TCC’s Z-Degree in business administration means you don’t buy textbooks

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With the price of textbooks rising faster than health care, new home prices and even tuition, Tidewater Community College in 2013 pioneered the use of “open educational resources” (OER) for its entire associate in business administration.

It was the first regionally accredited college to launch such a degree, now known as the Z-Degree (z for “zero textbooks”). Students use high-quality, openly licensed materials, which are freely accessible and specifically designed for teaching, learning, assessment and research.

So far, the Z-Degree has meant more than $250,000 in savings for the 2,500 students who have participated. But student success is also an important outcome.

Fewer students withdraw from Z-courses and more students get better grades. “I really love the fact that you aren’t put on this set schedule, the ‘by the book’ schedule of learning,” wrote one student. “My professor can introduce us to new resources and a wide selection of information, not just what’s contained in a book. I would love to take more classes like this.”

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