Z Degree

What is a Z Degree?

The Z Degree or “Zero-Textbook-Cost Degree” is exactly what it sounds like — Students are able to complete an Associates degree from MCC without paying for textbooks. The classes included in this degree leverage Open Educational Resources, library databases, and faculty-developed content to forgo the need to require expensive textbooks and publisher materials.  Currently, we are only funding the development of online courses; however, if the content that is curated/developed is used in another modality, the course can be can be labeled a Z Course.

Z Degree Successes

AGEC & General Associates Degree

Over the past 4 years, we funded the development of nearly 30 Z Courses which contribute to the Arizona General Education Curriculum (AGEC). A complete AGEC Z Degree pathway was launched in Spring 2019 and a full general associate’s degree was launched in Fall 2019.

Complete Z Degree Guided Pathways

The Communication Z Degree Pathway was launched in Spring 2022. It is estimated that the Anthropology Z Degree Pathway will be completed by Fall 2022. Preview some of our completed courses on the MCC Online Course Previews page. If your department is interested in developing a full Z Degree pathway, we would love to assist!

Why Are Z Degrees So Important?

Increase Access to contentThe Zero Textbook Cost Degree at MCC is a result of numerous studies revealing that the rising costs of education impacts student attendance and course selection. Studies show that students make a decision to attend college, select a college major and/or select a class based upon the cost of attendance and the cost of course instructional materials. These studies created a case for the Maricopa Community Colleges to support the Maricopa Millions grant program. The purpose of this grant was to pay faculty to curate and/or develop Open Educational Resources for their courses that would replace expensive textbooks and save students $5 million dollars over 5 years. The Z Degree is MCC’s commitment to provide a more affordable education to our students.

How do you get involved?

To assist MCC in reaching the college’s strategic directions of student success, we are expanding the Z Degree program to provide many avenues for adoption and engagement. There are three ways to participate in the Z Degree program — although not all ways are available for all courses or faculty.  Read on to learn more about which avenue matches your situation.

Z Course Development Opportunities

There are two ways to engage with the Z Degree Program:

  • Expert Model: A funded and collaborative professional development program that partners faculty experts with Center for Teaching & Learning and eLearning personnel to support the build of a zero-textbook-cost course in Canvas. Learn more about this process….
  • Apply for a Z Course: A self-paced process in which faculty experts follow specific guidelines in order to gain the Z Course tag for their zero-textbook-cost course. Once faculty submit their course and self review and are approved for the Z Course tag, they receive a stipend. Learn more about applying for a Z Course…