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Zero Textbook Cost

This guide is designed for FSCJ faculty to discover learning objects and other open educational resources. Faculty will also find information on adding and uploading content to share with colleagues.

What are Open Educational Resources?

Open Educational Resources (OER) are "teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others."  

From The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation


OER allow users to:

  • Retain -- users have the right to make, archive, and own copies of the content
  • Reuse -- content can be reused in its unaltered form
  • Revise -- content can be adapted, adjusted, modified, and altered
  • Remix -- original or revised content can be combined with other content to create something new
  • Redistribute -- copies of the content can be shared with others in its original, revised or remixed form.


Open Textbooks have been released with an open license (usually a Creative Commons license) which allows them to be copied, shared and revised.

OER Repositories contain more than just open textbooks. They also have other digital learning materials such as:

  • full courses
  • modules
  • syllabi
  • lectures
  • homework assignments
  • quizzes
  • lab activities
  • games
  • simulations

Why OERs Matter?

What does Zero Textbook Cost (ZTC) mean?

Zero Textbook Cost (ZTC) refers to the cost of course materials required by students to succeed in that course. The ZTC course indicator is used as a course designation to inform students that there are no textbook costs required with the course. These ZTC courses are permitted to use library resources or other high-quality, freely available resources as long as there are zero costs for the students’ access and use of these resources.

Open Educational Resources (OER) can benefit students in myriad ways, some of which include:

  • Eliminating the cost of the textbook
  • Ensuring earlier access to course materials
  • Enabling students to engage with course materials when and where they choose

Brandle, Katz, S., Hays, A., Beth, A., Cooney, C., DiSanto, J., Miles, L., & Morrison, A. (2019). But what do the students think: Results of the CUNY cross-campus zero-textbook cost student survey. Open Praxis, 11(1), 85–101. 


Zero Textbook Cost (ZTC) Courses at FSCJ

The Zero Textbook Cost (ZTC) course indicator is a designation within the Online Course Catalog that courses receive when the course section requires course materials at no cost to students.

To find ZTC courses in the FSCJ online course catalog, review the materials below:

OpenStax Tutor - Announcement

Announcement: OpenStax Tutor Discontinuing, but support and resources remain available.  

Our current faculty and student users of OpenStax Tutor are our top priority as we transition away from this offering and toward an expanded set of course materials. The transition plan includes a phased approach for each subject. Because each course in OpenStax Tutor varies, faculty using OpenStax Tutor will receive specific instructions on how to transition their course and the resources available to them. The transition will follow the general timeline below, and current OpenStax Tutor users will receive specific information via email to support their course’s transition.

Fall 2022

  • All OpenStax Tutor subjects remain available
  • New users may still adopt OpenStax Tutor
  • Life Science instructors are invited to participate in a new product development guidance and feedback process
  • 1:1 consultations with OpenStax team members on how to best transition will begin

Spring 2023

  • The first of our new expanded offerings will be available for the Life Sciences and instructors will be invited to pilot these new offerings
  • OpenStax Tutor will only be available for faculty who signed up during or before Fall 2022
  • 1:1 consultations with OpenStax team members will continue

Additional information:

  • We will continue to expand and improve our course materials across a wide array of subjects beyond Life Sciences. If you are a faculty member, please sign up here to be informed and/or involved with the development process, or to receive email updates on the development of new course materials.
  • OpenStax will continue to adhere to all privacy guidelines; student data will be protected per our typical process.
  • Instructors who have questions regarding preservation of information from OpenStax Tutor courses are invited to coordinate with us through our customer service team at

The team at OpenStax is here to help with this transition and, as always, we deeply value your input and questions. You may contact our customer service team at, or me personally at with any questions, concerns, comments, or wonderings. It is our privilege to serve you and your students.

This guide is adapted from "OER: Open Educational Resources" by Los Angeles Valley City Library and is licensed under CC BY NC SA.