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ZTC/OER Basics: Extra Resources

A basic guide to help fellow librarians, students, faculty and staff diving into the world of Zero Cost Textbook Courses (ZTC) and Open Education Resources (OER)


Below you will find resources from our library, other helpful websites and helpful tips for librarians. 

Librarian Extra Tips


Although librarians should also pay attention to these 5 guidelines it is also important to remember that you are supporting the faculty member who is building the course. Here are some tips I have found helpful in my work. 

  1. Listen to faculty who ask for help building OER. Conduct a reference interview and be sure to get a clear picture of what the faculty member wants. Sometimes they won't know and that's ok just conduct a broad search, share you findings and that will help narrow it down for future searching. 
  2. Set boundaries. Remember that the faculty are the content experts and do  not try and do more than help find useful resources. You should not be editing OER for faculty or be evaluating the subject material. You are looking for the types of materials that faculty want. 
  3. Lean on OER sites that come from .edu/.org or other academic library libguides. Be cautious when searching for OER. There are many databases out there are the same. Searching through OER sites created by colleges/universities such as OpenStax (Rice), Oasis( U of ILL.) or Merlot (CSULB) can weed out some of the more questionable resources. 
  4. Most OER is intended to be changed. There are OER with restrictive licenses (that can only be freely shared) but most are intended to be changed so when searching remember you don't always have to find an exact match for what a faculty member would like. Many OER are base materials meaning that they are bland, small or a bit out of date because it makes it easier for other faculty to come in an make it their own. 
  5. Be realistic with faculty. Although there is plenty of OER available that does not mean that there are perfect resources for every department or class. It is important that you make sure faculty members understand that they will have to spend time either adapting other works or creating their own (sometimes creating their own work from notes and previous lessons is much easier than trying to edit older content) and it will be time consuming. Sometimes this can be one of the biggest obstacles for gathering and evaluating OER for faculty but listen to their needs and do the best you can. 
  6. Make sure to keep why ZTC is important at the forefront of your conversation with faculty. Creating ZTC courses is an equity project that can help lift heavy financial burdens off students giving them a greater chance to succeed. OER materials that can be adapted can also be changed to be more representative of minority and marginalized students. For example if you were creating a new science textbook you could swap out pictures of white male scientists for female and scientists of color showing a greater representation in the field and allowing all your students to feel seen. Keep this mission of helping all students at the forefront when talking about ZTC with faculty 

Resources (In MC Library)

Future Oportunities

Cal OER August 3-5, 2022 (Online)


Registration is now open and the deadline to submit a proposal for Cal OER is June 6. Review the Call for Proposals and then access the 2022 Cal OER Conference: Presentation Proposal Submission Form. To learn more about Cal OER, visit the Cal OER website.

OERI Discipline Events – May 2022 

Computer Science, Administration of Justice, Ethnic Studies, Composition & Rhetoric, Art History/World Cultures Collection, Chemistry/Online Homework Solutions, French, Math, Physics

OERI: Amplifying Student Voices

Friday, May 13, 10:30 am -11:30 am, Register