Wednesday, April 11, 2018 3:30 PM ~ 4:30 PM ET

Are you concerned that the cost of textbooks has become a significant affordability barrier for your students? The SkillsCommons Affordable Learning Solutions portal offers a solution, allowing you to find, adopt, and adapt free career and technical training resources, such as high quality eTextbooks, online and hybrid courses, virtual labs, and more. The portal also provides tools, templates, and strategies that your institution can use to design and implement a textbook affordability program.


For community college students, the cost of course materials can be higher than the cost of tuition. One recent study found that the high cost of textbooks led almost half of the 20,000 students surveyed to take fewer units per semester and a quarter to drop a course. For institutions trying to accelerate students’ successful completion of degrees, certificates, and credentials, one straightforward strategy is to lower the cost of textbooks. SkillsCommons provides an Affordable Learning Solutions (AL$) portal designed to help institutions, programs, and individuals lower the cost of their course materials. The portal is a free online library for finding, adopting, and adapting career and technical training resources, including eTextbooks for general education courses. 

This webinar will show participants how to use the AL$ portal so that they can leverage resources and strategies in the design and implementation of their own Affordable Learning Solutions program and improve student success. Participants will learn how to browse the virtual library by subject area, type of resource (e.g., eTextbook, online course, learning module), and Standard Occupational Classification code. They also will learn how to access the portal’s 80+ teaching ePortfolios by faculty from a range of institutions and disciplines who have adopted free and open educational resources (OER). The ePortfolios summarize the OER adopted, the course that used the OER (including its syllabus), and the reasons for adopting it. 

This webinar is part of a series showcasing strategies and resources developed by community colleges that are of broad interest to educational institutions engaged in career-focused education and training. Topics of upcoming webinars include sustaining grant-funded projects for long-term success and free resources for apprenticeship and work-based learning. Previous topics (available as recordings) explored making industry experts into expert instructors to increase student success, resources for development education using competency-based education, and scaling career pathways in Wisconsin. For more information, please visit: Innovations Leading to Career Success Webinar Series

The AL$ portal and the many other resources available on SkillsCommons were produced by grantees of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) program, a collaboration between the US Department of Labor and the US Department of Education.


Cheryl Martin, Program Manager, U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration

Erin Berg, Community College Program Specialist, U.S. Department of Education, Office of Career and Technical Adult Education


Gerry Hanley, Assistant Vice Chancellor, Academic Technology Services, California State University, Office of the Chancellor; Director, SkillsCommons