Skyline College recognizes the continued high cost of textbooks as a barrier that impacts student success. Although there are some Skyline College faculty who utilize zero-textbook cost (ZTC) materials and/or open educational resources (OER), the vast majority use traditional textbooks. Inability to afford textbooks and course materials is an equity issue and it can be addressed through ZTC & OER adoption.

Skyline College's goal is to promote ZTC & OER awareness and ongoing support for faculty to encourage ZTC & OER adoption. Download the full list of current courses at Skyline that offer ZTC or OER sections.

What does ZTC mean for Skyline Students?

In short, a free (often) digital copy of the learning resources will be provided to all students in the sections, however students may have to pay for lab materials or required supplies, like clay, paint, goggles or calculators.

The State has established parameters for what constitutes “zero-textbook-cost”:

  • If all assigned textbooks are optional for the section
  • If all assigned textbooks are identified as Open Educational Resource (OER) or Zero-Textbook Cost (ZTC) textbooks
  • If there is no assigned textbook
  • If the assigned textbooks (including course readers) are available online for free (i.e. through library databases) AND students are not required to buy a physical copy. 

YES - Lab materials or required supplies are not considered a textbook cost. If a course section meets the parameters above and requires a materials fee – then the section WOULD qualify as zero textbook cost.

NO - If students need to pay fees to access a software platform to do coursework or homework, this counts as a cost. The course section would NOT qualify.

Why choose ZTC & OER classes?

Zero-Textbook Cost courses, or ZTC, can benefit students in a variety of ways.  Some of primary benefits include:

  • Significant Cost Savings - Students know how expensive and cost-prohibitive textbooks can be.  ZTC & OER provides no-cost or low-cost course materials, that can make higher education accessible and affordable for everyone.

  • Flexible - ZTC & OER provide flexibility for all learning styles.  Students have the option of electronic content, or they can print a hard copy of the material.  In addition, the same material can be presented in multiple ways using print, audio, video, and interactive technology.  This flexibility is a result of the shared nature of the content, as instructors or institutions do not have to pay to use each variation of the content.  Instructors can also modify or customize the material to best suit the needs of their students, and embody the nature of their course.

Find ZTC and/or OER Courses

Locate ZTC and OER courses in SMCCD Webschedule [insert short video]

Courses designated as ZTC or OER eliminate conventional textbook costs by using alternative instructional materials and methodologies, including open educational resources.

ZTC Webschedule Screenshot

Zero-textbook cost logo= ZERO TEXTBOOK COST. Courses use alternative instructional materials and methodologies, including open educational resources, to eliminate conventional textbook costs.


Open Educational Resources Logo

= LOW COST OER CLASS Open educational resources to eliminate conventional textbook costs.



Download the full list of current courses at Skyline that offer ZTC or OER sections.

Skyline College offers one new ZTC Degree Pathway

The Zero Textbook Cost (ZTC) Degree program is one of the Open Educational Resources (OER) initiatives to improve teaching, learning, and accessibility for all learners at California Higher Education institutions. Skyline is one of 20 California Community Colleges to be awarded the Implementation Phase II RFA for 2017/18.  

ZTC Degree Pathways are offered in:

  • Respiratory Care, A.S. The Respiratory AS ZTC pathway begin serving students in Fall 2018. ZTC sections are also be available for the degree’s prerequisite courses in other fields.

ZTC Resources for Students

Open Textbook Alliance