What is the Affordable Learning Solutions campaign?

SJSU students spend an average of $750 annually on required classroom material on top of their tuition and other expenses. To help students cut their expenses, the CSU Chancellor’s Office created the Affordable Learning Solutions initiative. Affordable Learning Solutions is designed to provide faculty with information on how to reduce the cost of required textbooks and other classroom material by providing sources for low-cost and no-cost sources available in a digital format.

What are permalinks?

A permalink is a stable URL that will consistently point to a specific information source such as an ebook or article. You can use a permalink to link to articles and ebooks from any online site in a way that doesn't violate the author's copyright. To learn more, see our Permalinks guide (http://libguides.sjsu.edu/permalinks ).

What are open educational resources?

Open educational resources (OER) are textbooks, videos, courses, courseware and other learning and teaching material that are in the public domain or have a license that permits anyone to use or modify them after giving proper attribution to their author.

What is Creative Commons?

Creative Commons "develops, supports, and stewards legal and technical infrastructure that maximizes digital creativity, sharing, and innovation." (from the mission statement of Creative Commons). The Creative Commons site provides  tools for an easy, standardized way to keep copyright while allowing certain uses of one's work in the digital commons environment. You’ll find that many of the resources recommended on this site have a Creative Commons license.

What if I’m already using low-cost/no-cost materials in my class?

Terrific! We’d love to highlight what you’ve done in our Faculty Showcase. Please fill out this form and we'll add you to our website.


Managing and Creating Content

Find tools that help you create your own course content.

AcademicPub provides custom course packs in both print and digital formats and provides real-time copyright clearance. It also allows users to add their own materials and web articles.

PressBooks lets you create ebooks for any device, webbooks for accessibility and promotion, and PDFs for printbooks and print-on-demand.

OERGlue allows you to gather content together in one spot--websites, blogs, videos, and more. It also allows you to create interactive elements, such as a comments section.

Open Courses

Carnegie-Mellon Open Learning Initiative (OLI)
OLI provides open, online courses in languages and the sciences.

Coursera offers courses from top universities: Princeton, Stanford, UC Berkeley, UM Ann Arbor, and University of Pennsylvania. These free classes include chunked video lecture segments, quizzes, homework, deadlines, interactivities, check-ins, global forums, and peer review.

edX is a collaboration between MIT, Harvard and UC Berkeley. It offers open, online courses on a variety of technical topics.

GlobalEdge Online Course Modules for International Business
Created by the Broad College of Business at Michigan State University, these modules cover a variety of subjects, including Doing Business In; Culture; Exporting; Market Research and Entry; Functions; Legal Aspects; Agricultural Business; Institutions and Trade; Microfinance; and Entrepreneurship.

MIT OpenCourseWare
MIT OpenCourseWare is a free publication of MIT course materials that reflects almost all the undergraduate and graduate subjects taught at MIT.

Saylor Foundation
The Saylor Foundation provides peer-reviewed courses in General Education, Art History, Biology, Business Administration, Chemistry, Computer Science, Economics, English Literature, History, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, Political Science and Psychology.

UC Irvine OpenCourseWare
UC Irvine offers courses, lectures and materials in the following areas: Arts, Business and Management, Education, Engineering, Health Sciences, Humanities, Information and Computer Sciences, Law, Physical Sciences, Social Ecology, and Social Sciences.

Udacity is courseware that is strongest in the fields of engineering, computer science, mathematics and physics.

Open Videos

KQED Education
KQED Education
offers high-quality videos specializing in STEM, Arts and News content.

PBS Learning Media California
PBS Learning Media California
provides educators with dynamic and engaging digital resources and professional development support.

Khan Academy

Khan Academy offers over 3,200 videos on everything from arithmetic to physics, finance, and history and hundred of skills for you to practice.

Plunkett Research
Plunkett Research provides information on market and industry trends. These 5- to 6- minute videos cover topics such as demographic changes, globalization, the future of energy and shale gas, the future of health care and health care markets in emerging nations, as well as the potential of Plunkett’s top three technologies: nanotech, biotech and remote wireless sensors.

TED-Ed provides a library of curated educational videos, many of which represent collaborations between educators and animators nominated through the TED-Ed platform. Users may take any useful educational video, not just TED's, and easily create a customized lesson around the video. Users can also distribute the lessons, publicly or privately, and track their impact.

YouTube EDU
The videos at YouTube EDU include short instructional films, full courses from the world’s leading universities, and professional development material from fellow educators.

Open Textbooks & Digital Resources

Start with Free eBooks from the Library


The library provides access to several ebook collections, where you can find free ebooks to use as course textbooks or supplemental readings.

Textbooks Available as eBooks in the Library

Check here to see if your textbook is available in the library's collection. Your students may have access to the ebook free from the library.

Open Collections Online


BookBoon offers over 1,500 ebooks in seven languages, directly available for download from the website. This company's collection is strongest in the fields of business, engineering and math.

College Open Textbooks by Subject
College Open Textbooks is a collection of sixteen educational non-profit and for-profit organizations, affiliated with more than 200 colleges, that is focused on driving awareness and adoptions of open textbooks.

Connexions is a place to view and share educational material made of small knowledge chunks called modules that can be organized as courses, books, reports, etc. Anyone may view or contribute.

Creative Commons: Science
Creative Commons: Science provides listings of sites that offer scientific and technical research articles available under a Creative Commons license, which allows users to share them freely.

Digital Public Library of America
The Digital Public Library of America is a portal providing innovative ways to search and scan through the united collection of millions of items digitized by libraries, archives, and museums in the United States.

Directory of Open Access Books
Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB)
offers a collection of over 700 open access, peer-reviewed books in a variety of disciplines.

Flat World Knowledge
Flat World Knowledge
offers low-cost ($19.99) online textbooks in many different disciplines and also offers print versions.

Flat World Knowledge Book Archive
Before Flat World Knowledge started charging for its online textbooks in January 2013, they were available free under a Creative Commons license. These free versions of the textbooks are still available in the Flat World Knowledge Book Archive.

Free Textbook Lookup Tool
CSU's Affordable Learning Solutions' Free Textbook Lookup Tool lets you enter the ISBN of a textbook to find related FREE open textbooks.

Getty Research Portal
"The Getty Research Portal™ is an online search platform providing global access to digitized art history texts in the public domain." It allows you to find and download complete digital copies of publications for the study of art, architecture, material culture, and related fields. 

HathiTrust Digital Library
HathiTrust provides free access to ebooks in a wide array of subjects. Titles are usually historic, but there is also some contemporary information.

Inkling offers interactive textbooks for the iPad. Single chapters are available for free, but full textbooks cost about as much as their print versions.

Internet Archive
Internet Archive provides a gateway to a variety of free ebook collections. It includes a range of fiction, popular books, children's books, historical texts and academic books.

MERLOT is a program of the California State University, in partnership with higher education institutions, professional societies, and industry. Here you'll find ebooks as well as courseware and other learning material.

The National Academies Press
All of the books on the National Academies Press site are available as freely downloadable PDFs. The Press is strongest in the fields of science and education.

Open Academics
Created by the University of Minnesota, Open Academics is a catalog of open textbooks reviewed by faculty members. It includes books on accounting and finance, business and management, computer science, economics, general education, humanities, law, math and statistics, natural and physical sciences, and social sciences. The over 140 books are openly licensed, complete, and suitable for adoption. All textbooks include a print option, generally for $40 or less.

Open Course Library
The Open Course Library is a collection of shareable, course materials, including syllabi, course activities, readings, and assessments designed by teams of Washington State University faculty, instructional designers, librarians, and other experts. To view, login with guest_ocl (password: ocl).

Open Courseware Consortium
Open Courseware Consortium
is a collaboration of higher education institutions and associated organizations from around the world. It provides a collection of open educational content using a shared model.

Open Library
The Open Library provides access to over one million fiction and non-fiction titles, all online and available for free.

OpenStax College
OpenStax College
is funded by several non-profit organizations including the Hewlett and Gates Foundation and provides free, digital textbooks for Physics and Sociology.

The Orange Grove
The Orange Grove is an online library of openly available instructional resources created for Florida's colleges and universities.

The Public Library of Science, PLoS, provides open-access articles and journals in the areas of science and medicine.

Project Gutenberg
One of the original open source sites, Project Gutenberg provides access to over 39,000 ebooks, which are free because their copyright has expired. It also offers some copyrighted titles, for which the copyright holder has given permission for unlimited non-commercial worldwide use.

RedHoop is a one-stop search engine for all online courses. Results include free and commercial courses, so check in the Cost column to make sure you are accessing a free class.

Saylor provides free online courses, but unlike MOOCs, these are asynchronous and it features dozens of e-textbooks created to work with its classes.

Textbook Revolution
Textbook Revolution
is a student-run site dedicated to increasing the use of free educational materials by teachers and professors.

is part of the Wikimedia Foundation. Anyone can edit the content of a Wikibook, and books undergo no formal peer-review process. The books are browser based, and there are no printing and download options.

The WorldImages database provides access to the more than 100,000 photos in the California State University IMAGE Project. The photos are free to use and modify so long as the photographer is given credit. (Note: High resolution versions of the images can be licensed for commercial use for a $50 fee, but can be used at no cost to CSU faculty for publication purposes.)

Compare Textbook Costs

Akademos Textbook Adoption Tool
The Akademos Textbook Adoption Tool aims to reduce textbook costs by allowing faculty to access and compare textbooks across 3,600 subjects and 2 million books.

Free Resources from the Library

  • Library Databases - Find specific articles available for free to students and faculty
  • Library eJournals - Search and browse journal titles available for free in the library
  • Library eReserves - Place articles and book chapters online for a semester for a specific course
  • Textbooks Available as eBooks in the Library - Check here to see if your textbook is available in the library's collection. Your students may have access to the ebook free from the library.
  • eBooks - Find free ebooks to use as course textbooks or supplemental readings.
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