Students save money in KPU’s novel ZTC program, or ‘Zero Textbook Cost’

December 19, 2020
Education
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Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Zero Textbook Cost (ZTC) initiative has saved students more than $2 million during remote learning this year, according to KPU officials.

The ZTC initiative offers students the opportunity to choose from nearly 850 courses in an academic year “without spending a cent on textbooks,” says Dr. Rajiv Jhangiani, the university’s acting vice provost, Teaching and Learning.

Jhangiani recently won the Emerging Leader Award from the international Open Education Awards for Excellence. He heads the ZTC initiative at KPU, believed to be the first program of its kind in Canada.

The initiative was launched in the spring of 2018, with more than 45,000 students now involved. Details are posted to kpu.ca/open/ztc, which includes the tag line, “All the credit, without the cost of books.”

In ZTC’s first semester, 75 faculty participated. Since then, a total of 419 faculty members have offered ZTC courses and saved students over $5.2 million, says Urooj Nizami, an open education strategist at KPU.

The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the value of open educational resources when it comes to affordability and flexibility, Nizami says in a news release about ZTC.

“Open education resources allow students to circumvent the high costs of commercial textbooks while offering instructors a smoother transition to online instruction, knowing that copyright and fair dealing matters have already been navigated,” she says. “At KPU we’re lucky to have many faculty advocates, the library, and the Office of Open Education who all shine a bright light on the possibilities these resources provide.”

In ZTC’s first semester, 75 faculty participated. Since then, 419 faculty members have offered ZTC courses and saved students over $5.2 million, according to Nizami.

Looking ahead, more than 420 of those courses will be offered in the spring 2021 semester, the most in a single semester since the initiative was launched.

KPU has five campuses located in Surrey, Richmond and Langley.

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