Skip to main content

CALM

The Cougars Affordable Learning Materials Project (CALM) is part of the CSU Affordable Learning Solutions initiative started in 2010. CALM aims to aid faculty in replacing costly textbooks with lower cost alternatives by using high-quality, open education

Featured CALM Heroes

Ibrahim Al-Marashi Ph.D.
Anne Dabb
Pamela Stricker PhD
Rodney Beaulieu PhD

Faculty across campus are CALMing the cost of education for CSUSM students! Explore how faculty implemented affordable learning solutions to lower or eliminate the cost their course materials.

CALM Heroes

Youwen Ouyang

Youwen Ouyang
Computer Science
CS 497 - Intro to Mobile Programming

Patrick Sebrechts

Patrick Sebrechts
Computer Science
CS 301 - Computer Mastery

Tracey Brown

Tracey Brown
Biology
BIOL 338 - Human Impact on the Environment

Robert Gill

Robert Gill
Physics
Astronomy 342 - Elements of Astronomy

John Hakanson
Biology

GES 102 - Matter, Molecules, Life, and the Environment II [Life Science]
GES 103 - The Life and Environmental Sciences Around Us

Sahar Mosleh

Sahar Mosleh
Computer Science

CS 231 - Assembly Language and Digital Circuits

Christina Simokat
Biology

BIOL 336 Coastal Environments
ENVS 100 Introduction to Environmental Studies
   

 

Kimber Quinney
History

History 131 - U.S. History 1877 - Present

Ranjeeta Basu
Economics

ECON 441 International Economics: Trade

Terri Metzger
Communication

GEO 102 - General Education Oral Communication
Matt Atherton
Sociology

SOC 327 - Law Enforcement
SOC 360 - Research Methods
Natalie Wilson
Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

WMST 303: Education, Race and Gender
WMST 205 - Gender and Identity in Media and Popular Culture
Donna Goyer
Sociology

Soc 201 - Introductory Statistics for the Social Sciences
Tahmina Morshed
Economics

ECON 201 - Principles of Microeconomics
ECON 202 - Principles of Macroeconomics
Pamela Redela
Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

WMST 301 -Gender, Race and Class in Contemporary Studies
Linda Pershing
Interdisciplinary Studies

ID 370 - Topics in Interdisciplinary Perspectives in the Social Sciences
ID 360 - Topics in Interdisciplinary Perspectives in the Humanities
Brandon Cesmat
Film Studies

FMST 100 - Intro to Film Studies
Kevin Kilpatrick
Sociology

SOC 201 - Intro to Statistics
Sara Bufferd
Psychology

PSYC 560  Developmental Psychopathology
Jonathan Berman
Visual and
Performing Arts

VSAR 422 - Art and Technology
of the Moving Image
Nancy Cairns-Pietrangelo
Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

WMST 205 - Gender and Identity
in Pop Culture & Media
Kathy Shellhammer
Sociology

SOC 314 - Health and Society
Anne Randerson
Communication

COMM 330 - Intercultural Communication
Ryan Zroka
History

HIST 101 - World Civilization to 1500
Ibrahim Al-Marashi
History

HIST 102 - World Civilizations 1500 – present
Pamela Stricker
Political Science

PSCI 321 - Making Public Policy
Barbara McPherson
Psychology

PSYC 344 - Positive Psychology
Kimberly Vanderbilt
Psychology

PSYC 100 - Intro. to Psychology
Ching-Ming Cheng
School of Arts

MUSC 120 - Intro. to Music
Anne Dabb
Philosophy

PHIL 110 - Critical Thinking
ENVS 100 - Intro to Environmental Studies
Caroline Sawyer
Communication

COMM 465 - Communication and Popular Culture
Judit Hersko
Visual and Performing Arts

VSAR 120 - Intro. to Visual Arts
Sandra Wascher
Visual and Performing Arts
VSAR 120 - Intro. to Visual Arts
Mark Abajian
Economics
ECON 201 - Principles of Microeconomics
ECON 202 - Principles of Macroeconomics
Jerry Breckon
Political Science

PSCI 100 - US Government and Politics
Randall Griswold
School of Arts

MUSC 120 - Intro. to Music
Cynthia Headley
Literature and Writing

LTWR 115 - Critical Reading and Writing
Deborah Kang
History

HIST 131 - US History from Reconstruction to the Present
Andy Strathman
History

HIST 341 - Ideas in America
Gabriel Valle
Environmental Studies

ENVS 100 - Intro to Environmental Studies
Michelle Vogel
Psychology

PSYC 220 - Introductory Statistics in Psychology
Antonio Zaldívar
History

HIST 300 - Heresy, Witchcraft, and Church Reform
Jocelyn Ahlers
Liberal Studies

LING 300 - Introduction to Linguistics
Nicoleta Bateman
Liberal Studies

LING 300 - Introduction to Linguistics
Michael Henderson
History

HIST 131 - U.S History 1877 – Present
Cyrus Masroori
Political Science

PSCI 370 - Foundations of Political Thought
PSCI 390 - Topics in Political Science
Judith Phillips
Psychology

PSYC 100 - Introduction to Psychology
   

 

Vassilis Dalakas
Marketing
MKTG 433 - Marketing Communication
Yi Sun
Mgmt Info Systems
MIS 411 - Database MGMT
Ofer Meilich
Management

BUS 444 - Strategic Management
Rebecca Perren
Marketing
MKTG 454 -Social Media Marketing
Robert Aboolian
Opperations and Supply Chain Mgmt

OM 302 - Foundations of Operations Management
OM 305 - Operations Management
Ed Balian
Opperations and Supply Chain Mgmt

OM 302 - Foundations of Operations Management
OM 305 - Operations Management
Ben Cherry
Management

ENTR 320 - Creativity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship
Chet Kumar
Management

MIS 302 - Foundations of Management Information Systems
Derek Podobas
Operations and Supply Chain Mgmt

OM 302 - Foundations of Operations Management
OM 305 - Operations Management
Kristen Stewart
Marketing
MKTG 433 - Marketing Communication
Nima Zaerpour
Operations and Supply Chain Mgmt

OM 445 Warehousing and Distribution Management
 

Ann Rene Elsbree
Education
Team - Single Subjects Teaching Credential Program

EDSS 541- Secondary Interdisciplinary Methods

Pat Stall
Education
Team - Single Subjects Teaching
Credential Program

EDSS 530 - Secondary School in the 21st Century
Julie Rich
Education
Team - Single Subjects Teaching Credential Program

EDSS 572 - Secondary Clinical Practice II
EDSS 531 - The Reflective Practitioner
Jeff Heil
Education
Team - Single Subjects Teaching Credential Program

EDSS 531 - The Reflective Practitioner
Rong-Ji Chen
School of Education

EDMI 543 - Middle Level Mathematics Education
Kathy Fuller
Human Development
HD 102 - Preparatory Skills for HD Majors
HD 497 - Applied Research in Human Development
HD 380 - Applied Child and Youth Development
Rafael Hernandez
Human Development

HD 301: Theories of Human Development
Rodney Beaulieu
Human Development

HD 350: Health and Human Development
Tracy Hall
Human Development

HD 350 - Health and Human Development
Wendy Hansbrough
Nursing

NURS 450 - Nursing Leadership and Professional Issues
Pamela Kohlbry
Nursing

NURS 370 - Health Promotion
Noriko Toyokawa
Human Development

HD 302 - Human Development in Childhood
HD 303 - Human Development in Adolescence
Hyun Gu Kang
Kinesiology

KINE 427 - Assessment and Programming Healthy Aging
   

 

CALM Heroes: Information, Feedback, and Advice

Tracey Brown, Ph.D

BIOL 338 – Human Impact on the Environment, CSM 

Course Description: 
This is an upper division GE course for non-Biology majors. The aim of the course is to consider the major areas where human consumption of resources and consequent waste production has had an impact on specific environments and the species that inhabit those environments. The most recent version of my assigned text: Environmental Science by Miller costs about of $171 per student.   
I was able to use a combination of online learning materials and scanned book chapters, (staying within the fair use guidelines) made accessible via Cougar Courses.  As I develop this course further, I intend to continue increasing the online materials (OEM, open texts, etc.) and reducing the scanned textbook chapters.   
It is hard to directly compare/assess the efficacy of the materials between my previous 16 week, face-to-face course and the 5 week online summer CALMed sections, however the midterms averages for my spring 2009 and Summer 2015 course were very similar, indicating no large difference in material mastery. At the end of class I surveyed the students and included a specific question about the uploaded chapters (vs. buying a textbook), and 12 of the 13 people (of 40 in the class) that took the anonymous survey included feedback:  I’d like to share some of the student quotes:  

 “I believe it was great that there was no textbooks to purchase. Textbooks are so expensive now a days and being a student we can barely afford them. The lessons were very clear and helpful. I feel like it felt like a complete textbook that we went through since all the chapters were available and complete. Great experience and learning tool.” 

 “The upload chapters were very helpful, I tend to have a harder time reading a textbook, but when it was right on my computer screen it was a lot easier to read. It saved my money this summer, and helped me afford my textbooks for this fall. I would not prefer to buy a single text.” 

“The PDFs were helpful in a sense that I was able to access it from my phone or iPad at any time.... but I would prefer buying a single text rather than reading from numerous sources. Less overwhelming. “ 

The total savings for this course was $6,840 for just the summer and is easily scalable to 120 students (2 sections of 60 per year) or more.   

Ching-Ming Cheng, D.M.A. 

MUS 120: Intro to Music 

Course Description: 
Comparative study of various musical styles and cultures. Emphasis on basic musical materials, how music is constructed and performed, and the social and cultural milieu in which it is created. Includes concert, folk and popular music from Western Europe, America, Indonesia, North India, Japan, and West Africa, among others. Through listening and analysis, students will learn the fundamentals of music and search for relationships between and commonalities among musical cultures. 

Summary of course redesign activities:  
MUS 120 is a GE course with 80+ students enrolled every semester. Starting this fall semester 2015, I completely removed the requirement of purchasing the $110.00 online textbook for MUSC 120, which I used to adopt for the convenience of the premade tests and all downloaded musical clips in one place. After teaching this course for many years, I have gathered, organized and created my own course material, outlines, assessments and PowerPoint slides to supplement my lectures. I researched and found online available texts to support the reading, as well as interactive music theory/aural skills websites to supplement pre-class meeting learning and assessments. I use mostly classical music examples on Youtube, which are in the public domain.  

Kimberley Vanderbilt, Ph.D., Psychology 

PSYC 100: Introduction to Psychology  

Course Description: 
People often say psychology is a young science.  Actually, Psychology’s not so much a young science (thinkers have pondered psychological issues for millennia) as it is a broad and often difficult science.  Psychological investigation requires statistical analysis, careful experimentation, advanced technology, and most importantly, cleverness.  By the end of this course, students will have an understanding of how psychological research tries to use ingenuity and technology to increase human understanding of the brain, perception, memory, learning, human development, social interaction, personality, and psychological disorders.  

Summary of course redesign activities:  
I was shocked and appalled when I saw the current price for the book I had hoped to use (and have used in the past) to teach Psyc100 — $230 is WAY too much for a textbook! Because Introductory Psychology is such a popular course, there are MANY options available (hundreds!), in all forms and sizes. This semester I have adopted an online free textbook for PSYC 100. The textbook is Introduction to Psychology by Charles Stangor, and is available free as an ebook and PDF to my 240 undergraduate students. Compared to last semester the savings to students for this class is $29,700! 
This textbook is a fitting resource for students because it strikes an appropriate balance between breadth and depth in introductory psychology concepts and presents the material in a straightforward manner that is easy for students to follow. Additionally this online text provides media resources, both images and imbedded links to video content, to highlight and demonstrate important concepts. I have also added more video content to the course overall, with the goal of helping students to feel connected and immersed in the course material despite the (small) loss of having a physical textbook. Anecdotally, so far, most students have reported favorably on the new text; students even broke out in applause when the free text was announced in class. 

Barbara McPherson, Ph.D., and Marie Thomas, M.A. 

PSYC 344: Positive Psychology 

Course Description: 
Examines psychological theory and research on the study of optimal human functioning and what makes life worth living. Focuses on such topics as happiness, strengths, hope, forgiveness, wisdom, and gratitude. Covers core assumptions, measurement techniques, research findings, and practical applications and interventions. Students have the opportunity to evaluate their well-being, strengths, and limitations, and learn ways to apply positive psychology to important domains in their lives and in the lives of the people with whom they interact. 

Summary of course redesign activities:  
Our motivation for this project came from two sources. First, we wanted to reduce the textbook cost for students. Second, we were dissatisfied with the few textbooks available in this relatively new field. We had tried two of the more popular texts; one has too much “filler” and the other text was too lightweight (and neither offering any free material). 
When researching free online textbooks, we located a number of psychology texts covering a variety of subjects though none directly cover the new field of positive psychology. However, there are chapters from various textbooks which have relevance to our Positive Psychology curriculum. Therefore, we put together a  set of materials that included a few selected chapters from current texts, original research articles, website materials (there are several extensive websites on positive psychology), and news articles. We were able to use all free materials; saving up to $93 per student. 

Anne Dabb, Philosophy  

PHIL 110: Critical Thinking 

Course Description: 
This course is a survey of concepts and methods geared to the advancement of skills in critical thinking. Subject matter includes the nature of critical thinking; the relations between logic and language; the relations between rhetorical persuasion and relational argumentation; the nature of word definition; the practical functions of language; the structure of deductive and inductive arguments; the difference between valid and invalid, or strong and weak reasoning; methods for analyzing and evaluating arguments; common argumentative fallacies; and basic symbolic logic. 

Summary of course redesign activities:  
I adopted a custom version of Critical Thinking, 11e, Moore/Parker that includes only selected chapters, so every chapter in the text will be used in class. By removing several chapters and adopting a black and white version of the text, I was able to reduce the cost significantly. In addition, I am using a few chapters from other books to cover the topics formal and symbolic logic that had been removed from the Moore/Parker text. I have also included several primary source texts that are in the public domain and incorporated short (3-5 minute) videos from the YouTube Philosophy Channel into lecture to introduce key concepts or background information on selected philosophers.  
The customized version of the textbook actually costs $55 at the campus bookstore while the full text version costs $185 for savings of around $130 per student. 

Judit Hersko and Sandra Wascher 

VSAR 120 

Course Description: 
Introduction to the language of the visual arts through a comparative study of various artistic styles, cultures and ways of seeing.  Explores visual art from a global thematic approach, with an emphasis on sculpture, painting, installation art, photography, architecture, film and multimedia and their cultural contexts. Through various participatory visual and written exercises in class and visits to art sites, students will learn the fundamentals of the visual arts and how the arts relate to their lives 

Summary of course redesign activities:  
Although the book we used is excellent, we found that many students just didn’t buy or read the book.  In a recent survey about 60% said they used the class web site, but did not read the book. In addition, the textbook was constantly being revised (currently in its 5th edition) forcing everyone to buy the new edition, because using old editions caused confusion and problems with quizzes and group discussions.  
We took the theme-based approach of the textbook as our starting point and we identified appropriate and relevant resources that covered visual arts fundamentals and global themes of art in similar ways to the textbook. We found that the online educational resources had sections that could be combined to cover all aspects of the course materials. The process of locating and adopting new materials also led us to make some significant improvements to the course. We updated our study guides and improved their overall quality, incorporating precise links to the relevant materials . Similarly we reworked our exams to reflect the new materials and moved them online, which has led us to implement new methods in the classroom. Currently we use essay quizzes approximately once a week to test students’ understanding of the material and to fulfill the writing requirement, and are assigning group work in class where students discuss and analyze artwork by applying concepts actively.  
We are finding that students arrive in class prepared and they have already expressed gratitude for the cost reduction (up to $188 per student). So far we are very pleased with the results.  

Rebecca Perren

MKTG 454 

Course Description: 
This course will introduce students to concepts and tactical concerns related to using social media tools to foster customer relationships and personal branding. Topics include social brand building, community and location-based social networks, content generation, photo and video sharing, viral marketing, social influence and collaborative online tools. This course introduces the new media landscape with a focus on understanding the strategic importance of social media channels for corporations and brands. 

Summary of course redesign activities:  
In order to calm my course I leveraged several resources.  First, I incorporated a social media certification that is made available at no cost to the student through a special program for higher education. This program provides free courseware and social media monitoring tool for students for 90 days.  Second, I used a free, open textbook from Saylor Foundation: eMarketing: The Essential Guide to Online Marketing.  Finally, I also used a variety of online content compiled from other sources.  Through the adoption of these materials, I was able to save students up to $175 per student.  

Caroline Sawyer

COMM 465: Communication & Popular Culture 

Course Description: 
Popular culture is so much a part of our daily lives that it is all but invisible. To a great extent, popular culture defines the texture of our lives. Popular images not only mediate and define reality, but they also implicitly assert a set of values. Introduces students to a number of concepts and challenges that arise in the study of U.S. popular culture. Drawing on a variety of theories and perspectives, students will critically examine the role of popular culture within the context of current social, political, and economic realities in the United States. 

Summary of course redesign activities:  
I wanted to make all of my materials digitally available and the current the introduction textbook and supplemental reader for my course were not available in an e-version.  This course is strongly being considered for GE designation by the department so I wanted to CALM the course materials prior to this taking place, in order to benefit more students.  
In order to eliminate the introduction textbook, I developed my own general readings that cover the general topics. I supplemented the readings with websites and e-reserve articles to give students a better understanding of the information. As for the reader, I found that 60% of the articles in the reader are available digitally through our library, so I assign the articles through the e-reserves. Total savings of up to $96 per student.  

Ibrahim Al-Marashi, Ph.D. 

HIST 102 World Civilizations 1500-present  Fall 2015 

Course Description: 
This class is an intense, adventure-filled, thrilling journey over the last 500 years.  Students are introduced to major events, transformations, and movements of mass destruction in global history since 1492. This course deals with major themes, including the interconnected world that emerges after 1492, the study of societies, the circulation and interaction between societies, and how trade, ideas and art forms create links that transcend time and geographic boundaries.  

Summary of course re-design activities:
I had been teaching Hist 102 for four years, a LDGE course offered each semester for 120 students, which always fills to capacity. The course materials used to cost close to $170. Through this initiative I have reduced the cost for this course to $77.49 for a savings of $10,800 per course! 
Through research I found a much less expensive book to substitute for one of my assigned texts: Robert Tignor et al., Worlds Together Worlds Apart: A History of the World, vol. 2, 4th Edition.  This grant also helped me devote time to replace the second book by Kenneth L. Pomeranz ($31.25), which   was comprised of primary sources (historical documents) that I was able to locate on the internet. Finally, the other books in the course were assigned as part of the LDGE requirement, which requires a certain set amount of assigned reading. This grant allowed me to invest time to hunt down the documents in this book, create e-versions which can be uploaded to Cougar Courses, and write commentaries on each document, giving students the necessary background to understand the text. To replace additional material, I hunted down relevant mainstream media articles that are appropriate for each historical era in the course. This cut out the cost entirely for the remaining materials.  

Rodney Beaulieu, Ph.D., Human Development Department, CEHHS 

CALM Course:  HD 350 Health and Human Development 

Course Description: 
This course focuses on cross-cultural concepts in health and illness, healthcare modalities, religion and rituals associated with health, legal and ethical issues, and health promotion in diverse societies. , with special focus on various populations.  The course also focuses on health disparities and strategies for promoting health, all with a focus on various populations. 

Summary of course re-design activities: 
Prior to CALM, I used a textbook that I originally thought would fit well with the array of topics in my course, but I soon learned it had to be supplemented because many important topics were missing.  Moreover, many of the research findings reported in the textbook were outdated, requiring me to seek and provide current information.  Because contemporary health concerns such as the Ebola virus are not presented in the textbook, I needed to supplement the course with current details. 
Since CALMing down my course, all materials are provided online for free through Cougar Courses, using learning materials from various sources.  Most of the materials I am using are public domain; they are readily available online from originating sources, such as agency websites.  Videos are also available through YouTube hyperlinks, and several are streamed from the CSUSM Media Library.  Journal articles are embedded in the course with a Permalink.  A CSUSM librarian assisted me with my copyright questions and concerns.  
The students who took the course during the Spring 2015 semester formally evaluated the course materials.  Scores ranged from 4.7 - 5.0 on a 5.0 scale and students’ comments were positive.  Thus, the entire process has greatly helped to save my students money while not having any major negative impact on the course. 

Original textbook - Multicultural Health by Lois A. Ritter and Nancy A. Hoffman softcover cost, $74.54. 
Current course materials cost = $0 

Rafael Hernandez  

HD 301: Theories of Human Development, CEHHS 

Course Description:  
This is a survey course of theories and application in human development.  Drawing on foundational work in the fields of biology, psychology, sociology, and anthropology, this course will focus on developing interdisciplinary frameworks for understanding human development from birth to death. 

Summary of course re-design activities:
At the time of my application for CALM last year, the required textbook for my HD 301: Theories of Human Development course was an excellent resource that provided clear, engaging overviews and applications of foundational theories in our field. However, the high cost of this textbook was a significant barrier for many of my students. My ability to integrate innovative teaching strategies and resources for my students has grown significantly as I gained skills utilizing Cougar Courses tools, and implemented “flipped” classroom strategies, so I felt confident that I could locate and integrate free resources and make these materials available on Cougar Courses.   
During the spring 2015 semester I gathered readings, videos, and internet resources to replace my textbook completely and made these materials available at no cost to the students. Readings were gathered from the campus library, online journal article databases, online sources, and a few scanned PDFs of textbook chapters, in accordance with U.S. Copyright law and educational fair use guidelines. I used these new materials in my summer course for the first time. Students responded favorably to the course materials, as evident in the course evaluations.  
As a result of the elimination of my required textbook for this course, my students are each saving up to $200.50.  

Pamela Stricker, Ph.D.

PSCI 321 , Making Public Policy, CHABBS 

Course Description: 
Public problems and their policy solutions likely comprise some of the most contentious debates in contemporary American political dialogue. Students’ task in this course is to go beyond an ideological reaction to policy solutions to one of social scientific analysis, using the theoretical approaches to public policymaking. The text I used to use was Public Policy: Perspectives and Choices, Charles Cochran and Eloise Malone, Lynne Rienner, Fifth Edition, $35. I recast the class to focus more on policy analysis, added High Impact Practices (HIP) components such as service learning, and learning modules like writing clearly, critical thinking, information literacy, career readiness and writing well for Public Policy. While I know this was not required of the grant, it provided me with the opportunity to make some changes to my class that I had wanted to make for a while, but had not made the time. It was a kick in the pants for me, and an opportunity to sit back and think about the class and how I can implement HIPs in a new way. As a result of CALM, students now have a cost of zero for the course. This class is taught at least once per year. This fall, I have 40 students enrolled in the class, which would have cost $1,400. The hard work and effort involved was worth it! 

Cyrus Masroori, Ph.D.

PSCI 370, Foundations of Political Thought & PSCI 390, Political Theory and Pop Culture, CHABBS 

Course Descriptions:
PSCI 370: This course is an introduction to the study of political philosophy.  Students engage with prominent works from the history of political thought while grappling with some of the fundamental concepts, questions and problems that guide the study of politics. 
PSCI 390: This course gives students the opportunity to examine the relevancy of complex theoretical arguments to the ordinary daily life. Students study how concepts in political theory developed by various thinkers of the past 2500 years have impacted the sentiments, beliefs and sensitivities of Americans in this century and the last.   

Summary of course re-design activities:
In the spring of 2014 I applied for, and received a CALM award for PSCI 370, Foundations of Political Thought. I had been aware of some online versions of the assigned texts, from such sources as Project Gutenberg and the Hathi Trust Digital Library, however, I have found out that there are four specific and important challenges to assigning on line texts.  First, where a text is translated, the translation must be verified for accuracy.  Second, the text must be reviewed for completeness (many on-line editions are abridged).  Third, because these are political theory texts, they must be as free from commentaries by the editors/translators/publishers as possible (unless comments are by scholars in the field).  Fourth, the hyperlinks must be reliable, so students can access them easily.   Once I began to look for texts, I realized that I could also locate materials for the PSCI 390 class, and after discussing this with my CALM IDS partner, my award was modified.  For both the 370 and 390 classes, I was able to locate multiple online versions for all but one of the texts, including both PDF documents which could be downloaded and printed and html versions of each text, made available via Cougar Courses.  In the first semester, no students reported problems accessing or reading the online versions.  The savings for the PSCI 390 class was about $35 per student and for PSCI 370, about $54.