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OER & ZTC: Open Educational Resources and Zero Textbook Cost Options

A guide for faculty and students about OER and ZTC at Pasadena City College

ZTC = Zero Textbook Cost

In order for a section to be designated as a "ZTC (Zero-Textbook-Cost) class" it must fulfill one of the following requirements:

1. All required textbooks and readings for the class can be accessed online by students for free (ex: OER textbooks, library ebooks).

2. There are no required textbooks for the class (textbooks might be recommended, but not required).


Other considerations:

  • Lab materials or required supplies are not considered a textbook cost, so if a course section meets the parameters noted above, but do require a materials fee – then the section WOULD qualify as a ZTC class. 
  • If students need to pay fees to access a software platform to do coursework or homework, this counts as a textbook cost.  The course section would NOT qualify.


Requirements for ZTC Designations in class schedules


On January 1, 2018, California made it a requirement for all Community Colleges and California State Universities to identify in its class schedule which sections use zero-textbook-cost materials so that students would know which classes have textbooks that are available online for free through SB-1359.

In addition to SB 1359, California Community College began building ZTC pathways with grant funding from the State.  These grants required that those sections that did not have a required textbook or were using materials freely available to students as textbooks to also be identified in the class schedule so students could register appropriately for those classes. 

Following both requirements from the grants and State legislature, all course sections with zero-textbook-cost options are labeled as such in our class schedule.