollar counts for many students. If students cannot afford the assigned class materials, they may try to learn without them. 

Figure representing Affordable Instructional Learning student survey results

The Affordable Instructional Materials committee conducted a survey to ask SF State students about their experience with the cost of course materials. For more information about how you can help lower the cost of course materials and increase student success visit our Getting Started with AIM or email: affordablesfsu@lists.sfsu.edu. Our infographic is also available in a non-graphic format.

Faculty Cost-saving Projects Receive Awards

The SF State Affordable Instructional Materials team has awarded five new faculty-proposed cost-saving projects with support in summer and Fall 2015. These projects are supported by funding from the CSU Chancellor’s Office to expand campus efforts to reduce the cost of learning for students, as part of the “Affordable Learning Solutions” initiative.

  1. Communication Studies department; Amy Kilgard lead faculty and COMM 150 coordinator – This project will use an open textbook to replace part of a commercial textbook used in the COMM 150 Fundamentals of Oral Communication course. This change will reduce the cost of the required instructional materials from $85 (new) to approximately $45 (new). The projected savings (for 55 classes, 30 students per class) is approximately $132,000 per year. 
  2. English faculty member Crystal Wong – This project will replace a required textbook, workbook, and printed materials ($100 per student) with freely available readings and handouts posted to the course iLearn site. The materials assigned for the four ENG 104 sections taught by this instructor in fall will also be used for up to four sections of ENG 105 taught by this instructor in spring. The projected savings (8 classes of 18-20 students each) is approximately $14,400 per year. 
  3. Economics faculty member Michael Bar - This project will replace the required materials ($65 for text, $125 for STATA software) for ECON 312 – Introduction to Econometrics with resources available free to students. The textbook is being replaced with a monograph being written by the instructor and which will be provided free to students in digital form. The commercial software (STATA) will be replaced with the free and open software “R”. Adopting a free and open software also contributes to saving the department from having to purchase and maintain STATA licenses in the Economics computer lab. The projected savings (2 classes of 29 students each (taught by this instructor)) is approximately $11,020 per year. 
  4. Economics faculty member Venoo Kakar - This project will replace the required materials ($220 for text, $368 for integrated text, EViews software and datasets) for ECON 825 – Applied Time Series Econometrics with resources available free to students. The required texts are being replaced with two open textbooks which will be provided free to students in digital form. The commercial software (EViews) will be replaced with the free and open software “R”. Adopting a free and open software also contributes to saving the department from having to purchase and maintain EViews licenses in the Economics computer lab. The projected savings (1 class of 18 students each) is approximately $10,224 per year. 
  5. Design and Industry faculty member Hsaio-Yun Chu – This project will reduce the cost of consumable instructional materials used in creative projects in DAI 360 – Model Development. Currently, students spend up to $120 in modeling supplies. The instructor will work local vendors to provide student discounts and will set up a “supply donation/swap” program to facilitate student sharing and repurposing resources at lower cost. The projected savings (1 class of 24 students offered once a year) is estimated to be about $750 per year.
Did you know that 66% of SF State student’s surveyed did not purchase one or more required textbooks for their classes because they were too expensive?
Almost half of those students felt that not purchasing the required textbook negatively impacted their learning.