What is ZTC?
ZTC stands for zero textbook cost. In the 2021-2022 timetable, ZTC has been added as an attribute.
ZTC courses include courses using library-licensed materials, publicly available materials, works in the public domain, Open Educational Resources (OER), and Open Access publications. This attribute will also be used for labs, clinicals, or seminars with no required resources.
The most important feature of ZTC courses is that there is no cost for students to access the required course resources.
What are the benefits of adding ZTC to the RDP timetable?
The creation of a ZTC attribute allows Red Deer Polytechnic to leverage existing courses and encourage the creation of additional courses with zero textbook cost.
- Student enrollment. According to the University of Alberta’s Students’ Union (UASU) recent student surveys, 15.7% of students have selected courses purely based on textbook costs, and 94% of students have taken measures to avoid textbook costs. The addition of a ZTC attribute improves student enrollment by showcasing the reduced costs associated with ZTC courses.
- Student retention. Approximately 11% of the price of an undergraduate degree is textbook costs (Stats Can, 2019; Maclean’s, 2018); this cost is disproportionately felt by first-year students, possibly leading to a reduced retention rate. Dropped courses can have a direct bearing on tuition, and even a modest reduction in dropped courses could make a noticeable difference in revenue.
- Faculty recognition. Many ZTC courses are currently offered at Red Deer Polytechnic, but there is no formal recognition or designation for these courses.
- Equality. The cost of course materials disproportionately impacts low-income students. Additionally, a pandemic-time study conducted by Statistics Canada found that 48% of students with a job reported either losing their job or being temporarily laid off. Through the creation of a ZTC attribute, Red Deer Polytechnic can leverage affordable learning resources and solutions during a time of financial hardship while simultaneously promoting equitable access to course content and providing better outcomes within courses for students.
How does this impact me as an instructor?
Prior to the timetable's publication in April, you may be asked to identify if your course can be considered to be zero textbook cost (ZTC).
After the timetable is published and viewable to students, this attribute should not be removed. Students may make decisions about enrollment based on the ZTC attribute, and it is unfair to these students if the ZTC attribute is removed after they have already enrolled.