This page contains resources and material for faculty that will assist in the adoption of Openly Licensed material for their courses. 


What is OER and ZTC?

Zero Textbook Costs, known as ZTC textbooks for short, are digital textbooks available for free to students. Many instructors at Evergreen Valley College have chosen to use these textbooks in their classrooms to cut educational costs for students. As textbook prices rise, more and more courses are utilizing ZTC textbooks and OER to provide a free alternative to traditional textbooks.

While all [OER] Open Educational Resources are [ZTC] Zero Textbook Cost materials, not all ZTC materials are OER. In brief: Open Educational Resources are freely and openly available to everyone to retain, reuse, revise, remix, and redistribute. Materials used in zero textbook cost courses are freely available to your students, but neither you nor your students necessarily have the right to modify these materials or share them on the open web.

According to opencontent.org, to be considered "open," educational resources must be free and give users the freedom to do the 5 R's:Image removed.

  1. Retain: make, own and control copies of the content (e.g., download, duplicate, store, manage)
  2. Reuse: use the content in a wide range of ways (e.g., in a class, in a study group, on a website, in a video)
  3. Revise: adapt, adjust, modify or alter the content itself (e.g., translate the content into another language)
  4. Remix: combine the original or revised content with other open content to create something new (e.g., incorporate the content into a mashup)
  5. Redistribute: share copies of the original content, your revisions or your remixes with others (e.g., give a copy of the content to a friend)

This material is based on original writing by David Wiley, which was published freely under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license at http://opencontent.org/definition/.


Benefit for Faculty



  • Academic freedom
  • You are no longer restricted with the use of commercial textbooks – YOU customize the content
  • Real time customization of content – all OER can be easily linked into our Canvas course shells
  • Make a tangible impact on student success
  • Effective alignment of materials with SLOs
  • Increased richness and variety of auxiliary content – keeping content fresh
  • Increase course registration [students are likely to choose courses that offer OER]
  • Equity and Social justice – accessibility for all!

Benefit for Students

  • Cost effective [FREE!]
  • Immediate access on the first day of class 
  • Prepared and ready to go on the first day of class
  • Relevant and current content
  • Less stress over finances
  • No worries about returning rentals
  • No need to lug a book around – everything is accessible on your devices!
  • Levels the playing field – equity! 


Working towards student equity begins with knowing how our students needs can be met. Recent student surveys across the nation reveal the dire need to adopt OER and zero-cost textbooks and material. Here are just a few highlights taken from recent surveys.

  • According to EVC's 2019 Student Survey cost of textbooks was a leading challenge for students to stay in school.

  • In a recent survey conducted by Cengage 81% of students surveyed say easily accessible digital course materials would have a positive impact on their grades"

  • Florida's Office of Distant Learning and Student Services 2018 survey revealed that "64% of students surveyed DO NOT buy the required books"

The Open Educational Group conducts empirical research on the impact of OER adoption. You can also check out the interactive tool called OER Adoption Impact Explorer, from Lumen Learning, to explore some of the ways OER can have an impact on your campus.


There are a robust number of OER repositories which can make it somewhat challenging in the onset. Below you will find a list of top resources to get you started. If you'd like to prime yourself prior to searching here are some excellent references:

Self-paced workshop on How to use Open Educational Resources by Open Washington Guide to Finding OER Textbooks and Working with OER Textbooks by the California OER Council


When considering use of OER it is ideal to assure the material meets particular criteria such as accuracy, relevance, and accessibility to student learning outcomes. Click here for guidelines and quick reference OER Rubric.

Additional resources designed to evaluate OER courses and individual OER course materials:


​Searching an OER repository can result in a faster and more productive search experience since the resources have been curated and organized into various categories including discipline, format, and license type. Most repositories have either peer-reviews or a rating scale where users have shared their perception of or experience using the resource.

There are many excellent OER resources. This selection is based on: ease of use, breadth of content, and how often the repositories are updated.


​Licensing and Fair-Use

As educators it is important to check for copyright and licenses of course material you use. Review the videos to gain insight on Copyrights, Fair-Use, Public Domains and Creative Commons Licenses.


If you need assistance finding or using open educational resources for instruction, please contact:

Angelina Loyola

OER Liaison