Skip to main content

Open Educational Resources (OER)

This guide is an introduction to Open Educational Resources (OER) and efforts to lower student textbook and course material costs at CCC.

What is an LCT (Low-cost text) course?

Low-cost text (LCT) courses have required text costs of $40 or less. LCT is a designation that appears in the CCC course schedule next to course sections that have required text costs of $40 or less.

Included in the cost calculations are: required textbooks and other text-based materials, workbooks, lab manuals, online homework software (e.g. MyMathLab, etc.), and codes or publisher-provided curricular materials for students. Printing costs are not included, unless a printed version is required for the course.

Excluded from the cost calculations are: art supplies, calculators, software, course and student fees or equipment, and optional costs.


  • How is LCT different from OER?
  • LCT is a course designation unique to Clackamas Community College although it fulfills a statewide mandate to be transparent in textbook costs.. Not all LCT courses use OER, but adopting OER is one method to make your course LCT.

    OER are any type of educational materials that are in the public domain or introduced with an open (Creative Commons) license. Adopting OER for your class can result in your course section being designated as LCT.

  • What materials are included/excluded in Low-cost calculations? 
  • Below is a table listing commonly-used course materials. The table will help you identify material to include or exclude as you calculate the cost of course materials for your course.

    Included Excluded
    Textbooks (print and electronic) Printing costs associated with printing a required low cost or free eBook (if the student prefers a printed version)
    Workbooks, lab manuals, and other "one time use" printed or electronic material Computer software used across classes and outside of school (e.g., MS Office Suite, Adobe Photoshop)
    Online homework software (e.g., MyMathLab) Calculators
    One-time use codes (e.g., access code used to take the online StrengthsFinder 2.0) Optional or variable cost items (e.g., theater tickets, art supplies, safety equipment, "recommended" readings)
      Course and student fees
  • My textbook is used over multiple terms/courses. If I use an over-$40 textbook but it is required for three terms of sequential classes (e.g., PSY101, 102, 103), are the other two terms be LCT? Or what if the cost evens out to being less than $40 per term over three terms?
  • No. Each course is treated individually, and if that course requires a text costing over $40, it is not LCT. The reasoning behind this is that 1) students cannot purchase the textbook on a payment plan over three terms (thus lowering the cost for each term), 2) there is no guarantee the student will take all the courses 3) there is no guarantee that the text will not change/update between terms. State policy is explicit in its exclusion of this multi-term-same-textbook scenario.
  • Can classes where a NEW copy of the text/materials is over $40 but a used and/or rental option is less than $40 be designated LCT?
  • We can include those courses if the only options available in the bookstore to students are under $40.  So, if the bookstore has enough rentals and/or used copies for each student in the class and the faculty communicates that this is how students should obtain the book (not the new copy), then I suppose we could include it as an LCT course.  But, if there are going to be new copies of the book at the bookstore, then it’s a no.
  • My required textbook is less than $40 but there are additional costs associated with my course that vary based on the student's choice. These variable costs could make the overall cost of the course materials exceed $40. Does my course count as low-cost?
  • Yes, but be mindful of these variable costs. Variable cost course material (like theater tickets, art supplies, safety equipment) are not included in low-cost course material cost calculations. In order to keep overall costs lower for your students, it is your responsibility to educate your students about lower-cost options. Consider sharing a list of lower-cost options for variable cost course material with your students.
  • Classes where materials/texts are “recommended” but not “required” – are we just looking at the “required” costs?PSY101, 102, 103), are the other two terms be LCT? Or what if the cost evens out to being less than $40 per term over three terms?
  • We are just looking at required texts.
  • What about the pedagogical impact of students selecting courses based on economics rather than best teaching practices?
  • Regarding concerns about cost-driven versus instructional/pedagogical student choices, the case probably is that students already make this kind of decision based on existing considerations. In other words, students are (advised to be) deliberate as they sign up for their courses based on program requirements and career choices (Guided Pathways). The selection of courses across departments tends to be primarily driven by curricula/degree/career interest considerations rather than textbook costs. Having said that, the argument that textbook costs will have more of an impact when it comes to student selection of specific sections within single course offerings is valid.
  • What about courses with lecture section & lab section.  If the lab doesn’t require anything, do we designate just the lab as LCT?
  • If students can sign up for the lab without the lecture course, then you can mark it as LCT.  But, if the lecture is a “pre req” or “co req” (doesn’t stand alone as a course a student can enroll in) and the text is more than $40, it is not an LCT course. Labs taken in conjunction with theory courses are to be included in the theory course designation. 

Identify LCT courses

CCC empowers students to lower their out-of-pocket education costs by clearly identifying, at the time of course registration, courses with low-cost course materials. Low-cost courses are identified as such, in the CCC printed and online course schedules, by the following symbol: LCT.

LCT designation in CCC course schedule.

Printed course schedule disclaimer: Clackamas Community College makes every effort to be sure the low-cost courses identified in this printed schedule are accurate at the time of publication. However, please review the online schedule or contact the course instructor for the most up-to-date information on textbook & material costs.

Library Resources as Course Materials

Library materials are not the same thing as OER, bt they can be an important component in solving the problem of high textbook prices. 

From Open Oregon

Clackamas Community College Library - 19600 Molalla Avenue, Oregon City, Oregon 97045
Reference: 503-594-6042     |     |     Circulation: 503-594-6323
Library Hours     |     Moodle     |     myClackamas     |     FAQ
Creative Commons License Except where otherwise noted, content in these research guides is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Link broken? Information need updating? Have website feedback? Please email