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OER/ZTC Certificate

Information about an exciting opportunity for UAA and APU faculty to learn about and explore open educational resources (OER) and other zero-cost (ZTC) course materials.

Program Outline

The OER/ZTC Certificate program was designed to allow participants flexibility in choosing which trainings and deliverables to pursue. Further, it honors efforts already put into these topics by giving credit for trainings you may have already attended and for work you may have already done. For each of the following topics, participants must complete at least one training from a pre-approved list or seek approval of an alternative training that meets the outcomes described below. In addition, participants will create at least one deliverable from a pre-approved list or seek approval to create a deliverable that better aligns to individual needs and interests.

1. Open Educational Resources

Faculty who earn the certificate will be able to:

  • Define open educational resources (OER), including the 5 Rs.
  • Differentiate between OER and other free-to-access materials.
  • Articulate the impact of course material costs on student learning, achievement, retention, and completion.
  • Identify populations who are most positively impacted when courses transition to zero textbook cost (ZTC).

Required Deliverable: Completion of brief OER quiz.

2. Creative Commons Licenses

Faculty who earn the certificate will be able to:

  • Define copyright.
  • Define Fair Use.
  • Define open licenses.
  • Interpret the Creative Commons (CC) licenses (what each allows the user to do, requires the user to do, and prevents the user from doing).
  • Identify which CC licenses indicate OER materials (allow all 5 Rs) and which do not.

Options for deliverables (complete one):

  • Completion of the Copyright, Fair Use, and CC Licenses Quiz
  • Link to something you created and posted online that bears a CC license; include a brief description of what others can, cannot, and must do when using that material (based on the license).
  • Link to a resource you will use in one of your classes that bears a CC license; include a description of how the materials will be used and what you or your students can, cannot, and must do when using that material (based on the license).
  • Other deliverables (on approval)

3. Exploring OER Materials

Faculty who earn the certificate will be able to:

  • Identify at least 3 places to look for OER.
  • Locate available OER materials.
  • Evaluate OER materials.

Options for deliverables (complete one):

  • Detailed record of OER search (i.e., list of where you searched for OER, search terms you used, and what, if anything, you found that you might be able to use for your course)
  • Review an openly licensed textbook or other OER in your field; submit it to the Open Textbook Network or another outlet that publishes such reviews
  • Evidence of developing a fully OER/ZTC course (i.e., course syllabus and reading list)
  • Evidence of serving as a formal peer reviewer for an open textbook project in your field
  • Other deliverables (on approval)

4. Choose your Own Adventure *

This section allows you the flexibility to pursue a topic closely related to OER/ZTC that is of interest and relevant to you. You may propose your own topic or choose from at least ONE of the following topics: accessibility, open pedagogy, creating OER, the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL), or advocacy.

Faculty who earn the certificate will be able to do at least ONE of the following:

  1. Deliver an ADA-accessible course.
  2. Develop an open pedagogy assignment or project for a course.
  3. Create an OER textbook or other core course materials.
  4. Develop a plan for evaluating the student experience through formal SoTL research.
  5. Advocate for OER/ZTC in a variety of contexts.

Options for deliverables (complete one that aligns with the outcome you selected):

  • Accessible syllabus for one of your courses (Outcome 1)
  • Accessibility evaluation and plan: Conduct an assessment of your core course materials (e.g., textbook, slides, videos, handouts) to determine whether or not they are accessible. If accessible, describe what makes those materials fully accessible and/or how the assessment was conducted. If not accessible, describe next steps for making the course materials fully accessible. (1)
  • Detailed description or copy of an open pedagogy assignment you created for one of your course (2)
  • Link to an openly licensed textbook (or other core course material) you created or significantly edited/remixed (3)
  • Link to a collection of openly licensed ancillary materials you created (3)
  • Detailed description of your plan to create or significantly edit/remix an OER textbook (i.e., content outline, collaborators, timeline, tools you will use, and plans for dissemination) (3)
  • Brief research plan for evaluating the student experience related to OER/ZTC (i.e., what will you measure, what will your intervention be, what do you anticipate will be the results?) (4)
  • Evidence of submitted IRB proposal for a SoTL project related to OER/ZTC (4)
  • Create and record an “elevator pitch” for how you would describe OER/ZTC and its benefits to a colleague or administrator (5)
  • Create a handout or slides you might use to present to colleagues, etc., about OER/ZTC (5)
  • Write and send a letter (as a private citizen) to legislator(s) or community education leaders about OER/ZTC (5)
  • Write and send a letter to University of Alaska leadership about OER/ZTC (5)
  • Other deliverables (on approval)


* “Choose Your Own Adventure” title © Bantam Books. We hope the copyright holder recognizes our use is for educational purposes and won’t sue us for this tongue-in-cheek reference. You'll learn more about Fair Use exemptions to copyright in the OER/ZTC Certificate program.

Program Leadership, Partners, and Funding

This program was developed by UAA Textbook Affordability co-chairs D'Arcy Hutchings (Associate Professor, Library) and Dr. Veronica Howard (Associate Professor, Psychology) with assistance from Zoe Dietz (student employee). This work complements the Alaska Open Education Initiative, a UAA Textbook Affordability project funded by U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA NIFA). The core structure of this program was inspired by the UAA Online Teaching Certificate program by Kathryn Schild.

Funding for the Certificate awards is provided by the UAA/APU Consortium Library using funds earmarked for textbook affordability efforts.

Contact Me

Profile Photo
D'Arcy Hutchings
Instructional Design Librarian,
Assistant Professor

Creative Commons License

This page and the OER/ZTC Certificate program curriculum/Blackboard shell is © 2021 by D'Arcy Hutchings and Veronica Howard and is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0, except where otherwise noted.