Faculty Preparing for Fall: Affordable Course Materials Reduce Students’ Costs and Uncertainty

Fall quarter preparations are underway with cautious optimism amid the uncertainty about what COVID-19 will look like in September. The stress of this uncertainty has touched all members of the DePaul community. Compounding this stress for students are the increased financial pressures brought on by the pandemic. Consider incorporating affordable learning materials into your fall classes as a way to both decrease students’ costs and alleviate the stressful uncertainty of how they will pay for their required materials.

What Types of Affordable Learning Materials Can You Choose From?

Affordable course materials encompass a variety of resources that help decrease the cost of education for students including both open educational resources (OER) and library resources.

Library Liaisons are available to help locate OER or library resources for your courses.

Open Educational Resources (OER)

“OER are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others. Open educational resources include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge.”

~The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

If you are thinking about adopting an entire OER textbook or just selected chapters, the two collections below will be good starting points.


This open initiative is based out of Rice University and includes intro-level textbooks in math, social sciences, business, humanities and the sciences.

Open Textbook Library (OTL)

The OTL is a growing collection of open textbooks across multiple subject areas. Currently there are 875 books in the collection, many of which are reviewed by faculty.

Visit the DePaul Library’s OER Research Guide to learn more about locating many types of open educational materials.

EBSCO Faculty Select Database 

The DePaul University Library recently acquired the Faculty Select database to help in the process of locating both OER and unrestricted e-books through one interface. See our library blog post for details about how to effectively search this database.

Library Licensed Resources

Selecting e-books, book chapters, journal articles, streaming video, streaming audio, or websites and placing these on e-reserve can reduce costs for students. Materials can be requested through the Library’s course reserves system. Explore our collections through the links for specific types of library resources below.

  • E-books: Electronic books offer an effective way to reduce costs and provide greater accessibility for students.
  • Streaming Videos: Educational films, performances, interviews, documentaries, motion pictures, and television and news programs are just some of the types of videos that can be selected for course reserves.
  • Article Databases: Content in the 100+ article databases the library subscribes to ranges from scholarly to trade publications and supports all disciplines at DePaul.

Reach out to your Library Liaison or visit our subject research guides for additional help exploring and identifying affordable instructional materials for your courses. The Library’s OER contact, Sue Shultz, is also available to help with this process.

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