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Affordable Learning @ Franklin University

Information about the affordable learning program to reduce the cost of education for Franklin University students, and affordable learning resources for faculty and instructional designers.

Franklin University's Affordable Learning Program

Franklin University logoRecognizing the importance of affordability in education, in 2017 Franklin University implemented its etextbook initiative. The goal of the etextbook initiative is to provide students with online access to textbooks and to lower textbook costs.

As part of the etextbook initiative, courses may use ebooks licensed through the library, or open educational resources, which are available to students at no cost. Librarians work with faculty and course designers to identify titles which the library can purchase for use in courses, or which are available for use under an open license. Franklin University currently (fall 2023) uses 347 library etextbooks and 42 OER or other external free ebooks as textbooks in courses. You can see additional information about courses using library/OER etextbooks and student savings resulting from this use on our library/OER etextbook use dashboard.

When new textbooks are adopted for a course, the library receives notice and checks whether the new textbook can be made available to students as a free library textbook. As of Fall, 2023, 43% of courses with textbooks use either library textbooks or OER textbooks.

Alternative Textbook Programs

When courses are being created/redesigned, librarians will work with faculty and course designers to identify alternatives to textbooks which are available through the library to students at no charge. These alternatives include articles/ebooks available through library databases or open access resources.

Faculty/course designers identify areas where they need resources to replace (or take the place of) textbooks. They then consult with a member of the library’s staff (either in person, by email, or through submitting the research project request form) to inform the library of these topics. Librarians then conduct research and provide their findings to the faculty / instructional designer who will review them and choose what library eresources to include in the class.


Members of the library have made the instructional design team aware of these library services. Additionally, liaison librarians have made their faculty aware of the library’s ability to conduct research projects to identify library materials which can be used to replace textbooks. Faculty can fill out the research project request form to ask the library to identify possible library etextbooks or articles they can use.

The library has also created an Open Educational Resources (OER) Research Guide to help course designers and faculty members locate and evaluate OER alternatives to traditional textbooks.

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