HBCU Affordable Learning Solutions Community Portal

Brief History:

In 2017, MERLOT (Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching www.merlot.org) and SkillsCommons (www.skillscommons.org)  partnered with the leadership at Southern University (Moustapha Diack) to launch the first annual HBCU Affordable Learning Solutions Summit at the MERLOT-Online Learning Consortium INNOVATE Conference in New Orleans, LA.  Each year the HBCU AL$ Summit has grown through the efforts of the HBCU AL$ leadership team and with the support of a grant from the Hewlett Foundation to MERLOT & the California State University.  With the COVID pandemic in 2020, the transition to free, online, and open educational resources and practices became an imperative.   In 2020, the Hewlett Foundation awarded Tennessee State University an additional grant to expand the community of HBCUs developing and implementing their campus-centric Affordable Learning Solutions (AL$) initiatives and strengthening the organizational infrastructure of the HBCU community to grow the successful adoption of AL$ to all the HBCUs who wish to participate.

Our Purpose:

The HBCU AL$ community will be sharing our resources and exemplary practices as well as conducting research on how best to serve the needs of the HBCUs in making higher education more affordable by reducing the cost of course materials.  The HBCU Affordable Learning Solutions (AL$) Community is planning and conducting a number of activities to:

  • Strengthen the collaborative relationships between HBCUs
  • Share exemplary practices for reducing the costs of course content for students
  • Support leadership of HBCUs in the management and shared governance of the AL$ program

Learn more about the HBCU AL$ Recognition Program that showcases the excellent work of leaders and programs supporting HBCUs.

A critical goal of this project is to also facilitate the sharing of Open Educational Resources (OER) developed by HBCUs for their own academic programs. Building a collection of culturally inclusive curriculum that is free and open for teaching and learning will benefit our diverse students.

  • Explore the SHARE tab to learn about the different ways you can contribute to the MERLOT collection with HBCU resources.
  • Explore the HBCU Cultural Collections to find free and open educational resources for programs in Africana/African American/Black Studies as well as for programs across the disciplines.

Current HBCU AL$ Leadership Team

  1. Bethune Cookman University, FL –  Dr. Clarissa West-White
  2. Central State University, OH – Dr. Arletha McSwain
  3. Edward Waters University, FL – Drs. Genyne Boston, Erin Gilliam
  4. MERLOT-SkillsCommons Team, CA – Dr. Gerry Hanley, Maria Fieth
  5. Morehouse University, GA – Dr. Monique Earl-Lewis
  6. Southern University Shreveport, LA – Dr. Veronica McEachin
  7. Tennessee State University Team, TN – Drs. Robbie Melton, Deborah Chisom, Effua Ampadu, Tokesha Warner


ADD Free and Open Educational Resources You're Using or Created into MERLOT

Are you using OER in your teaching or your learning? Have you created free and open teaching materials? We invite you to catalog these resources in MERLOT. Your colleagues and students around the world will thank you!


First: Become a member of MERLOT (It will take about 2 minutes and it is FREE).

Second: Fill out the online form to contribute a Material. (It will take about 4 minutes the first time.  MERLOT provides systematic instructions on our YouTube Channel and a handout (PDF).


Enter key words below to search the SkillsCommons library for Free Workforce Development OER



Enter key words below to search the MERLOT library, over 75 other open libraries, and more!

Enter the ISBN of a book below to find related FREE eTextbooks and more.



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HBCU Affordable Learning Community Portal is a service of the California State University Long Beach-MERLOT program and designed by MERLOT.
Partial funding provided by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

© 2020 California State University Long Beach - MERLOT

Accessibility Statement

Questions? Email webmaster@merlot.org