Getting Started with Affordable Learning

Students and faculty can begin making affordable choices by following these quick and easy steps. When lower-cost materials are available and accessible, students may be more likely to acquire required instructional materials to support their learning.



How can you increase affordability (plus access, equity, flexibility, relevance & engagement) in your course?

Step 1 The first step is to define what type of material you are looking for (e.g. ebooks, articles, videos) and what content you want to deliver. Then cast a wide net by searching many different sites using a variety of keywords. We maintain a curated list of OER search sites to help you in this process.

Step 2 Consider whether a partial text is needed rather than an entire text. Many publishers will work with faculty or the bookstore to provide portions of a text. Contact the SF State Bookstore to discuss partial text adoptions or custom publishing.

Step 3 Search the library's free ebook list and offer ebook options for students when possible. Some ebooks allow limited or partial download for printing or saving as a PDF.

Step 4 Consider putting physical or digital materials on reserve for your students at the library.

Step 5 Search SF State's library databases by subject area to find articles that can be linked directly through iLearn. Rather than requiring the purchase of a printed reader, instructors may be able to provide all readings in digital format with the option to students of printing what they choose. Add library content to iLearn using My Bookshelf.

Step 6 Consider creating your own open educational resources and then sharing them. Email to find out how.

Step 7 If you are creating your own materials, use the Accessible Media Quick Converter to ensure they’re accessible by quickly converting your electronic files into popular accessible formats.

Step 8 If you have questions about copyright, these Library Guides can help you evaluate and understand fair use.


How can I search for more afforable instructional materials?

Step 1: Pay attention to the available options (used, e-text, rental, etc.) when purchasing through the SF State (or any other) bookstore. If a text is only needed for a portion of a class, you may be able to rent the text for a shorter time period.

Step 2: Check the SF State Library to see if your required materials are available on reserve or as free e-books.

Step 3: Let your instructor know if you find less expensive course materials. 

Step 4: Look for additional free or low cost materials to help you learn. Search MERLOTx to find free and accessible instructional materials for any topic.