New Zero Textbook Cost Degree Offered At CLC
That beeping sound at the register can be daunting as student bills for textbooks continue to rise. But now, students at Central Lakes College can opt for go for the new Z-Degree – a zero textbook cost degree. CLC is the first to offer the choice in the state of Minnesota.
“It’s very exciting, we feel like we are pioneers. We are working for our students, we know that textbook costs are a huge burden for our students and we are so excited that we can take some of that burden off of students and help them be more successful,” said Martha Kuehn, CLC Dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
The new Z-Degree is all about making college more affordable for students by doing away with purchasing textbooks and instead making everything available online.
“Those are textbooks and other resources for learning that don’t cost students, they are openly licensed so students can use them for free,” Kuehn said.
It’s a change to using open education resources (OER) that some faculty members were nervous about at first.
“Faculty fear when they move to OER, the rigor and the quality of the resources. I think when they get a chance to interact with them, they can see they are very high quality,” said Minnesota State OER Coordinator Karen Pikula.
For many, it’s a necessary change since the average student in Minnesota will spend over $1000 on textbooks each year.
“From an instructor stand point, the one thing we have total control over is the cost of textbooks. We can really be quite powerful in reducing our student costs,” Pikula said.
A cost decrease that has shown direct correlation to student success rates.
“It’s going to help them to be able to take more courses, graduate more quickly, to be more successful and reduce their debt,” Kuehn said.
The Z-Degree courses will be implemented for the spring 2018 semester. When a new window of opportunity will open for both students and instructors.
“You can create resources that actually meet your learner needs and also your teaching style and your philosophies. That academic freedom is huge for faculty members,” Pikula said.
Students will now earn their associate in arts degree without ever purchasing a textbook.