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Open Educational Resources (OERs) @ Hostos


Initiative Coordinator

Linda Miles

Assistant Professor, Library

Setting Up "Zero Textbook Cost" Attribution for an OER Course

If your course section is fully OER, you can set up the "Zero textbook course" attribution to display in the CUNYFirst schedule of courses. This way, students know which sections/courses are fully OER.

2 Steps to Designate Your Course ZTC/OER:

1. Notify your course manager, unit coordinator, or your chairperson, who will then inform the registrar.

2. In addition, you must check the “No textbook required” box in Akademos.


  • 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.


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.

Certain courses at Hostos are now "zero textbook cost" courses. They have been designed so that you do not have to buy any books, and instead will read materials that are available for free.

To find these courses in OneSearch, click on "course attribute":

screenshot of dropdown menus in OneSearch

Then scroll down to select "zero textbook cost" from the dropdown menu:

dropdown showing zero textbook cost as selected choice

Many colleges are now looking for alternatives to expensive textbooks, using what are called Open Educational Resources (OER). To learn more about OER projects at Hostos, please see this guide - it was written mainly for faculty, but may also interest you if you are a student interested in learning more. 

Sharing this Information

Creative Commons License
This guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

This guide was adapted, in part, from Lansing Community College's Library Research Guide on Open Educational Resources (OER) by Regina Gong, which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.