Northeast Iowa Community College estimates that a new initiative it has started will save students thousands of dollars in textbook costs.
The College's Liberal Arts Associate's Z-Degree will be launched this coming fall. By using open educational resources instructional materials and texts, students will have no textbook costs; they will digitally access the materials within NICC's Brightspace learning management system.
Over the last decade, the price of college textbooks has soared. Since 2006, the cost of a textbook increased by 73 percent – more than four times the rate of inflation. Today, individual textbooks often cost over $200, and sometimes as high as $400.
"We really understand that our students are already struggling under the weight of tuition debt, and we wanted to remove the additional weight of textbook costs off their backs and pocketbooks," states Kyle Collins, director of online and blended learning at NICC. "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."
The initial 20 OER-based Z-courses to be rolled out during the 2018-19 school year are currently in the design process with faculty and campus instructional designers.