Open Educational Resources

The legacy of students investing in students.

Free and Low-Cost Teaching Materials

At Tacoma Community College, we're saving students money on textbooks by adopting OER.

Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching materials available at little or no cost that can be used for teaching, learning or research. Our student surveys have shown that students find them just as effective as traditional textbooks, if not more so.

TCC labels course sections that use free and low-cost materials:

  1. Free. This means no textbook to purchase, unless you choose to print out some of the freely available materials.
  2. Low-cost. This means you'll need to buy a textbook for the class, but it will be under $50.

How to find an OER free or low-cost textbook using ctcLink 

 OER Experiences

Increasing Access to Education with Christie Fierro Producing your own OER content with Mike Elmore A Student Perspective with Joanne Eller


Learn More!

Image of male student holding up two fingers over a sign that says tcc has saved students more than one million in open educational resourcesOER & why it mattersUsing library resourcesCopyright & fair useOER support for studentsContact the OER CoordinatorFAQs for OER courses


$4M  ...and counting! Since we launched our OER program in 2011, we've saved students more than $4 million on textbooks.

Our OER Story 

TCC's success with OER is the legacy of students investing in students. During the Recession, college tuition was going up. Students knew they couldn't do anything about that -- but they could do something about the cost of textbooks, which can make up almost a third of a community college student's total cost each quarter. The Associated Students of TCC (ASTCC) voted to fund OER development, starting with the most-enrolled classes. TCC matched those funds. And we've been developing and implementing OER ever since.

How has OER saved students so much money in such a short amount of time? It's because the savings are cumulative. Once OER materials are developed for a class, they can be used (and changed and adapted as needed) quarter after quarter. So developing OER materials for just one heavily enrolled class can have a huge impact over a few short quarters.

OER isn't just about saving money. It's about providing the best educational experience possible for students. OER is opt-in, which means that if instructors feel that a traditional textbook would best serve their students, that's what we'll use. As OER materials are adopted, we've surveyed both students and instructors. And both students and instructors have told us that OER materials provide a learning experience that's as good or better as a traditional textbook experience.