7 Zero Textbook Cost Degree Workplan

Ann Ludbrook and Ryerson University

What Type of Zero Textbook Cost Degree are you Creating? 

Will your Zero Textbook Cost (ZTC) Degree consist of all OER materials? Do you have grant money if already existing OER is not available to create new resources if you can’t find suitable existing OER? If you are including library material do you have an existing E-Reserve system at your institution you can draw on, or staff in the Library that can help create links to library e-resources? Do you have a relationship with instructional designers on campus? Having funds to start a ZTC Degree and having relationships in place with the library and/or a Learning and Teaching office can help with a establishing a program.

Grants & OER Creation

ZTC Degree Grants can be an important way to attract instructor/subject expert interest in transitioning their course to a ZTC Course. Grants can be smaller for zero-cost course transitions if already existing OER materials are suitable, and larger if new OER needs to be created or adapted. Multimedia resources may be more expensive to create so if you are transitioning online courses and plan to produce streaming content for example, your grant amounts may need to be higher.

Identify a Program 

Most often a program will be identified by a cluster of instructors who are interested in using OER. Sometimes identification can be based on a high enrolment program/or specialized program that is identified as an institutional priority. If you have access to bookstore records you can also start identifying a program by looking at the number of textbooks you might need to replace. Communicating with departmental stakeholders is key in the identification of a good department to start with.

Identify the Zero Cost Textbook Courses to Transition

Putting a grant call out for interested instructors/subject experts can be a great way to identify courses to transition to zero-cost. That way you attract instructors that are already interested in the idea of transitioning their courses. All required courses will need to be transitioned to zero-cost in a ZTC Degree, so for these courses you may want to start with specifically targeted grants for these courses or course sections.

Discovering already existing OERs

Librarians can be great allies in the implementation of a ZTC Degree. They start by helping with the discovery of existing OERs. If you plan to use library resources they understand the licensing of e-resources and what can be used in teaching, they can help with providing E-Reserve or course reading list linking, and they can help with the discovery of scholarly e-resources and e-books.

Creation and Publishing Support for OER

One great way to start with new OER creation is a meeting with an instructional designer and the subject expert. That way the pedagogy of the new course is front and centre of the project. Your campus may already have some publishing support for OER projects, or you may need to create a service. Your library may already have some publishing supports in place, or OER publishing may be supported by a Learning and Teaching office for example, or Distance Education. If you are creating multimedia resources, you may need to collaborate with your e-learning or digital media department.

Branding and Promotion

You may want to create a branding strategy for your ZTC Degree that works well for your institution if the terms “Zed Cred” or “Z-Degree” don’t resonate on your campus. As well you may want to work with your institutions marketing department to create web pages and social media marketing strategies to promote your initiative.

Print Copies

Collaborating with the bookstore should be part of your work plan if you are adopting OER textbooks, as some students prefer print.

Zero Textbook Degree Marking in Course Calendars

While some institutions publish a website of ZTC Courses, ideally you may want to mark the ZTC Course and/or course sections in the online registration of your institution so students can find ZTC courses more easily. In some cases marking of OER courses may already be in place because of state mandates so adding zero-cost courses may follow a similar workflow. A Texas Toolkit for OER Course Markings was created last year for a SPARC OER Leadership capstone and gives advice about to set up marking of OER courses in registration systems.[1]

Onboarding Teaching Staff

You need to have a communication strategy in place for on boarding any new instructors and staff each term. This could be automated, or sent out by academic or program coordinators. If you have a wide-spread institutional program you may want to place information about ZTC Degree programs in any instructor handbooks or other larger on boarding documents.

More Resources:

An excellent overview of one institutions grant and collaboration plan for a Zero Textbook Cost Degree is outlined on the Mesa Community College website.[2]

  1. Reed. M. (2018). Texas Toolkit for OER Course Markings (a living guide): Examples. Libguide. The University of Texas at Arlington. Retrieved from https://libguides.uta.edu/TXtoolkit/examples
  2. Mesa Community College. (n.d.). Z Degree. Retrieved from https://ctl.mesacc.edu/teaching/z-degree/


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Zero Textbook Cost Degree Workplan Copyright © by Ann Ludbrook and Ryerson University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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