Frequently Asked Questions

Q:  What is a Textbook Cost: $0 class?
A:  A Textbook Cost: $0 class is the designation for a class that does not require students to purchase any course materials out of pocket.  Course materials include textbooks, bundled access codes, supplemental readings, etc.  Classes may use a variety of Open Educational Resources (OERs), online resources, library resources, and faculty-authored materials to replace commercially-produced textbooks. As long as a student has the option of downloading the textbook for free and not pay for a print copy, it is still “zero cost”.

Q:  So, there is no textbook? 
A:  Not necessarily. It could be:

  1. There is no required textbook for the class but course materials are no-cost and freely accessible, or
  2. The textbook may be an electronic book either freely accessible or available via the library.

Q:  What is the purpose behind this designation?
A:  Commercial textbook prices have increased by 1041% since 1977–three times faster than the overall inflation rate over the same time-period.  The cost of higher education keeps increasing and one way faculty can have a direct positive impact on relieving this burden on students is by eliminating textbook costs.  The Open Educational Resources (OER) movement enables faculty to adopt high-quality, no-cost textbooks and other course materials in place of expensive commercial textbooks.  The Textbook Cost: $0 designation gives students the ability to make informed choices that have the potential to reduce their educational costs.

Q:  Who designates a class as Textbook Cost: $0?
A:  Faculty are responsible for self-designating their classes as Textbook Cost: $0.

Q:  How do I designate my class Textbook Cost: $0?
A:  Both Leeward CC and Kapi‘olani CC ask instructors to notify their Division or Department Secretary of this designation.

Q:  Does anyone verify that Textbook Cost: $0 classes are indeed classes that do not require students to purchase textbooks and other course materials?
A:  No.  This is a voluntary designation initiated by the instructor.  Instructors designating a class Textbook Cost: $0 are stating in writing that students will not have to purchase any course materials required for the successful completion of their class.  It is the responsibility of an instructor to ensure that their class meets the definition of Textbook Cost: $0.

Q:  Where does the Textbook Cost: $0 designation appear?
A:  The “Textbook Cost: $0” appears on the ‘Check Class Availability’ list website at the beginning of the Comments field for the class.  To identify Textbook Cost: $0 classes press Ctrl F to open a search box.  Enter search Textbook Cost to highlight Textbook Cost: $0 classes on the page.

Q:  Would some of these Textbook Cost: $0 classes still require payment for Access Codes to online learning material like homework, exercises, additional reading, MyMathLab, MyWritingLab, etc.?
A:  No.  Textbook Cost: $0 designated classes must use only course materials that are freely available to students from the first day of class.

Q:  How do I get my campus to allow me to designate my class Textbook Cost: $0?
A:  For Kapi‘olani CC, contact Sunny for more information. For other campuses, contact an administrator, a member of the faculty senate, a librarian, or an educational technologist on your campus.  They will direct you or will put you in touch with someone who can help you with designating your course as Textbook Cost: $0.

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