OER Projects


Z-degree Project  |  Open Textbooks Pilot Project

Z-degree Project

A Z-degree is a complete associate or bachelor's degree program that exclusively use course resources that are no cost to students, such as: 

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

Zero-Cost Course Resource Definitions: PDF or Word

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.


Opening Opportunities for Teacher Education

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


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 collaborating to convert these teacher education courses to utilize open textbooks and open resources:

  • Southwest Minnesota State University
  • St. Cloud State University
  • Century College
  • Minnesota State University, Mankato
  • Normandale Community College
  • St. Cloud Technical and Community College
  • Introduction to Education
  • Foundations of Instruction
  • Educational Technology
  • Introduction to Literacy
  • Special Education

Quarterly Reports



Michael Olesen
Interim System Director for Student Success and Technologies