About Us

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The Open & Affordable Education Committee is a cross-campus group working to support the use of free and low-cost resources and innovative teaching practices in the classroom. We accomplish this by promoting open & affordable course material options, encouraging faculty innovation, and empowering our faculty to adopt, adapt, and create open educational resources by providing grants and training opportunities. 

The major representatives of our partnership include:  

  • Center for Excellence in Learning & Teaching (CELT) 
  • ISU Book Store 
  • Office of the Senior Vice President & Provost 
  • Student Government 
  • University Library 

Our Work

We understand that Open Educational Resources might not be the best fit for every course. OAEC encourages faculty to select resources that maintain excellent teaching and learning outcomes. These solutions may include both free and low-cost resources. Our committee currently supports a variety of initiatives:

Course Affordability Initiatives

Immediate Access Course Reserves Open Educational Resources
  • Day 1 access to course materials is provided through Canvas.
  • Interactive digital content and ebooks are included.
  • Course material costs are reduced compared to the average.
  • All materials in one place eliminates the need for multiple access codes.
  • All materials are free to access electronically or in print.
  • DVDs and streaming videos are available.
  • The University Library handles copyright permissions and payment.
  • Students can access most course materials in one place.
  • All materials are free to access online.
  • Materials are accessible immediately and in perpetuity.
  • Faculty can use OER as-is, edit the resources, or create their own.
  • Students can order texts in print at a low cost (generally below $50).

You can read more about these affordable course content initiatives in our brochures collaboratively developed by the ISU Book Store and University Library or on the Provost's Course Content Affordability website.


Why Open & Affordable Course Materials?  

College textbook prices increased by 87.5% from 2006 to 2016, over four times the rate of inflation for all other items in the Consumer Price Index. This unprecedented growth in prices has made it difficult for many students to purchase all of their required course materials. A study from Florida Virtual Campus [pdf] has shown that when textbooks are prohibitively expensive, students will: 

  • Locate illegally uploaded copies of course materials online  
  • Not purchase required course materials  
  • Buy an outdated edition of a required textbook 
  • Refrain from purchasing required course materials 

The choices students make when they cannot afford course materials can negatively impact their ability to succeed in a course. By encouraging the use of free and low-cost materials in the classroom, OAEC hopes to decrease the number of students unable to purchase their required materials and increase the number of students excelling in their studies at Iowa State.  

As part of the Open Textbook Network, we affirm their Guiding Principles to support the common good, equity, inclusivity, action, humanity, integrity, and shared abundance in education.


2019-20 Committee Members 

Member College/Office
Elder, Abbey University Library (Chair)
Dean, Heather ISU Book Store (Co-Chair)
Brundy, Curtis University Library
Hassall, Lesya CELT
Inefuku, Harrison University Library
Johnson, Roberta Financial Aid
King, Christine University Library
Kukday, Sayali GDCBS
Moody, Sarah Student Government
Sauer, Geoff English
Whitehead, Rob Architecture
Wiley, Cynthia Digital Accessibility
Zastrow, Mason Student Government

If you are interested in joining the committee for the 2020-21 academic year, please contact Abbey Elder, the Committee Chair.

The Open & Affordable Education Committee was provided with an official charge by Provost Wickert in 2019: OAEC_Charge [pdf]