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An Introduction to Affordable Learning Materials

A guide to help instructors learn about, find, evaluate, and adopt affordable learning materials for their courses

Open Educational Resources (OER) and Affordable Learning Materials

open education


True OER are freely available electronic resources (textbooks, videos, lesson plans, software) that are free of most restrictions, i.e you can:

  • Retain - Make and own a copy
  • Reuse - Use in a wide range of ways
  • Revise - Adapt, modify, and improve
  • Remix - Combine two or more
  • Redistribute - Share with others

Affordable Learning Materials

Affordable Learning Materials include OER but they also include library resources and services (articles, eBooks, videos, course reserves) and other open access online materials. These items are licensed and have some use restrictions but they are free to the students.

For the purposes of this site we'll be using the all-encompassing term Affordable Learning Materials

(Image by Christina Hardison)

Why use Affordable Learning Materials?

Affordable Learning Materials give instructors more flexibility in how they design their courses while allowing for the possibility to ditch the traditional textbook which in turn:

  1. Can save students money
  2. Can aid in student learning
  3. Create more equity in access to education
  4. Allow instructors to include more inclusive course materials