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OER and ZTC for Faculty: What are OER?

Faculty Guide on Open Educational Resources (OER) and Zero Textbook Cost (ZTC) classes.

What Are Open Educational Resources (OER)?

There is a lot to learn about Open Educational Resources (OER) and Zero Textbook Costs (ZTC) classes. Here are a few definitions to get you started:

OER - Open Educational Resources (OER) refers to a work's license meaning they have open licenses. This means that the copyright owner retains few if any rights. You can use, reuse, adapt, and distribute however you would like so long as you follow the terms of the license.

ZTC - Zero Textbook Cost (ZTC) refers to the cost of a course. It is used as a course designation and indicates that there is no textbook cost for the course. These courses might use library resources or other free resources that are not OER.

More Definitions of OER 

What Can You Do With OER?

OER are more flexible than traditional textbooks because of their less restrictive licenses. Here are 5 things that you can do with OER in their most open form. For more information about copyright and licensing please see the copyright and licensing section of this guide. 

Retain - the right to make, own, and control copies of the content (e.g., download, duplicate, store, and manage)

Reuse - the right to use the content in a wide range of ways (e.g., in a class, in a study group, on a website, in a video)

Revise - the right to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself (e.g., translate the content into another language)

Remix - the right to combine the original or revised content with other material to create something new (e.g., incorporate the content into a mashup)

Redistribute - the right to share copies of the original content, your revisions, or your remixes with others (e.g., give a copy of the content to a friend)

Contact and More Information

Rachel Arteaga
Reference, Instruction, OER Librarian
ASCCC OERI Liaison for Butte College

Why Use OER?

There are many reasons to use OER in your courses. Here are just a few:

  • Affordable - students save money
  • Flexible - redistribute and reuse content
  • Customizable - revise and remix
  • Up to date - add the latest research, events, information
  • Accessible - can be more accessible than print copies
  • Beneficial to all - knowledge can be freely and widely distributed around the world

Want to know what the research says about OER? Check out The Review Project which “provides a summary of all known empirical research on the impacts of OER adoption .”

Creative Commons License  Unless otherwise noted, this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License