KPU launches second program that can be taken with zero textbook cost

Wed, Aug 29, 2018

Metro Vancouver, B.C. – Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) has created Canada’s second “Zed Cred” – an academic program that can be taken with zero cost for textbooks.

KPU introduced Canada’s first Zed Cred program, a Certificate in Arts, last November. Now, the university has added an Adult Graduation diploma Zed Cred through the Faculty of Academic and Career Advancement. The "Z" in Zed Cred refers to zero textbook costs by way of using open educational resources and library materials, while the “Cred” means that you can complete all the courses in an academic program and earn a credential without spending money on expensive textbooks.

“Through our innovative Zed Cred initiative, we strive to ensure that textbook costs are not a barrier to post-secondary education and success,” says psychology instructor Rajiv Jhangiani, KPU’s special advisor to the provost on open education. Jhangiani is an international leader in open education and is the driving force behind KPU’s Zed Cred project.

KPU now has more than 200 courses that can be taken without textbook costs. As a result, Jhangiani estimates this open education initiative will save students more than $1 million in textbook costs this fall.

The Adult Graduation diploma, also known as an Adult Dogwood, is a Grade 12 equivalency that enables adult learners to complete their BC Ministry of Education secondary school graduation requirements in order to enter the workforce or post-secondary studies.

Many of the Academic and Career Preparation (ACP) courses, which help students prepare for university studies, career pathways and trades entry by upgrading their English, math and science skills, are now Zed Cred courses. These courses are for students who may or may not have completed high school and wish to upgrade their skills to qualify for undergraduate programs, to improve their literacy or numeracy skills, or to complete the BC Adult Graduation diploma.

“ACP faculty members have worked quickly, diligently, and collaboratively to eliminate textbook costs for our learners,” says Patrick Donahoe, dean of the Faculty of Academic and Career Advancement. “Given the provincial government’s decision in August 2017 to eliminate tuition fees from ACP courses, the ACP Zed Cred provides another strong support to access for transitioning learners.”

“Textbook costs have been a consistent financial barrier to achieving a degree for many of us students,” says student Murdoch de Mooy. “The Zed Cred program is an amazing initiative that helps alleviate the incredibly variable costs of textbooks every semester, while maintaining quality education throughout our entire degree pathway.”

KPU’s Zed Cred was made possible thanks to a $35,000 grant from BCcampus to adopt and adapt pre-existing free online open education resources as well as create new ones. KPU matches BCcampus funding to create new open textbooks, redesign existing resources, and provide workshops, training and other support services.