Starting Fall 2021, Hibbing Community College will be offering an Associate of Arts Z-Degree, a "Zero Cost Textbook" degree. Through the dedicated efforts of HCC's Faculty and Staff, students will have the option to take courses as part of the Z-Degree and could potentially graduate with no textbook costs ever!
Through the use of openly-licensed, high-quality electronic textbooks, streaming videos, course modules and other high-quality electronic materials, known as Open Educational Resources, or OER, HCC now offers over 52 distinct zero-textbook-cost courses for the Associate of Arts program. Z-Degree courses may use these free OER or other free resources so students have the option to complete an entire two-year associate's degree without buying textbooks.
On average, HCC students spend $1,050 on textbooks each year. Imagine how much you could do if you could eliminate those costs... By creating these zero-cost-textbook courses, HCC faculty have saved students approximately $375,000 in textbook costs to date!
Why take a Z-Degree class?
Z-Degree classes provide the same quality education as regular classes, minus the cost of a textbook.
Who can take a Z-Degree class?
Anyone can take a Z-Degree class, as long as they meet the usual pre-requisites associated with the class itself. There are no special requirements associated with a course due to its inclusion in the Z-Degree.
How do I register for a Z-Degree class?
Z-Degree classes are available for course registration like any other course. Let your advisor or counselor know that you are interested in taking a Z-Degree class, and they can help you get started. You can also see the available Z-Degree courses in e-services: When searching for courses, select "Expand/Collapse for Advanced Search" near the bottom of the page and "No cost for textbooks" from the Textbook Costs field.
Am I limited to the classes that are on the Z-Degree list?
No. Z-Degree classes are just regular AA classes that do not require students to purchase a textbook. You may choose to take any class you wish, with the understanding that if the class is not on the list of Z-Degree classes, you may be required to purchase a textbook.
What type of resources do Z-Degree classes use?
- Open Textbooks
- Open Courses
- Other Open Educational Resources (OERs)
- Zero-cost Textbook "Rentals"
- Library Resources
- Free, Copyrighted Resources under Fair Use
- Works in the Public Domain
- Faculty-developed Materials
How do I access materials for my Z-Degree class?
- Materials can be viewed online at no cost.
- Materials may be downloaded to a phone or other personal device at no cost.
- Materials may be available for optional purchase in a physical format in the HCC Bookstore at low cost (in this case materials will still be available online at no cost).
- If at any time you have questions about how to access the zero-cost materials used in your course, please contact your instructor.
Are class supplies also free?
No. Z-Degrees have Zero-Textbook-Costs, not zero costs. Some Z-Degree courses may require a materials fee for class supplies such as a notebook, lab kit, art kit, yoga mat, or tools.
How do I learn more about the Z-Degree?
Speak to an Advisor today!