NEMCC offers degree that eliminates traditional textbooks

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BOONEVILLE, MISS. (WCBI) – A local community college is helping students combat the increasing costs for textbooks.

When Stacia Massey walks to class, she doesn’t need a backpack, or a stack of bulky textbooks.

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The NEMCC general studies student has everything she needs on her iPad.

“It is less stressful to keep up with the books, cause you have to buy a backpack to keep them all in, but just having an iPad is just like having your phone,” said Massey.

NEMCC is the first college in the state to offer a degree program that doesn’t require any textbooks.

It’s called the “Zero Textbook Cost Degree” or “Z Degree” and is offered to students pursuing an associate of arts in general studies.

Classes in the Z degree use library databases, and faculty developed content, instead of traditional textbooks purchased at the bookstore.

“Our faculty, together with the guidance of Apple, created an Open Educational Resource, or OER, this is basically where each division created their own textbook and they were then able to put it digitally on the iPAD, so when a student registers for class, pays their fees, they automatically have the textbook downloaded onto their iPad,” said NEMCC President Ricky Ford.

“This complies all the student will need into one location and when they have it in that one location from day one, they are able to access it, submit work and hopefully be more successful, because there is no lag time when they come to school at Northeast,” said Academic Head of Languages and Humanities Justin Treloar.

Eliminating the need for textbooks is not only more convenient, it can also save students thousands of dollars.

“It would be huge if your parents didn’t have the responsibility, or having to help you through college if you could save a couple of thousand just on textbooks alone, would be huge,” said NEMCC Student Daniel Ozbirn.

Currently, 59 percent of textbooks have been replaced with OER materials for NEMCC students.

The goal is to eventually make that 100 percent, meaning textbooks will be a thing of the past.

NEMCC started its iPad initiative four years ago. The school plans to offer virtual reality as part of its technology initiative in the future.

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