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What is the difference between ZTC and OER?

ZTC stands for Zero Textbook Costs and when a class is designated as ZTC it means that students will pay no additional fees for learning materials for this course. However, ZTC does not mean all learning materials in the course are open or free. Examples: ebooks or streaming videos the college library has purchased that are available through library databases to currently enrolled students.

OER stands for Open Educational Resources. These are open and free meaning anyone can access them for free online. They are often availble to edit, remix, rework, etc. All OER are ZTC.

The goal of CRCs OER Award Program is to create ZTC courses. This can be done using a combination of both OER and other copyrighted material (including library books, ebooks, articles, etc.). The award is designed to compensate faculty for the work it will take to update their courses to move away from commercial-based learning materials that must be purchased by the student. Examples of these might include: textbooks published by academic publishers (e.g. Pearson, Cengage, etc.), commercial-based homework systems (e.g. MyLab Math), workbooks, etc.

the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges Open Educational Resources Initiative has done a great webinar on this topic: Clearing Up Confusion: OER, ZTC, and Fair Use (recorded on 3/12/2021).


CC License

These questions and answers were written by Andi Adkins Pogue and are licensed under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license.