AL$ Milestones

  • 1997

    MERLOT screenshot from 1997

    MERLOT: Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching, launched in 1997, provides access to curated online learning and support materials and content creation tools, led by an international community of educators, learners, and researchers.

  • 2002

    MERLOT reaches 5,000 materials and 10,000 members.

  • 2003

    Digital Marketplace: Started in 2003 in cooperation with IBM, Digital Marketplace was an innovative one-stop-shopping platform for the discovery, selection, authoring and fulfillment of resources. Goals are Accessibility, Affordability, and Choice.

  • 2007

    Screenshot of merlot in 2007

    MERLOT reaches 12,500 materials and 50,000 members. Personal collections and Virtual Speakers added.

  • 2010

    ALS screenshot from 2010

    Affordable Learning $olutions is formally named as presented to the CSU Board of Trustees in 2010. Designed to transition the developments of Digital Marketplace into campus deployments. The goals of CHOICE (enabling the discovery of course content, including low-cost publisher content, library resources and a wide array of open educational resources); AFFORDABILITY (reducing the cost of learning materials for students and the CSU); and ACCESSIBILITY (prioritizing access to a quality education and all learning materials) have been retained.

  • 2010

    Licensed Content Pilot: Faculty/sections recruited by on-campus reps to participate in a section(s) of a class with a parallel non-participating sections and publishers participating (all majors) offered a time-limited digital full version of a textbook at 65% off of the new book price.

  • 2011

    Academic Pub: Readers, anthologies, custom content created by CSU faculty and published by the CSU. Faculty see the cost building as they create. Faculty receive commission.

  • 2011

    Digital Bookstore: A one-stop access/procurement point for all digital materials from the C.O. for all campuses.

  • 2011

    Bookstep Project: Students pay for digital access based on the pages they read. Economical for when faculty only assign a chapter or chapters. Free-to-student pilot and subsequent focus group at SLO and Fresno.

  • 2012

    Transaction Management: CSU technology framework with faculty search for titles, content delivery, adoptions to bookstore. Piloted with RATEX point-of-sale and inventory management software at SDSU and SFSU.

  • 2013

    Nature Publications Biology Born Digital: Intro to Biology for Biology Majors courseware and lifetime subscription for students for $39. Created in coordination with CSU Biology instructors. Over 3,000 students participated

  • 2013

    Rent Digital: Publishers are vetted, cost-to-students negotiated and MEAs by the C.O. Very large marketing campaigns on campuses for versions of traditional texts to be available in Rent Digital.

  • 2014

    Sage Publishing Criminal Justice Program: 60% to 70% off adopted Sage products on participating campuses.

  • 2014

    Get It Now (GIN): Electronic delivery of Inter Library Loans (ILL) Time delay in shipping material had been resulting in over 60% never picked up. GIN offers immediate delivery at a 99 cent cost to students and average hard copy ILL, which had been costing the library $60, became a @23 per-loan flat fee under GIN.

  • 2014

    Screenshot of Cool for Ed in 2014

    COOL4Ed: The three State of California Higher Education Systems starts working together to provide easy access to quality FREE and OPEN eTextbooks that everyone and anyone can use for teaching and learning. The project resulted in the creation of the California Digital Open Source Library, also known as COOL4Ed.

  • 2014

    Screenshot of merlot in 2014

    MERLOT now holds 40,000 materials and has 125,000 members, plus a new, streamlined interface.

  • 2016

    The Textbook Affordability Act, AB 798, expands potential grant funding opportunities up to $50,000 for low-cost course materials’ awareness and adoption initiatives for any CSU campus.

  • 2016

    Screenshot of Course Redesign website in 2016

    Course Redesign is launched, a program to improve student success by supporting faculty efforts with cutting edge technology and pedagogy.

  • 2017

    csu interactive open stax page

    The California State University, CSU Affordable Learning Solutions (AL$) initiative is excited to announce the first titles in a series of interactive open textbooks in partnership with Openstax™ and VitalSource®.These open textbooks were created by Openstax™ and peer reviewed by faculty and meet standard scope and textbook sequencing requirements.  

  • 2018

    SB 1359 goes into effect. Also known as the Zero Cost Course Material Initiative, it requires campuses to Identify in Course Catalogs those courses using Free Course Materials.

  • 2018

    Screenshot of merlot in 2018
     This link will take you to an external website in a new tab.

    MERLOT Smart Search offers users can quickly search more than a dozen learning materials’ libraries.

  • 2018

    Immediate Access Program - designed to help students save money and have digital access to their materials by the first day of class. Materials are provided on the LMS for free through the add/drop date. At that point, the student will need to decide whether to maintain the access and later be billed for it, or opt-out and purchase your materials another way. The price you pay in Immediate Access is the lowest price available from the Bookstore. In the 2021-22 academic year at SDSU, the I.A. program saved students over $8.4 million.

  • 2019

    Screenshot of the merlot content builder tool
     This link will take you to an external website in a new tab.

    MERLOT Content Builder is redesigned.

  • 2020

    The Textbook Affordability Act, AB 798, concludes. The 4-year initiative resulted in saving approximately 219,000 students approximately $27.5M and approximately 6,800 courses converted to adopting Open Educational Resources (OER).

  • 2022

    Screenshot of the ALS website in 2022

    The Affordable Learning Solutions initiative continues to grow and thrive at CSU campuses. Per the latest reporting, the initiative has potentially saved students $77M in AY 20/21.

  • 2022

    equitable access

    Equitable access – Every student needs equitable access to information. CSU libraries are developing and expanding a shared core collection of digital research journals and ebooks, so that all CSU students can access the information resources they need to succeed.

  • 2023

    25 year banner

    Affordable Learning Solutions celebrates 25 years of Affordable Course Materials