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Affordable Learning at BPCC: FAQ

Resources and information on Affordable Learning Louisiana and Open Educational Resources (OER).


What is Affordable Learning Louisiana?

Affordable learning is an initiative in the state of Louisiana to reduce the cost of textbooks for students. To achieve this, teachers may use open educational resources or schools or departments may purchase licenses to e-textbooks so that students can access them for free. Affordable learning focuses on student savings, not on what type of resource the teacher has chosen to use.

What do all these words mean?

Some common terms used when discussing Affordable Learning are:

  • e-Textbook: a textbook that is accessed and read electronically; this may be open or access may be purchased from a traditional publisher
  • Open Educational Resource (OER): a resource (often a textbook) that is made available for free and with a Creative Commons license which allows others to edit, modify, and distribute the resource however they choose.
  • OpenStax: a publisher of OER textbooks 
  • Open Textbook Library (OTL): a catalog of open textbooks.
Why do some e-textbooks cost and some are free?

The cost of e-textbooks depends on the license and the publisher. OER e-textbooks are free because the creators have distributed them under a Creative Commons license that allows them to be used at no cost. Access to other e-textbooks must be purchased because their creators or publishers have decided not to make them available for free. Often, these resources come from a traditional publisher.

How can I get a hard copy of the book? How much is it?

It depends. Whether you are using an OER or an e-textbook from a publisher, some books are also made available in print and some are not and the cost of the print edition will vary. Talk to your teacher, librarian, or bookstore to get more specific information about your textbook.

Can I print some or all of my e-textbook?

It depends. If your e-textbook is an OER, then you can most likely print any part of it you want. However, if it is an e-textbook from a traditional publisher if and how much you are allowed to print depends on the license agreement that the school has with the publisher. Talk to your teacher or a librarian to find out about the details of your textbook.


Teachers' FAQ

Do I as a teacher have to use an open textbook (OER) for it to count as "affordable"?

No! Any textbook you use that costs the student's nothing is considered "affordable." If you would like to use an e-textbook from a traditional publisher and make it free for your students, talk to a librarian about finding funding sources to purchase access.

Where can I look for supplemental materials?

OpenStax Partners offers supplemental materials that integrate with OpenStax textbooks. OpenNow and OER Commons offer other supplemental resources.

Is there a direct link to the e-textbook? Is there an app for it?

Embedding a link to the textbook in Canvas is easy, but some textbooks will need proof that people trying to access the book are supposed to have access to it. Talk to a librarian to make sure you have the entire link correct. 

Most textbooks do not require a specific app or software to access.

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