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Sustainable Learning for Students

Student resources for finding open and sustainable texts/materials for courses at Cal Poly Humboldt.

Morgan Barker

Profile Photo
Morgan Barker
Sustainability Librarian
LIB 206 - (707) 826-4930 mew11@humboldt.edu
Subjects: OER, Sustainability

Get Your Books/Materials at Lower Costs

Bookshelf, full of books.

Get Your Textbooks at Lower Costs, Using OER/AL$ Methods

This is your resource to navigate finding your text/material information early, using the information to your advantage. And most importantly, thoughtfully researching and comparing the following options: finding books/content online, using Library checkout, sharing textbooks/materials, researching content, renting textbooks for less, or buying textbooks for less.

Student Advocates are on hand to support with drop in hours, 1-1 consultations, bookstore popups and more. Send a note to oer@humboldt.edu or stop by the Library. 

Join the adventure here - review this LIBGuide while you work!

>> https://libguides.humboldt.edu/sustainable-learning/home << 

What is OER? Per the Creative Commons: "Open Educational Resources are teaching and learning materials that you may freely use and reuse, without charge. OER often have a Creative Commons or GNU license that state specifically how the material may be used, reused, adapted, and shared."

What is AL$? Per the CSU: CSU's Affordable Learning Solutions enables faculty to choose and provide more affordable, quality educational content for their students. By reducing CSU student course material expenses, more students acquire the course materials they need to succeed and benefit from their CSU learning experience. Now CSU faculty and students have greater access to quality free and lower cost learning materials through a variety of AL$ programs and partnerships.

How can Faculty use Sustainable Learning? See the LIBGuide on that topic! 

Borrow Before You Buy

Material Access Options: Paths that students/faculty can follow to gain access to materials. Discussing these in class, adding them to syllabi, etc. can support students. 

  • Library Reserves - per checkout period

  • Library Collection - eBooks 

  • Library ILL Chapters Only - Interlibrary Loan request form, request the specific chapter (keep in mind copyright guidelines of one chapter per or less than 10% of the material)

  • Rent - per semester, from a bookstore. 

  • Class Book Swap - students purchase/rent, etc. (1) book and swap with students who access another book. 

  • Share - with another, or group 

  • Borrow - Local, Humboldt County Libraries, or hometown Library with digital access.

  • Scantron, Blue Books - free at the Cultural Centers or ROSE

  • Purchase - new, used, etc. 

Book stack

Information You Need - Textbook Title/Authors/Edition + ISBN

As you begin, there is critical information you need to know about your textbooks or materials to start your research. Having this information on hand - listed in a document, notes page or word file - will help you find lower cost options. 

Start your research: 

Why do I need the textbook Title/Author/Edition? Textbooks are interesting - they are books that are consistently updated, even having different authors for each year the book is produced. The exact title, authors and edition will get you to the right book that your faculty requires. As well, this is a great opportunity to ask if other used, various editions will be allowed for use. Many faculty will OK this, as long as you know the content may differ a bit, or may be in a different order. 

What is an ISBN? An ISBN is an International Standard Book Number. ISBNs were 10 digits in length up to the end of December 2006, but since 1 January 2007 they now always consist of 13 digits. ISBNs are calculated using a specific mathematical formula and include a check digit to validate the number. The International ISBN Agency can give you more information. 

Where can I find this information? 

Desk and Computer

Find Texts/Materials Online

Now that you know what you are looking for, head online with your titles/authors/editions and ISBN numbers. 

Start your search: 

Get a baseline for each item: What is the average cost? Are there any places that offer the text for free, or a sample of the text to get you started? 

Where can I compare costs and access to each item? Where can I find free texts/materials? 

College Library

Find Texts/Materials on Campus

Now that you know what you are looking for, head to campus, or campus websites with your titles/authors/editions and ISBN numbers. With a bit of research, you may find more affordable options amid the expensive.

Start your search: 

Go to all likely spots: Student resource spots like the library or student services can help, when lower cost text/materials may not be easy to find. 

Where can I compare costs and access to each item? Where can I find free texts/materials? 

Desk Chairs

Encourage Faculty to Use OER/AL$

Lower cost textbooks/materials are important for all students...

Here are ways you can help, as a student: 

  • Tell faculty you are interested in lower cost materials.
  • Make it known to faculty that you plan to coop share textbooks with a fellow student, or group.
  • Make it known to faculty that you are using the textbook on reserve in the library.
  • Honestly share your story with faculty - how textbook costs impact your ability to buy basic needs like food, housing, etc. 
  • Send on any articles, books, or other materials you find for free.
  • Ask faculty how you can help research lower cost options.
  • Encourage faculty to think sustainably about purchasing patterns, reuse, etc. 

Where can I get information to help my faculty?