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OER (Open Educational Resource)

Guide for faculty who would like to use OER materials

Zero Textbook Cost

Zero Textbook Cost (ZTC) classes have no textbook-related costs, including access fees for online materials.  Such classes often use Open Educational Resources (OER) created under the Creative Commons (a public copyright license) that give people the ability to share, use, and build upon a work that has been created. They may also use class copies, library e-books, class sets of books, journals, open access materials, or other sources so there is no cost to the student. (Please be aware that copyrighted materials must be used with permission or licensing. Please see a librarian if you have any questions regarding the ethical use of copyrighted materials.)


Class sections at RCCD are designated as being ZTC if they meet the following:

  • All materials are optional for the section.
  • Assigned materials are identified as OER textbooks
  • A for-cost (print) option is acceptable as long as a no-cost option is available to all students.
  • The assigned textbooks (including course readers) are available for in-print or online for free for the duration of the class (e.g. library e-books/database content or class contents) AND students are not required to buy a physical copy or access to an electronic version.
  • The library offers free access to textbooks, course readers, or other sources that require institutional access.
  • Library resources are used for a class, all students in the class must be able to simultaneously access the resources (please contact your guided pathways librarian for help determining the user licensing).
  • There is no assigned textbook.


Materials that can be considered part of the ZTC:

  • textbooks and other text-based materials
  • workbooks or lab manuals
  • homework platforms and codes and/or codes and/or publisher provided curricular materials for students


Materials that are excluded from ZTC:

  • standard supplies (e.g. pencils/paper/blue books)
  • calculators
  • class fees
  • required printing and copying
  • necessary learning materials such as musical instruments, art supplies, camera equipment and other such materials that have continuing
  • and lasting value beyond the class term


*All course materials must be legally licensed or purchased for student use. (See board policy 2750)