Chico Affordable Learning Solutions (CAL$)

Today’s Tuesday Tip is brought to you by our campus AL$ Coordinators, Edward Roualdes and Beth Shook. 

Chico Affordable Learning Solutions (CAL$) provides resources to faculty regarding affordable course materials, including how to find and adopt quality zero-cost or low-cost textbooks and other materials, or design one’s own Open Educational Resources (OERs).   

CAL$ has been on the Chico State campus since 2013, and originally went by the name Textbook Affordability Project (TAP) until 2018.  The name Chico Affordable Learning Solutions was adopted to better align our campus effort with the Chancellor’s Office program, Affordable Learning Solutions.  In the last four years, CAL$ has helped students save over $800,000. 

From a spring 2019 CAL$ survey on our campus, we estimate that because of high textbook costs 

  • 52% of students go without the required textbook, 
  • 28% of students avoid or drop/withdraw from course, 
  • 55% of students alter their food or housing budget, and 
  • 24% of students feel their grade was negatively impacted. 

CAL$ will lead a Friday Forum on October 9th (from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m.), covering the following topics: 

  • Describe CAL$ efforts on campus so far. 
  • Define Zero Cost Course Materials, its context in the state of California, and how to identify and report if your course meets the criteria. 
  • Discuss Open Educational Resources:  What are OER and how do they differ from Open Access materials? What are the many benefits of using OER in the classroom. 
  • Explore some more popular OER repositories: how to find OER materials for your course. 
  • Highlight resources available through the Meriam Library that can be utilized in the classroom, including ebooks. 
  • Bookstore’s new Discover: more easily adopt books, including OER; October 16 deadline 

The forum will be held via Zoom. Please visit the Friday Forums page for additional information. This session will be recorded and posted in the FDEV media channel

Ruth Bader Ginsburg Legacy

This Tuesday Tip was written in collaboration with Legal Studies professors Mahalley Allen and Maitreya Badami.

Before Ruth Bader Ginsburg was an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union litigating cases advancing gender equality, before she was a federal appellate court judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, and before she became the second woman appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court, she was a professor, first at Rutgers Law School and then at Columbia Law School.

During her early career as a law professor, Ginsburg’s students asked her to teach a seminar on women and the law. Preparing to teach that class and finding there was little in the law about women’s place in the world set Ginsburg on a path to becoming a legal and feminist icon who changed the law in this country, not only for women, but for everyone.

In Our Revolutionary Spirit, a short film celebrating Rutgers’ 250th anniversary, Ginsburg reflected that her students “sparked my interest and aided in charting the course I then pursued. Less than three years after starting the seminar, I was arguing gender discrimination cases before the Supreme Court.” In turn, Ginsburg inspired her students, working tirelessly with them as the first Rutgers Law School faculty advisor for the Women’s Rights Law Reporter, now the country’s oldest law journal focusing on women’s rights. While a professor at Columbia Law School, she invited her students to help prepare legal cases she was litigating on behalf of the ACLU. Since her passing on September 18th, many of her former students have released moving tributes about her influence on their lives.

Professor Ginsburg’s career, and the relationship she had with her students, is a powerful reminder of the importance of both inspiring students through experiential learning and letting students inspire us in return. Some of the very practices she applied in her classes are what we now define as high-impact educational practices. Our profession is one that feeds off this formidable exchange of ideas, experiences, and connections. While her career as a professor might not be what she will mostly be remembered by, we want to pay tribute to her today through the meaningful opportunities she created for her students and the endless impact of her teachings.

Quality Learning and Teaching Program

The Office of Faculty Development is partnering with the Technology & Learning Program to offer a series of workshops designed around the Quality Learning and Teaching instrument. Please read below for details. 

The Quality Learning and Teaching (QLT) program was developed to assist faculty and instructional designers to more effectively create and deliver online, blended, and flipped courses, and has been utilized at CSU, Chico since 2014. I have led the QLT Program since 2016 and I have found that key benefits include: 

  1. Engaging students in their learning experience more directly 
  2. Increasing student feedback throughout the course (not only at the end) for immediate and continuous improvement. 

If you are interested in learning more about the nature of quality online instruction at CSU, Chico and about the benefits of faculty training, you can read this recent article written by Ben Seipel and myself: Preparing and Training Higher Education Faculty to Ensure Quality Online Learning and Teaching


The five workshops below are designed to meet core standards in the QLT instruments and are associated with deliverables that will allow you to fully redesign a course (or design a new course). While we encourage faculty to take them in this sequence, it is not necessary to attend them in this order.   

Workshop 1: Introduction to QLT, Course and Learner Support (Chiara Ferrari) – Wednesday, October 7, 2 – 3:30 p.m.

Workshop 2: Assessment of Learning Outcomes (Ben Seipel) – Wednesday, October 14, 2 – 3:30 p.m.

Workshop 3: Organization of Course Materials and Resources (Chiara Ferrari) – Wednesday, October 28, 3:30 – 5 p.m.

Workshop 4: Student Engagement (Christine Sharrio) – Thursday, November 12, 3:30 – 5 p.m.

Workshop 5: Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility (Claudine Franquet) – Wednesday, December 2, 9 – 10:30 a.m.

**For those faculty who cannot commit to attending the whole QLT series, the workshops are open on an individual basis, but we ask that you REGISTER HERE if you plan to attend, so we can plan properly based on the number of attendees.** 


FDEV is offering compensation to 30 faculty who can commit to attending all workshops, completing all deliverables associated with them, and completing a final course review. Compensation will consist of a $500 taxable payment. Please refer to the call for applications for more details and complete this brief application form. These workshops will be offered again in the spring (twice), so if you are interested in applying, spring workshop dates will be shared later in the Fall semester. Please REGISTER HERE for the workshops you plan to attend. 

Introducing the New FDEV Director, Chiara Ferrari

This Tuesday Tip is built around some personal background, so I hope you will indulge me.

Growing up and receiving most of my education in Italy meant that I was not exposed to a theoretical (or even a practical) framework that revolved around race and diversity. As a country that has “no significant history of immigration” (or so we used to believe), we relied primarily on the canonical works of European (read: white) authors.

It is thanks to many instructors, students, colleagues, and mentors that I realized the importance of expanding that canon. Most recently, I have embarked on the reading of bell hooks’ Teaching to Transgress. Starting in a new role on campus (while dealing with a global pandemic) does not allow for much time to read, and yet… the first few pages were a powerful reminder of the need to dedicate some time to our own growth, as educators.

“To educate is the practice of freedom,” hooks writes.  In such a simple sentence I found the essence of my love for teaching, as I was reminded of the empowering role that education has in the lives of our students. And in our own lives, for that matter.

hooks continues, stating that “we learned early that our devotion to learning, to a life of the mind, was a counter-hegemonic act, a fundamental way to resist every strategy of white racist colonization… my teachers were enacting a revolutionary pedagogy of resistance that was profoundly anticolonial.” I love to think that every time we enter a classroom we enact a revolutionary act of resistance.

FDEV and the Meriam Library are excited to share the news that Teaching to Transgress (hooks, 1994) is now available, as an eBook, to the entire campus community, through an unlimited license. We hope that you will take this opportunity to assign this reading in your classes, encouraging your students to engage in the courageous “practice of freedom.”