Central State University's Affordable Learning Initiatives
Central State University (CSU) is committed to incorporating the latest cutting edge technologies and resources into our teaching as a standard practice. We strive to offer the same level of excellence in teaching to all our students whether they study on campus or remotely. In pursuit of this commitment, CSU signed a partnership Memorandum of Understanding with the California State University's MERLOT organization on July 29, 2017, for the design and deployment of Central State's Affordable Learning Solutions (AL$) Initiative.
CSU's AL$ initiative creates the Central State University Open Online Library for Education (CSOOL4Ed) website. CSOOL4Ed provides a digital infrastructure that will improve college affordability for students with free etextbooks and educational resources. Having free and immediate access to instructional resources will enable more students to enroll and succeed in more courses as they progress toward graduation in a timelier manner.
CSOOL4Ed (centralstateopenlearning.org) will enable faculty to develop online courses and programs using free and quality Open Education Resources (OER), including digital textbooks. It will also help faculty develop educational multimedia resources and open textbooks to contribute back to the OER and Open Access (OA) global movements. This project not only enhances CSU's eLearning infrastructure, but it will help engage other HBCUs and international partners.
CSOOL4Ed leverages MERLOT, a free and open online community and collection of teaching and learning resources designed primarily for faculty, staff, and students of higher education. MERLOT's open educational services enable teachers and learners from around the world to freely share their instructional resources and pedagogy. MERLOT's library (www.merlot.org) provides a collection of peer-reviewed online learning materials, including almost 5,000 free and open etextbooks, catalogued by registered MERLOT members. MERLOT also provides a wide range of faculty development and student support services.
Currently, the Central State University Library encourages faculty to place copies of their textbooks on reserve for student use during the semester. The library also provides access to electronic books, online scholarly journals, and streaming videos for instructional use, all at no additional cost to students.