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Guidelines for Designating a Course Section with the “ZERO Textbook Cost” (ZTC/OER) Attribute

  • ZTC/OER course sections are those that do not require students to purchase a textbook.
  • ZTC/OER designated course sections may include recommended books, library materials, or materials provided at no cost by the instructor. Students may be asked to print out materials, if the materials are provided free of charge.
  • ZTC/OER designated courses need only be free of cost for textbooks. ZERO designated courses may include costs for supplies, a homework system, or a platform for hosting materials (provided it is relatively low cost).
  • Any course section meeting this criterion and listed in the CUNYfirst schedule of classes is eligible. This includes Fully Online, Hybrid, In Person, Online, Partially Online, and Web-Enhanced.
  • Course sections (classes) are assigned the ZTC/OER attribute independently. Courses may have ZTC\OER designated sections as well as non-ZTC-designated sections, depending on the materials chosen by each section’s instructor.
  • Courses that consist of linked sections (e.g., lecture + labs) may have the ZTC\OER designation applied to whichever sections do not require purchase of a book. A course may have a ZTC/OER designated lab section, but require a textbook for the lecture section, for example.
  • To designate a course section as ZTC/OER, follow the standard departmental procedures for assigning a course attribute. In most cases, that’s notifying an appointed coordinator or your chairperson, who will then inform the registrar.
  • In addition, if your college uses Akademos, please be sure to check the “No textbook required” box if you are using ZTC/OER materials.
  • Please ensure that designations are in place in time for students to consider course costs, please designate your course as ZTC/OER within two weeks of the call for book orders.
  • If you miss this deadline, please retroactively code your courses so that they are counted in CUNY OAA’s end-of-year OER reporting to New York State.