Supporting Affordable Learning Initiatives With Credo

What is Affordable Learning?

A 2017 report from the City University of New York states that the average students spends $1,200 annually on traditionally produced textbooks, an amount that the report notes is “not negligible for any student, and prohibitive for many from low income households.” Universities and colleges nationwide have taken note of this hardship and many are joining the “affordable learning” movement.

Affordable learning involves using e-textbooks that combine material from library subscriptions and quality open-web resources. These alternatives to costly print works save students hundreds of dollars per semester. There are advantages to faculty too; by creating their own textbooks, professors can include more up-to-date material than is found in print titles, which can take years to come to market. Using this new model, professors can also choose exactly what goes into a textbook, making it unnecessary to assign a work that includes material students don’t need. The textbook can be easily edited or updated as new material becomes available.

How Can Credo Support Affordable Learning Initiatives?

Credo Online Reference Service offers material that is ideal for inclusion in affordable learning textbooks. Our reference material lends itself perfectly to textbooks because it provides accessible overviews of myriad topics—the most commonly taught subjects in college as well as themes that lend themselves to student research papers. For exact details on what Credo Online Reference Service includes that could be “imported” to a textbook you create, please see these list of what comes with a subscription to our Academic Core collection. Embedding articles into a textbook is easy, and you don’t have to get our permission—our licensing allows this use of all materials to which you subscribe

Credo in Action!

Interested in how it works out in practice?

  • One school where students are already saving money through faculty and librarian efforts is Lake Superior College in Duluth, MN. There, Professor Jody Ondich and faculty librarian Bridget Reistad teamed up to create a religion textbook using articles embedded from Credo Online Reference Service. In Librarians, Faculty, and Credo: The Affordable Learning Trifecta webinar, they gave an overview of their strategy and explained how they use Credo and other library resources to create affordable learning solutions for their students. They also reviewed some of the benefits students and faculty see when resources, already paid for through tuition, replace expensive textbooks. Ondich and Reistad find  the use of library materials in affordable learning textbooks help build students’ familiarity with scholarly resources and strengthens their research skills—all without sacrificing the quality of information faculty are accustomed to seeing in their course materials.

  • Tri-County Community College, NC, is another school using Credo to support affordable learning. Their LibGuide, shown below, illustrates how such resources can look.

affordable learning

Features of Credo Online Reference Service

While know for its collection of eBook reference titles, Credo Online Reference Service materials can be presented in several ways to increase student engagement. Below are screenshots showing different Credo database features available for use in your affordable learning creations:

Topic Pages
linked overviews that lead to various Credo text and multimedia resources
topic pages
Real-time Reference
Authoritative "explainers" on topics unfolding in the headlines
rtr screenshot
Table of Contents
interactive links to jump to specific chapters/sections
Individual Articles
individual articles to use in addition to reference books
indiv article
How to Embed Credo Material in Your LMS

Credo’s staff has in-depth experience working with faculty and librarians who want to use Credo Online Reference Service in their daily work. Our material can be embedded into various Learning Management Systems (LMS) and we are happy to walk you through that process. Below are screenshots that show how to embed materials into the most commonly used LMS's.

   Arrow Blackboard

   Arrow Canvas

   Arrow D2L

   Arrow Moodle


For further information, please contact