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Open Educational Resources (OER) at ACC


Open Educational Resources (OER) are low-cost or free teaching, learning, and research resources in the public domain or released with an open license. They include a variety of content and formats from textbooks to simulations to assessment tools.

Typically, OER can be combined or adapted by the faculty member to suit their teaching needs and methods. In addition to the pedagogical advantages of allowing faculty to assemble the resources they choose to create diverse learning environments for students, OER can also help lower the cost of education for students, thereby increasing access.

The widespread adoption of OER at an institutional level began in 2016. Most recently, in Fall 2021, 956 ZTC/OER course sections were offered, benefiting more than 17,000 students.



Did you Know?

From Spring 2017 through Fall 2021, faculty who have adopted ZTC/OER materials for their courses have saved ACC students an estimated $12 million dollars!

Why use OER?

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OER supports a future where students and faculty have free unfettered access to high-quality educational resources that can be easily adapted to create student-centered classrooms. Using OER can provide tremendous cost savings for students while improving student success and completion rates.

Faculty using OER enjoy great freedom in selecting course materials that they customize to fit the specific needs of their students and the goals of their courses. Since most OER permit adaptation, educators are free to edit, remix, and openly share OER materials.

What are Z-Degree Classes?

The development of courses with no textbook costs, often referred to as “Z-Courses” (Zero Textbook-Cost Courses), is one of Austin Community College’s strategic initiatives in an effort to increase access and lower the student debt ratio for graduates. Learn about the General Studies degree that can be mapped out to the Z-Degree pathway. Students may consult with an advisor to map out their Z-Degree pathway in General Studies.

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Z-Degree classes use free materials and OER to save students money. Students can take an individual Z-Degree class or make them an essential part of their degree plan.

Available Z-Degrees

Getting Started with OER

Full-time and adjunct faculty interested in adopting or adapting Open Educational Resources (OER) or developing courses with no textbook costs can get started by:

Looking for OER created by ACC?


Textbook Heroes

Library Services identified ACC faculty who are teaching with Open Educational Resources, free, or other low-cost course materials.

Visit the ACC Textbook Heroes

Textbook Hero Dr. Carleen Sanchez, Professor of Anthropology holding up a book in the library



Want to learn more about OER and find available resources in your discipline? Check out the OER online faculty professional development training:


Faculty can browse topics or complete module activities and assessment to receive professional development credit and a certificate.

Faculty Events Calendar

ACC TLED faculty events calendar

For the latest events and training, please visit the Faculty Events Calendar and choose the “OER” tag to view a list of available offerings.




As members of the Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources (CCCOER) you may access the information on their site. ACC is also a member of Open Education Global, an associate consortium of CCCOER.

Access the CCCOER

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Austin Community College has developed a LibGuide with links to resources, tutorials, and other great information to learn about OER and no-cost instructional resources. ACC Librarians are available to help with finding OER for teaching.

Access the LibGuide

shelfs with books


OERTX is a free digital repository of open educational resources (OER) for Texas students and educational institutions. The repository is searchable. You can also contribute to the repository and collaborate with others.

Access OERTX



Need help creating, finding, and/or implementing open educational resources? Visit the Teaching Consultations & Support page to schedule individual consultations.