Three Alcorn professors receive grants to develop Z-Degree courses at Alcorn State

Alcorn State University professors Dr. Peter R. Malik, Dr. Allison Segura and Dr. Lixin Yu recently received grants to develop Z-Degree courses at the University.

The professors attended a daylong information seminar for grant recipients sponsored by the Z-Degree Initiative Jan. 20, 2017 in Jackson, Mississippi.

Malik is a professor and Segura is an associate professor in the Department of English, Languages and Mass Communications. Yu is a professor in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science.

The Z-Degree Initiative is a three-year plan to expand adoption of Open Educational Resources (OER) in Mississippi public higher education. OER includes course materials and textbooks, which are free and shareable.

“When faculty adopt OER for their courses, those courses are tagged as ‘Z-Degree’ on the course schedule, indicating that they have zero textbook cost,” said Dr. Robert Cummings, chair of the Department of Writing and Rhetoric and associate professor of Writing and Rhetoric at the University of Mississippi. “Once enough courses are designated Z-Degree, it is possible for students to earn a degree with no textbook costs.”

Dr. Babu Patlolla, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences and professor of Biology, noted, “These grants will enable us to develop courses that will save our students thousands of dollars in textbook costs over the next few years. We are very proud of these three Alcorn professors who are on the cutting edge in the exciting new field of Open Educational Resources.”

Z-Degree Mississippi is funded by a $200,000 grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and $80,000 in grants from the University of Mississippi College of Liberal Arts.

Iinvited participants in the Z-Degree Initiative included representatives from eight public universities and four community colleges throughout Mississippi: Alcorn State University, University of Mississippi, Delta State University, Jackson State University, Mississippi State University, Mississippi University for Women, Mississippi Valley State University, and University of Southern Mississippi; East Mississippi Community College, East Mississippi Community College, Itawamba Community College, and Northwest Mississippi Community College.

  • sm-Upward_Bound_strive_for_success.jpg