Skyline College received close to $150,000 from the Zero Textbook Cost Degree – Implementation Phase II 2017/18 program awarded by the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office. The Zero Textbook Cost (ZTC) Degree program aims to reduce barrier costs for education and the time it takes for students to complete degree and certificate programs.

The California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office defines a ZTC program as “a community college associate degree or career technical education certificate earned entirely by completing courses with no cost textbooks. The program uses alternative instructional materials and methodologies, including educational resources.” Alternative instructional materials are referred to as “Open Educational Resources” (OER) materials.

Skyline College proposed an implementation plan for its Associate of Science (AS) degree in Respiratory Care to become a ZTC program. This degree was identified as a priority program due to its high unit requirements for major completion, high textbook costs, and high demand from students. Additionally, the Respiratory AS degree is one of only 19 Respiratory Care California Community College programs across the state.

The development of the ZTC pathway will leverage and build on planning activities through an existing President’s Innovation Fund grant for the Open and Affordable Textbooks project ($25,000) and the existing multi-member Steering Committee for the Respiratory Care Bachelors’ of Science of Pilot Program to ensure the better alignment of work and leveraging of existing OER materials. A ZTC Community of Practice that includes faculty from Respiratory Care and prerequisite courses, college, administrators and other content-focused staff will guide ZTC content development and work together to accomplish the following objectives:

  • Identify, develop, and compile OER materials;
  • Review, refine, and adopt OER materials; and
  • Publish and pilot OER materials to be prepared for student enrollment in January 2019.

The Respiratory AS degree program will serve 25 students per cohort beginning in spring 2019, serving approximately 125 degree students over a three-year period after implementation begins. ZTC sections will also be available for the degree’s prerequisite courses in other fields, serving an estimated 350 additional students per year.

To learn more about OER and Zero Textbook Cost activities at Skyline College, join us for on campus activities during Open Education Week, March 5-8th, 2018.


Article by Mara Mahmood, Jim Houpis, & Bianca Rowden-Quince



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