Reducing Student Costs by Leveraging Digital Collections
Since the 2015 Spring term, we've collaborated with faculty, instructors and course coordinators to create zero-to-low cost courses. With the help of these partners, we've increased the use of a number of types of material that are free to students, including:
- Material already licensed in the UTL digital eResource collection
- Material that is open access or available in the public domain
- Material made available through the fair dealing exception in the Copyright Act
The Zero-to-Low Cost project addresses the systemic double payment for course materials by U of T students, by providing an alternative to the use of course packs, which often include material already electronically available to students through the UTL collection. Over the first round of the project, 55% of the materials assigned in participating ZTLCC courses had already been paid for and were already available to students in the UTL digital collection.
Update: We have stopped calculating cost-savings of this initiative as it is no longer feasible to do so. We thank all participating parties for their continued support.
If you would like more information about the project or would like to your course to participate in this project, email email@example.com.
The cost of post-secondary education in Canada has increased substantially over the past few decades, with tuition paid by students and their families making up a greater overall proportion of the funding that supports Canadian Universities and Colleges.
One often hidden cost for students is the money they must spend on textbooks, on course packs, and on other supplemental materials necessary for their education. In the wake of the expiration of the University of Toronto's license with Access Copyright, some students reported that the cost of their course materials, especially course packs, had increased.
In response to these concerns and to the economic realities facing students, the Scholarly Communications and Copyright Office began the Zero-to-Low Cost Course (ZTLCC) project, which aims to support faculty in the creation of zero-to-low cost courses for their students.
Learn more about the project here: http://doi.org/10.7710/2162-3309.2137
Enthusiastic Faculty Response
Faculty and instructors have given the ZTLCC project high marks, rating their experience 4.75 out of 5, with 100% of responding participants answering that they would participate again.
“I appreciate the timely and efficient work of the service. Everything was done well before the start of the course. The service looked for and found alternate sources for several readings - I appreciate that.”
“This is a great pilot project - not only did my students love having online access to their materials, but the process was simple and convenient for me. Everyone was super helpful. Great work.”
New for 2016: A Collaboration with the University of Toronto Sustainability Office's Green Courses Program
One effect of taking advantage of UTL electronic resources is that we reduce the use of paper. In fact, the ZTLCC project has reduced paper usage by a total of approximately 1.7 million pages so far!
For information about working with the Sustainability Office to reduce the use of paper and to get your course certified as a Green Course, please visit the Green Courses website,