NICC Begins New "Z Degree" Program

Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- A new initiative called the Z-Degree by Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) estimates students will save thousands of dollars in textbook costs.

“Students could potentially save $3,000 over the course of their Liberal Arts degree. Textbooks are becoming unaffordable for our students, so we decided to use a different approach," Kyle Collins, the director of online and blended learning at NICC, said.

Tidewater Community College in Norfolk, Virginia, developed the type of degree, whose Z stands for zero textbook costs, for a two-year associate's degree using open educational resources (OER).

Resources considered to be OER are free resources that can be edited, downloaded, and shared to serve students.

NICC's Liberal Arts Associate's Z-Degree will launch in fall 2018.

During the 2018-2019 school year, 20 OER-based Z-courses will be offered at NICC.

NICC is currently working to design the courses with faculty and campus instructional designers.

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