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Textbook Affordability and 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?

At CCC, low-cost text (LCT) courses have a required course material cost of $40 or less. LCT appears as a designation in the CCC course schedule next to course sections that meet the LCT course material cost requirement.

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.

LCT FAQ

How is LCT different from OER?

  • LCT is a course designation. 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 qualify for LCT designation.

  • 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 the text costs more than $40 but it is required for three sequential classes (e.g., PSY101, 102, 103), are the last two terms considered LCT? What if the cost evens out to being less than $40 per term over three terms?

  • No, each course is treated individually. If your course materials cost over $40, it does not qualify for LCT designation even if those course materials are used in other courses. The reasoning behind this is as follows: 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.

A new copy of the text/materials for my course is over $40, but a used and/or rental option is less than $40. Does that qualify my course for LCT designation?

  • Maybe. If your students' only option for purchasing the text/materials in the bookstore is under $40, then yes. If the bookstore is selling new copies that cost more than $40, 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.

Materials/texts for my course are “recommended” but not “required” – are we just looking at the “required” costs?

  • LCT designation is determined by the cost of required materials/texts.

What about the pedagogical impact of students selecting courses based on economics rather than best teaching practices?

  • Students should be able to make informed decisions regarding the cost of their education. In fact, Oregon HB 2919 sets expectations for public institutions of higher educations to provide students with projected course material costs at the time of registration. At the same time, students are (advised to be) deliberate as they sign up for their courses based on program requirements and career choices (Guided Pathways). Students' selection of courses across departments tends to be primarily driven by curricula/degree/career interest considerations rather than textbook costs.

What about courses with a lecture section and a 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 it can qualify for the LCT designation.  But, if the lecture is a “pre req” or “co req” 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

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