Faculty-driven Success Stories!

Weining Man & Joseph Barranco, Physics & Astronomy

General Physics, PHYS 220 & PHYS 230

Textbooks/Resources Used

We switched to a digital package of a new e-textbook which will come bundled together with access to WebAssign. The cost is $125 for all 3 semesters of the sequence. If students need to repeat a course, they do not have to pay again. This results in substantial savings.

Consider a student taking 2 out of the 3 courses in the sequence: old cost for textbook and WebAssign would be $280, new price would be $125, which is more than 55% reduction in cost. For a student who takes all 3 courses in the sequence, the savings would be over 70%.

Student Savings

Savings per student for this set of resources: minimum of $77.50
For an average enrollment of 978 students in one academic year, the overall savings to students is: 978 x (up to $77.50) = up to $75,795 per year

Zhaoshuo Jiang, Engineering

Mechanics of Solids, ENGR 309

Textbooks/Resources Used

According to the data we gathered, in Fall 2014 -2015, 15% of students received repeatable grades (i.e. C- D, F, W). The cost for the previous textbook was $262, which was a huge burden to the students. We received students’ inquiry from time to time asking whether there was a way to reduce the high cost of the textbook.

We developed and incorporated the majority of the necessary materials of the course into slides and handouts (digital form) which are disseminated to the students for use in this course. The non-transferable materials from the textbook will be available as a customized version of the textbook. Through this effort, at least 2/3 of the cost will expect to be reduced.

In addition, the digital materials are further utilized as supplemental materials to the virtual laboratory we developed for ENGR 309, as part of an innovative mobile learning platform to improve students' learning experience.

We intend to help students better understand the theory, digest the knowledge and connect the large number of concepts in this course through interactive mobile apps.

This effort is expected to help eliminate the repeatable grades receivers and increase the students’ persistence by engaging students and stimulating active learning.

Student Savings

Savings per student for this set of resources: minimum of $78.13
For an average enrollment of 175 students in one academic year, the overall savings to students is: 175 x (up to $78.13) = up to $13, 673

Bruce Heiman, International Business

Doing Business in Europe, IBUS 593

Textbooks/Resources Used

Eliminate text completely and create highly elaborated reader to replace both the textbook and the (highly outdated) reader. Move to materials available as open source (web-based) or (predominantly) SF State Library Article/Periodical Online Database. Zero-cost materials is the goal.

Student Savings

Savings per student for this set of resources: minimum $100
For an average enrollment of 100 students in one term, the overall savings to students per term is: 100 x (up to $100) = up to $10,000 per year

Cheng Chen, Engineering

Structural Analysis, ENGR 323

Textbooks/Resources Used

We switched to a custom e-textbook for the class and adopted the online quizzes and homework. This reduces the cost of learning by allowing the students to use the older edition of textbooks, reduces the cost for school supplies such as engineering computation paper, and is more flexible for students to accommodate their personal schedules.

Student Savings

Savings per student for this set of resources: minimum of $139
For an average enrollment of 51 students in one academic year, the overall savings to students is: 51 x (up to $139) = up to $7,089

Marilyn Smulyan, Geography & Environment

Geographic Techniques, GEOG 205

Textbooks/Resources Used

Our previous textbook was out of date and over-priced, so we completely replaced it with our own materials. We will completely replace this book with our own materials. We also take advantage of a growing amount of online resources in the statistical and geospatial methods that form the core of this course. The format of the product developed will be able to be easily updated over time as needed. The materials are posted online through the iLearn system instead of being in print form.

Student Savings

Savings per student for this set of resources: minimum $109
For an average enrollment of 61 students in one term, the overall savings to students per term is: 61 x (up to $109) = up to $6,649 per year

Nancy Gerber, Chemistry & Biochemistry

General Chemistry I & II, CHEM 115 & CHEM 215

Textbooks/Resources Used

We switched to an OpenStax textbook which is free and we’re providing the lab manual which is free. The student solutions manual is free. Student cost is due solely to iCicker and WebAssign.

Student Savings

Savings per student for this set of resources: minimum of $347
For an average enrollment of 978 students in one academic year, the overall savings to students is: 600 x (up to $347) = up to $208,200

Ann Glaros

Western Art History I & II, ART 201 & 202

Textbooks/Resources Used

I worked with my agent at the publishing house Cengage to find more engaging and affordable materials via an e-book system called Mind Tap. The cost to the students will be $85, a tremendous savings since hard copy books cost between $184.75-$190 last semester. Additionally, with Mind-Tap students will have access to features like flash cards, interactive videos and practice quizzes. Mind Tap offers the student the ability to access the book via their computer, tablet or phone, and offers an option allowing the student to read or be read to. These options are clearly designed to be more affordable, more portable, and offer the students more interactive features which will enhance engagement.

Student Savings

Savings per student for this set of resources: up to $105
For an average enrollment of 152 students in one term, the overall savings to students per term is: 152 x (up to $105) = up to $15,960

Emma Remick, English Language & Literature

Second Year Composition, ENG 214

Textbooks/Resources Used

When I decided to focus on making my instructional materials more affordable, my goal was to source free open-access materials online. I have my students use Digo, an application that allows them to annotate all pdfs and webpages. They no longer have to buy an expensive textbook or pay for printing.

The move to all digital materials has significantly altered my course and teaching methods in several ways. The most prevalent is that my students are able to engage their digital literacies in the classroom, allowing them to claim ownership and competency within an academic setting. This creates more academic confidence, which directly impacts the quality of their work and creates a more positive learning environment.

In terms of student expense, it has cut student costs entirely. I have had multiple students tell me that when they are enrolling in courses, they often only choose those that don’t have required books because they simply cannot afford to buy expensive textbooks. By making my course materials free and easily accessible, they are able to learn more productively and positively.

Student Savings

Savings per student for this set of resources: up to $67.99
For an average enrollment of 175 students in one term, the overall savings to students per term is: 175 x (up to $68) = up to $11,897

Jason Mousel, Health Education

Western Nutrition and Herbs

Textbooks/Resources Used

The Nutrition Now textbook is intended for a full introductory nutrition course and is more in-depth than this class requires. However, I have been unable to find a less expensive version that still covers the basic science of nutrition.

I would like to replace this textbook with a less expensive and less dense, but still scientifically grounded resource. Using Google, I found an open source Nutrition textbook which could provide these basics. In addition, I use the UC Berkeley Wellness Report: Eating for Optimal Health for up to date nutritional health recommendations (19.95 print or digital). These resources allow me more flexibility to bring in material relevant to student’s lives.

Student Savings

Savings per student for this set of resources: up to $134.54
For an average enrollment of 45 students in one term, the overall savings to students per term is: 45 x (up to $135) = up to $6,099

Jeff Saperstein, Communication Studies

Rhetoric of the Media, CCOMM 444GW

Textbooks/Resources Used

Working with the iLearn team, I have eliminated all paperwork as online assignments are submitted through Turnitin. The reading assignments are from Wikipedia and other online sources, all references and course subject matter is derived from open sources such as TED Talks, Frontline documentaries, archival speeches, and song videos, which are archived on iLearn for student review.

The students use a Pearson developed online interactive program (MyWritingLab: $26.00) to learn writing; thereby, eliminating any writing or grammar textbook. We fully utilize the iLearn platform, MyWritingLab, and online resources to create an engaging learning environment.

Student Savings

Savings per student for this set of resources: up to $227
For an average enrollment of 25 students in one term, the overall savings to students per term is: 25 x (up to $227) = up to $5,675

Lisa Vicar, English Language & Literature

First Year Composition, ENG 201, 2014 & 209

Textbooks/Resources Used

I post all course content/info/updates on iLearn; the increased responsibility makes students more accountable as new college students. They stay more updated on course content; this also gives me more flexibility to add/change readings as needed and adjust support materials dynamically to more closely match students' learning needs. Students benefit from more relevant/updated support materials as needed and they appreciate using more authentic & modern modalities in class with their own laptops/tablets/phones.

Student Savings

Savings per student for this set of resources: up to $44-$77
For an average enrollment of 68 students in one term, the overall savings to students per term is: 68 x (up to $44-77) = up to $3,611

Amy Kilgard, Communications Studies

Fundamentals of Oral Communication, COMM 150

Textbooks/Resources Used

The biggest challenge with this course is that we have 60—65 sections per semester with approximately 30 faculty teaching every term. We have a textbook that we shrink down to exactly what we want for our students and supplement that with an open-source option. Having the integration with an etext in iLearn is a major advantage to our students.

Student Savings

For 60-65 sections, the overall savings per semester = up to $74,480

Bruce Robertson, Marketing

Principles of Marketing, MKTG 431

Textbooks/Resources Used

I had been thinking about writing a book a long time, so I worked with a publisher and a target price point of fifty dollars. We were writing from common knowledge, there’s no copyrights. I was careful with illustrations to use royalty-free in the public domain or create them myself. Any royalties from SFSU students go to the college. There’s an obligation to (1) make the instructional materials affordable and (2) to encourage students to use the materials.

Student Savings

Savings per student for this set of resources: minimum of $100 For an average enrollment of 1200 economics students in one term, the overall savings to students per term is: 1200 x (up to $100) = up to $112,000

Bridget McCracken, The School of Public Affairs and Civic Engagement

Textbooks/Resources Used

We wanted to level the playing field for faculty, so we created an iLearn site for the faculty with references, links, a one-stop shop to find everything quickly and efficiently. Then I met one-on-one with faculty to explore their syllabi and the materials they used in their courses. We are committed to making this an annual agenda item for faculty meetings at course adoption time. We hope to be able to touch all of our classes within two years.

Student Savings

Per semester = savings total $145,267.00 (822 students x an average savings of $178/student)

Crystal Wong, English Language and Literature

First-Year Composition: ENG 104-105 Stretch Courses

Textbooks/Resources Used

I asked students what I could do to enhance their learning environment, and their responses prompted me to move everything from paper to online. Being a student in online courses myself really taught me to be selective in what I posted so that I can continue to deliver a user-friendly and learning-oriented platform.

Student Savings

Per semester = up to $13,900

Venoo Kakar, Economics

Applied Time Series Econometrics, ECON 825

Textbooks/Resources Used

Open-source textbooks and open-source software, called R, and everything was integrated into iLearn. Now they can access the course materials and the software on their own computers anywhere, anytime. And these texts are more up-to-date, so we have a course that is very relevant and current.

Student Savings

Per semester = up to $10,224

Bo Ferns, Hospitality and Tourism Management

Asian Food, Culture, and Hospitality, HTM 351

Textbooks/Resources Used

The biggest challenge is to find high-quality free or affordable teaching materials. I tried to find matching materials from open-textbooks, online resources, wrote my own, and then I incorporated library journal articles.

Student Savings

Savings per student for this resource: $129.00
For an average enrollment of 88 students in one term, the overall savings to students per term is: 88 x (up to $129) = up to $11,440

Jonathan Lee, Asian American Studies

Vietnamese in the United States, AAS 370

Textbooks/Resources Used

There are a lot of open-access free material that I use instead of assigning a textbook that is 30 years old. They’re from a very limited perspective. There is new work, based on the ground up, and scholarship that challenges the grand narrative of American success overseas. This is more comprehensive and up-to-date material that offers a different perspective.

Student Savings

Savings per student for this resource: $110.00
For an average enrollment of 72 students in one term, the overall savings to students per term is: 72 x (up to $110) = up to $7,952

Michael Bar, Economics

Introduction to Econometrics, ECON 312

Textbooks/Resources Used

I was dissatisfied with the textbooks, the theory they present, and the software. Statistical software R is not only free, but is the main tool used in data analytics and for data scientists. So I decided to write my own notes to integrate the theory with the statistical software R. That saves my students from paying for both the textbook and the software. Anyone with access to the internet has access to my materials, so this will not only save my students money, but help them for the rest of their careers.

Student Savings

Per semester = up to $6,000

Hsiao-Yun Chu, Design and Industry

Model Development Laboratory, DAI 360

Textbooks/Resources Used

Creative art students have to buy art supplies and materials that can easily add up to $100 - $200. We look for suppliers that offer discounts. We teach students the techniques and suppliers to knock the cost down. I encourage students to be resourceful and to trade with each other.

Student Savings

Per semester = up to $1,680

Anoshua Chaudhuri, Economics

Economics of Gender, ECON 540.

Textbooks/Resources Used

Anoshua Chaudhuri was able to reduce the cost of her student's materials to $0 by replacing the $100 textbook for the course with free journal articles, readings and powerpoints. With the help of a graduate teaching assistant, Anoshua was able to provide quality content to her students through the use of iLearn and the library journal databases.

Student Savings

Savings per student for this set of resources: minimum of $100
For an average enrollment of 40 economics students in one term, the overall savings to students per term is: 40 x (up to $100) = up to $4,000

Dawn-Elissa Fischer, Africana Studies

Black Online: Cyberspace, Culture, Community, AFRS 266

Textbooks/Resources Used

Dawn-Elissa Fischer eliminated the cost of course materials for AFRS 310: Anthropology of Blackness, by searching for peer reviewed journal articles and utilizing the learning management system to eliminate printing costs. Dr. Fischer made all of her materials available through the J. Paul Leonard Library databases and worked closely with SF State’s Disability Programs and Resource Center to ensure all of the course materials were accessible.

Student Savings

Savings per student for this set of resources: minimum of $88
For an average enrollment of 35 students in one term, the overall savings to students per term is: 35 x (up to $88)= up to $3,100

Department of English Language and Literature

First Year Composition, ENG 114

Textbooks/Resources Used

The Department of English Language and Literature committed to moving their English 114 print resource to a free and open online resource. By replacing the First Year Composition Guide book, the department was able to save students and average of $22 for the printed book as well as additional printing costs to the student and department. With the support of campus resources, the entire FYC guide is now available for free online, making the content accessible to faculty, students and campus community.

Student Savings

Savings per student for this set of resources: $22
Over 50 sections of English 114 were offered during Fall 2015, bringing the overall savings to students per term to $71,595.

Patricia Donohue, Instructional Technologies

Computer Resource Specialist: ITEC 816

Textbooks/Resources Used

Pat Donohue lowered the cost of her course materials by adopting an ebook that is relatively inexpensive and utilizing iLearn to provide access to course content to students for free. SmartPens and eReaders are both devices that are required for the course, in order to gain experience in working with various technology. In addition to adopting an affordable textbook, Dr. Donohue was able to set up a check-out system for SmartPens and Nooks for students that cannot afford to purchase their own devices.

Student Savings

Savings per student for this set of resources:minimum of $120
For an average enrollment of 12 students in one term, the overall savings to students per terms is: 12 x (up to $120) = $1440

To view more Faculty examples visit Cool4Ed to see what faculty all over California are doing to help make instructional materials more afforable.


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