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Inclusive Access

Bringing Course Content into the Twenty-first Century

The UC Davis Inclusive Access program has been making waves among college stores across the country with its innovative digital course materials model since it was introduced in the Fall of 2014 with 3,000 students, 10 courses, and a handful of faculty with a pioneering spirit.

Inclusive Access is a method of providing access to digital course content when instructors are using interactive courseware platforms or e-books in place of printed text. The program allows our campus to reduce student course materials costs in comparison to traditional print text, and ensures that every student has easy access to the content by the first day of class. In short, we have upgraded our course materials model to combine affordability and ease of access with 21st century educational tools.

Two Main Goals of Inclusive Access:

  • Reduce the overall cost of course materials.
  • Provide access to products which improve educational outcomes for students.

The Process Is Simple:

  • When an instructor decides to include use of an interactive courseware platform in their curriculum, discount pricing is negotiated by the Inclusive Access program.
  • Student access instructions and billing info are posted at
  • Access is provided automatically for every student in the roster on the first day of class, including waitlisted students.
  • Students are able to access the content for 10 days with no initial payment, during which time they can opt out if they choose.
  • Students who remain in will have the access charge billed to their university account (MyBill).
  • Students who drop the course are automatically opted out and are not billed.

Why We Did It

The price of printed textbooks has increased at an astronomical rate since 1978, surpassing almost all other economic indexes. In the current economic climate even used and rental textbooks, once the haven of affordability, are increasing in price and, conversely, decreasing in availability as sales of new textbooks decline. An alarming percentage of students choose to forego acquiring course materials altogether, putting their academic success at risk, and this number is growing each year. It is a complex downward spiraling cycle.

Why It Works

  • Inclusive Access delivery models break that cycle by consolidating purchases to achieve lower prices.
  • Because of lower overall logistical and production costs, digital course content is by nature less expensive than the ever escalating prices of printed textbooks. It can be provided without quantity restrictions, with zero shipping and storage costs, and can be updated easily, guaranteeing every student access to the latest academic content.
  • Through the Inclusive Access program, each participating course essentially becomes a buying group acquiring the content through a single source, so publishers are willing to negotiate much lower prices than they can for print materials.
  • Deferred payment also allows students to use their financial aid instead of credit cards and ends the educational disenfranchisement of waitlisted students waiting to purchase their course materials.
  • In just its first year, the program saved UC Davis students over $1 million while providing them day-one access to adaptive and interactive course content which has been shown to improve educational outcomes.

Benefits to Faculty:

  • No restraint on academic freedom. Instructors choose the content.
  • Ability to manage content and even add their own in some platforms.
  • Students can begin online homework assignments on first day of class.
  • Ability to integrate in the campus LMS for single sign-on access and grade-book integration.
  • Instructor analytics on student engagement and success.
  • Peer to peer online access help desk staffed by UC Davis students.

Benefits to Students:

  • 50%-80% lower than equivalent pricing for printed textbooks.
  • Deferred student billing direct to student account.
  • Course materials available day one with no waiting in line for heavy books.
  • Increased interaction with course content leading to greater success in the course

How Your Campus is Affecting Change

  • The pilot was featured in the October 2014 issue of The College Store Magazine, published by the National Association of College Stores (NACS).
  • UC Davis is specifically mentioned as the example to follow in California State Legislation governing the provision of similar types of content delivery.
  • Winner of the 2015 National Association of College Stores Most Innovative College Store award and the 2016 UC Office of the President Larry Sautter Award for Innovation in Information and Educational Technology.
  • Others in the industry are now looking to UC Davis as an innovator as a result of this program. Since 2014, UC Davis has provided mentoring to other universities facing the same challenges with course materials, and the program model has spread to over 100 campuses nationwide and has generated interest internationally.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Inclusive Access?

Inclusive Access is the system used to provide the access and billing when an instructor uses digital content in their course. Access is provided electronically before the first day of class, and the discounted access cost is billed to the student’s financial aid account after the opt out deadline for the current term.

What is the difference between Opt Out courses and Opt In courses?

Under the current campus direction for remote learning, all text materials that are required by the instructor have auto-access, meaning you have access by default and must opt out if you do not wish to use it. Optional texts have no default access and you must opt in if you wish to use them.

Your status and opt choice for each text is displayed in the Bookshelf view in your Canvas course pages. The posted access charge for all texts with a status of “Opted In” after the opt out deadline for the term will be billed to your student account.

Do I need to opt-out of the e-book?

During the campus closure and due to the difficulty in obtaining print books, all required texts are provided as e-books with default access. If you wish to use an alternate resource, please opt-out before the deadline to avoid being billed.

What are Interactive or Adaptive Courseware Platforms?

Interactive Courseware is much more than just an e-book. While platforms like Mastering, MindTap, Connect, and LaunchPad typically include a full digital text, they have added interactive content designed to make the reading more engaging, which increases comprehension and retention of the material and can ultimately lead to greater student success.

They can include videos and interactive animations, quizzes, and homework sets which can include hints and/or links to the related text for incorrect answers, serving as a virtual tutor. They also allow for various levels of customization by the instructor, peer-to-peer sharing of notes, and the creation of digital flashcards you can use with smartphone apps.

How much does Inclusive Access cost?

The price varies depending upon the platform and content used by the instructor, but Inclusive Access prices are lower than the cost of purchasing access direct from the publisher, and average 50% to 70% below the cost of a new, printed text.

How do I gain access?

If your instructor is using a required homework platform or using a text that is available as an e-book, you will find access instructions, pricing and opt-out information in your Inclusive Access portal, accessed from the welcome email you were sent, or from the Bookshelf IA portal link in the menu of your Canvas courses.

How do I pay for my access?

The access charge in both Opt Out (courseware) and Opt In (e-book only) courses will be billed to your student financial aid account after the drop date. Students who opt out by the posted deadline for the current term or who drop the course are not billed. Students who drop after being billed will have 5 days to notify the Inclusive Access team to request a refund.

What does it mean to opt-out?
  • Please refer to the Bookshelf view in any Canvas course page or the Inclusive Access email sent to your UC Davis email address for the opt out deadline for the opt out deadline for the current term.
  • When you opt out, access to all online content is disconnected and you are removed from the billing schedule.
  • In a course with default access, you must opt out if you choose to purchase your access through a different source.
  • In a course with optional access, if you have opted in to the e-book access, you can opt out in the IA portal where you opted in originally.
I opted out by mistake and realized that I still need my access. Can I opt back in?

Yes! Go to your IA student portal to view current access status and opt out/in buttons for each course, or contact the help desk at [email protected].

I dropped the course. Do I still need to opt out?

Students who drop the course during the normal drop period for the course will automatically be “opted out” and will not be billed. Students who drop after the course after being billed will have five days to notify the Inclusive Access team at [email protected] to request a refund.

I am wait-listed for the course. Will I have access to the online platform and do I need to opt out if I don’t get into the course?
Who should I contact if I am having trouble with access to the online content?

Please email the Inclusive Access team at [email protected] for assistance. Live Chat is also available at the Inclusive Access website when students are on shift.

I added the class late. Can I still opt out?

If you add the course after the opt out deadline for the term, please contact the IA help desk at [email protected].

What if I can't afford the access charge?

Online course materials are chosen by your instructor or academic department based on their academic value and cost in comparison to the printed text, but the UC Davis Stores sponsors a scholarship award each term for eligible students who are having trouble covering costs. Students can apply for the Bookstore Textbook Award through We Are Aggie Pride.

I have further questions that were not addressed. Who do I contact?

If your question wasn’t answered in this FAQ, please email the Inclusive Access student help desk at [email protected].

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