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Zero Cost Textbook Resources

Zero Cost Textbooks & Open Educational Resources


Traditional Textbook Model (TM):

The required instructional materials (including traditional, for-profit textbooks, workbooks, manuals, websites, software programs, apps, courseware packages and/or the combination of course materials) amount to a total cost above $50. 

Low-Cost Textbook (LCT):

The required instructional materials cost no more than $50. This includes all required instructional materials such as textbooks, workbooks, manuals, websites, software programs, apps, courseware packages, and/or the combination of course materials. The only cost this does not include is campus course fees.

Zero Textbook Cost (ZTC):

A means of creating student equity, and it refers to a course that uses materials that cost nothing for students. This umbrella term includes: 

  • A course that has no textbook required (NTR), which includes no texts, books, or course materials. The student needs no materials to participate in the course. 
  • A course that uses free, open education resources (OER) or creative commons/public domain materials. Students are offered materials that are free to the public. 
  • A course that has materials that were purchased through other means (i.e. offered freely by the instructor, purchased through grants or campus funding and/or library resources). Caveat: There must be more than enough free copies of materials for every student within this course to receive the materials for free (no "limited offer" or "first come first served" on zero cost). 

ZTC-"Instructional textbooks for the zero textbook cost degree program pathway must be zero-cost. Discretionary student printing of instructional materials shall not be considered a cost as part of this program (e.g. The student chooses to print the open education resource material on their personal printer). There are some fees allowed for materials in certain classes like a materials kit used in a cosmetology course."

"Open educational resources (OER) are freely accessible, openly licensed documents and media that may be useful for teaching, learning, assessing, and research. OER are used in various learning settings including online, face-to-face, and blended, as well as structured learning environments such as college courses and self-paced, student-driven learning."

Source: Educause 2020 Strategic Technologies Glossary

About the Zero Cost Textbook Initiative & Open Educational Resources

Chaffey College • 5885 Haven Avenue, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91737 - 3002 • 909/652-6000
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