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AIR

Starting points for improving access to course materials

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Access & Affordability

Northwestern students are expected to budget upwards of $1,600 per year for books and supplies. These costs vary by discipline and can negatively affect academic performance, especially students from low or middle income backgrounds. While scholarships, grants, and loans help tuition and housing, textbooks and supplies tend to fall directly within the student’s family or individual contribution, causing disparity within the classroom.

To raise awareness of this issue and support faculty and instructors throughout the process of addressing course costs, Affordable Instructional Resources (AIR) is a network of Northwestern faculty and staff interested in reducing or eliminating supplemental costs associated with required textbooks, course packets, access codes, equipment, and software.

Focus Areas

Open Educational Resources

Open Educational Resources

Open Educational Resources (OER) offer course instructors free, digital, online resources for teaching, such as textbooks, learning modules, activities, assignments, or syllabi. AIR can help you find, evaluate, use, or create OER for your courses. Learn more about OER services.

Textbooks

Required textbooks are often expensive and difficult for students to purchase in a timely manner. Faculty should submit their textbook orders to the bookstore and have course materials listed in CAESAR at least one week in advance of the opening of the registration for the next quarter. The course reserves service should be used to place textbooks on hold for students in the library. Learn more about textbook services.

Textbooks
Course Packets

Course Packets

Course packets sometimes contain journal articles and book chapters that are freely available to students through the library’s subscriptions to electronic journal and e-book databases. We can help you identify existing resources to avoid student expenses toward materials that are already available to students. Learn more about Course Packets.