Document Type

Article

Publication Date

January 2013

Abstract

The rising price of tuition and books is pricing some students out of the market for college. While struggles for affordable tuition take place in state legislatures, universities are taking the movement for affordable classroom materials into their own hands. Seven out of ten students forgo required textbooks due to cost (Redden, 2011). This creates inequality in the classroom as economic privilege determines access to necessary learning materials. To counteract this trend, the California State University system began the Affordable Learning Solutions initiative, designed to encourage faculty to adopt low-cost classroom materials. San Jose State University implemented this initiative on multiple fronts:  Renew - faculty modify open educational resources to meet the needs of their classes and teaching styles  Reuse - faculty use library resources--ebooks, articles and videos--as both required and supplementary texts  Recycle - faculty choose older editions of textbooks and retain the same textbook for multiple semesters so students have the option of purchasing used books Cross-campus partnerships have proven instrumental to the success of these grassroots efforts toward more affordable education. An unexpected alliance with the campus bookstore delivered access to students and attractive giveaways—as well as problematic corporate requests for compromise. While the development of massive open online courses developed by higher learning leaders like MIT and Carnegie Mellon transforms education, more grassroots efforts are needed to accommodate struggling students working towards degrees in local colleges and open universities here and abroad. Renew-Reuse-Recycle empowers teachers from inside the classroom to equalize educational access through using more affordable learning materials.

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