OER Projects


Z-degrees  |  Open Textbooks Pilot


A Z-degree is an associate degree or bachelor's degree that have zero-cost course resources for students. It consists of courses that exclusively use zero-cost course resources, such as: 

  • open educational resources (OER)
  • open textbooks  
  • library-curated materials


To be considered as Z-degree course, the instructor cannot require students to purchase any course resources. Optional or supplemental resources that are a cost to students may be recommended.

Z-degrees at Minnesota State

The following Minnesota State colleges offer associate degrees that qualify as Z-degrees after receiving up to $100,000 to meet an ambitious goal directed by the State of Minnesota 91st Legislature (SF24​15).

Z-degree Progress

Read updates in the ASA Newsletter

Z-degree map


Opening Opportunities for Teacher Education

Open Textbooks Pilot program - Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE)

Read updates on the ASA Newsletter


The United States Department of Education has awarded Minnesota State a three-year grant totaling $978,332, helping to increase the diversity of the teacher education pipeline across Minnesota. The program will run September 1, 2021 through August 30, 2024.


The pilot will create open textbooks and open educational resources (OER) for core teacher education courses that will provide significant savings for students while maintaining or improving student learning outcomes.

  • Create high quality OER for five high-enrolled courses that have limited or no OER available.
  • Provide professional development around the integration of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in OER and curriculum.
  • Share all processes and procedures around OER development and DEI to the national Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSIs) and beyond.

Student Savings

Total annual savings for students in Minnesota State teacher education programs are estimated to be $420,000 and $627,000 per year.

Campuses and Courses

The following institutions are piloting zero-cost teacher education course curriculum:

  • Southwest Minnesota State University
  • Anoka-Ramsey Community College
  • Century College
  • Minnesota State University, Mankato
  • Normandale Community College
  • Cloud Community and Technical College

These institutions will collaborate to convert the following teacher education courses to utilize open textbooks and open resources:

  • Introduction to Education
  • Foundations of Instruction
  • Educational Technology
  • Introduction to Literacy
  • Introduction to Special Education



Tim Anderson, Ed.D, MBA
System Director for Student Success and Technologies