What is ZTC?
Zero Textbook Costs means that your students will pay nothing for required textbooks, workbooks, lab manuals, readers, or specialized software like online homework systems. There is a state law (SB 1359) that requires California Community Colleges to identify Zero Textbook Costs course sections.
The definition does not include supplemental materials that are required to successfully complete the course. Examples of supplemental materials are lab coats and kits, goggles, calculators, blue books, scantron forms, art supplies, etc. If you are using an Open Educational Resource or other free instructional materials, but still require your students to have supplemental materials like those listed above, you can still get the ZTC symbol in the course schedule.
There are two steps to take in order to designate your course as ZTC.
- Fill out the Zero Textbook Costs Form. This form goes to the instruction office where a specialist will update the class schedule and eServices. It may take a few days from the time you submit the form to when the information becomes live on the website.
- Alert the bookstore that you are using OER or that no textbooks are required. This information is linked from the class schedule and eServices and helps give your students a complete picture of required materials for the course. This slideshow walks you through the steps: Using Follett Discover to report OER materials to the bookstore.
The college is currently offering faculty a stipend (up to $5000) to do the difficult work that’s necessary to convert a course to ZTC. Even if you’ve done this work in previous semesters, you still qualify for the award. Find details and resources on these sites:
Courses that require students to pay $40 or less for all required instructional materials will get the low-cost symbol applied in the class schedule and eServices. All LRCCD colleges agreed upon the following guidelines to determine which sections qualify for the low-cost designation.
- Instructional materials include required textbooks, workbooks, lab manuals, readers, or specialized websites or software like online homework systems. The definition does not apply to supplemental items such lab coats and kits, goggles, a calculator, blue books, scantron forms, art supplies, etc.
- The designation is based on the pre-tax retail price of new materials in the CRC Bookstore only. It does not apply to the price of used or rental books or ebooks available through the CRC Bookstore or any other bookseller.
- A section that uses free digital materials, but requires students to print some or all of the course materials may be designated as Low Cost if the printing costs can be reasonably expected to be under $40.
The LCT symbol (a dollar sign in a down arrow) will be applied to all courses that meet the LCT definition. This will be determined by examining the textbook adoption information that faculty supply to Follett (the college bookstore). If the new price of all required instructional materials are $40 or less, the LCT symbol will automatically be applied to the course section. Faculty don’t need to self-report or fill out a form other than reporting textbook adoptions to Follett. This slideshow walks you through the steps: Using Follett Discover to report commercial textbook adoptions to the bookstore.
Help alleviate anxiety by giving students a full picture of required instructional materials before your classes begin. The CRC Bookstore requests that you report your textbook adoptions (even if you’re using OER) through Follett Discover each semester. This closes the loop for your students by making the information available as a link from the schedule section details and directly on the bookstore website. These slideshows walk you through the process:
If the college purchased a class set of textbooks or ebook licenses for required texts, should I still report these to the bookstore?
The short answer is no. This might confuse students and lead them to purchase books that they have free access to through the library or in your classroom. Instead, use Follett Discover to report that no textbooks are required. Then, explain to students in Canvas or on the first day of class how they can access the required materials and let them know they are still free to purchase these items if they would like their own personal copy to keep.
Point to the Website
Once the symbols are applied to course sections, students can easily filter these designations in a class search. Details about definitions and how to search both the online class schedule and eServices are available on the main CRC website. Feel free to share this page on CRC's main website with students: Zero Textbook Costs.
In Your Course Syllabus
Your students deserve to know all the hard work you’ve done to help alleviate costs and close equity gaps by converting your course(s) to ZTC. Some faculty are sharing this with a short statement on their syllabi. If you’d like to do the same, here is sample wording:
This is a Zero Textbook Costs course. That means all required instructional materials are free! Students will not have to purchase a textbook and everyone will have access to required course materials on day one. I will provide links and materials through our Canvas course.