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Affordable Learning @ Cleveland State University

Library Resources for Students

The high cost of college textbooks is a significant factor in both the cost of college attendance and student success. OhioLINK and the Ohio Department of Higher Education are helping Ohio lead the way on the issue of affordability and open educational resources.

Anna Bendo, Director, Affordable Learning Initiatives:
"Affordable Learning is what OhioLINK is calling our strategic initiative to try to decrease the cost of course materials and textbooks for students. And we're doing this in lots of different ways taking lots of different approaches. There are open educational resources that students can use or faculty can choose for their classrooms. Open Educational resources are textbooks or other learning materials that are free, openly accessible, available on the Web, and faculty can take them and repurpose them in their own classrooms. So that's one way and it's a really important way that faculty can decrease the cost of resources for students. But there are also library-licensed resources that OhioLINK has invested in over a 25-year period that people can use to replace traditional textbooks in their classrooms as well. One of the strategies OhioLINK is using to increase awareness of affordable learning efforts is by creating an affordable learning website at and on that website we've outlined our initiative we have given a place or a sitre for each campus and university to be able to display what they are doing on campus. The website also has the comprehensive A-Z database where different faculty or librarians or instructional designers can go to and search for open educational resources or library resources that they can use in their classes to replace traditional textbooks. Another strategy that we are using is we have a group of affordable learning ambassadors that OhioLINK has trained and have attended a summer institute that go out to campuses and give workshops on what's available in open educational resources and affordable learning. And these folks are really passionate about this, and they want to help make college more affordable for students, and they know a lot about this area. So they are really excited about going and talking with other faculty members around the state and sharing their knowledge."

Gwen Evans, Executive Director OhioLINK:
"This effort is critical to Ohio college students and across the nation because the cost of college attendance is going up for everyone. Since OhioLINK includes 93 institutions encompassing private institutions, public universities, two-year colleges, addressing it at a system-wide level in Ohio will deliver cost savings for almost all college students in Ohio. Recently, OhioLINK was asked to put together a panel on textbook affordability in conjunction with the State of the State Address by Governor Kasich. So we asked representatvies from all member institutions ranging from faculty who work with open educational resources in the $1.3 million dollar grant that the Ohio Department of Education gave out to 17 institutions to create OER-based courses, to what are called "alt textbook programs" that are being run out of libraries that librarians sit down with faculty and help them identify library and OER materials to replace commercial textbooks. So we had 10 participants on that panel all talking about the various ways that they are addressing this, and I would say that what came out of that panel is that you need multiple approaches. You want to support student choice of what sort of format they want. You want to support faculty choice and academic freedom in order to assign the material they think is best for their course, and you want to support the ability of institutions and OhioLINK at the state level to negotiate at sale to bring down the prices or the cost in all those efforts. I think the panel illustrates, through the various approaches, that the participants detailed the necessity to take a multi-pronged approach on campus in order to bring down the cost of materials for college students."

The Textbook Center:

The Textbook Center on the first floor of the Michael Schwartz Library at the Library and Research Help Desk desk offers a limited selection of print textbooks required for some of the larger general education classes for the semester. Any CSU student with a valid Viking Card may borrow these textbooks to use in the Library for a 2-hour loan. You may ask your personal librarian if a textbook for your course can be added to the Textbook Center. She/he will not be able to purchase textbooks for all classes, but will consider all requests based on regularity of the course, class size, and cost of the material.

All textbooks and eTextbooks available for a given semester are listed in Course Reserves by course name or instructor.

Assigned Textbooks as Library-Licensed eBooks:

In addition to the print textbooks, the Library offers some eTextbooks, which are digital versions of books required for classes. These digital resources allow for unlimited simultaneous student users, can be accessed off-campus, and do not cost students any additional money. Ask your Personal Librarian if you are interested in discovering whether your current required textbook is available as an ebook, or if you would like to find a library-licensed ebook that is similar to your current required textbook as a replacement. See the eBooks @ CSU Research Guide for help loading eTextbooks.

Cleveland State University Open Educational Resources:

Open Educational Resources(OER) are openly licensed educational materials that offer an extraordinary opportunity for people everywhere to share, use, and reuse knowledge (Hewlett Foundation).

Cleveland State University Open Educational Resources are created by CSU faculty and are posted in EngagedScholarship@CSU, the university's institutional repository. Many of these resources were funded by the Library's Textbook Affordability Grants.

About Printing OERs
Keep in mind that open textbooks may have dynamic content that is not possible to replicate in a printed copy. In addition, any updates to the open textbook will not be reflected in previously printed copies.

Are you a student who would like to print an open textbook that your professor has assigned? Open textbooks can be printed anywhere, including in campus computer labs, but you might find it helpful to use CSU’s Printing and Duplicating services. Coil and comb binding are available for printing open textbooks. Rates and other information are available on the Printing and Duplicating website. Other options for printing openly licensed content include Brothers Printing (located on Euclid Ave across from campus) and

OhioLINK Affordable Learning Ohio Initiative:

In 2018, OhioLINK initiated a series of projects collectively called Affordable Learning Ohio, to lower the cost of college for Ohio higher education students. The projects explored by this initiative include the following:

Don't hesitate to contact your personal librarian with questions about the Affordable Learning Ohio initiative or how CSU is collaborating with OhioLINK on this effort!