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Affordable Course Materials

While much of the cost of higher education is not controlled by faculty and instructors, the one item that they do control is the cost of what their students pay for course materials such as textbooks. Many faculty and instructors have made the choice to use low-cost or no-cost materials for the students they teach.

Learn about:

Types of affordable course materials
Affordable course materials at UNC, across the nation, and around the world
Consideration for whether affordable course materials are right for the courses you teach
The benefits of converting courses to affordable materials

Contact the Textbook Affordability Librarian for

Individual or group consultations

Presentations or workshops for departments

Presentations to classes and/or student groups


There is no one search engine or index for identifying affordable course materials. UNC librarians can assist faculty and instructors with identifying the most efficient places to search for materials based on the topic and type of materials needed for specific courses. This may include connecting with individuals within a field who are teaching with affordable course materials and searching:

Open textbook and materials repositories
Library databases and resources
Institutional repositories 
Authoritative online content resources
Open access indexes
Public domain collection
...and more!

"The most surprising thing, or the biggest thing, that changed just from using OER was realizing how much I wanted to also incorporate open pedagogy – opportunities for students to learn from each's actually made some of my teaching easier because I'm putting some of the work on student-to student interaction."

     - Dr. Baillie Peterson

The traditional model of textbook publishing is based on for-profit companies selling textbooks that are purchased by students and/or educational institutions. The problem with this model is that the amount of money companies charge for textbooks increases at a rate that far outpaces the normal rate of inflation. As this exponential increase in textbook costs has not slowed, solutions to provide textbooks at either no cost or a more reasonable cost are emerging - including open, licensed, and affordable materials movements.