Return to Innovation Gallery

/system/asa/innovations/innovation-funding/images/oer-image.jpgsite://minnstate/system/asa/innovations/innovation-funding/images/oer-image.jpgminnstateoer-image.jpgoer-image.jpg37247315631146OER logo.OER Learning Circles in Northeast MN

OER Learning Circles in Northeast MN

Minnesota North College


Minnesota North College is promoting OER creation and adoption in northeast Minnesota through the implementation of “Learning Circles” for faculty. Faculty participating in the Learning Circles either redesign a course around an existing OER or create OER ancillary materials that are shared on Opendora.

In spring 2018, Kate Brau, a health and physical education instructor at Minnesota North College, previously Hibbing Community College (HCC), participated in the Minnesota State OER Learning Circles program, successfully redesigning her Wellness course around an OER. Kate was impressed by the effectiveness of the Learning Circles model, and so, in fall 2018, Kate took advantage of another Minnesota State grant opportunity to receive training to be a Learning Circles Leader. Working with Karen Pikula, the OER Faculty Development Coordinator, Kate has created a plan for facilitating OER Learning Circles at HCC.

In fall 2019, Kate led a Learning Circles program for three faculty. Over the course of 10 weeks, participants did the following:

  • Learn how to find and explore potential OER
  • Receive copyright training from HCC’s Creative Commons certified Library Technician
  • Work on redesigning a course around an OER or creating ancillary materials for an existing OER
  • Check in weekly with the Learning Circles Leader and other participants to support one another and share ideas
  • Present their completed projects at the end of the semester

After “piloting” the HCC Learning Circles in fall 2019, the program was then opened up to faculty from the other four NHED colleges in spring 2020 (now Minnesota North College).

Over the past two years, significant progress has been made in promoting and implementing OER, including forming an OER committee (with representation from faculty, administration, students, the library, and the bookstore), designating certain classes as “OER” in the campus course schedule, providing support for the Library Technician to earn a Creative Commons certification, and participating in three separate Minnesota State OER-related grants.

Type of Grant Received through Minnesota State Innovation Funding

Large Seed Grant - $24,970

Minnesota State faculty, staff, and administrators interested in applying for an innovation funding grant can visit the Innovation Funding SharePoint (log in using to find more information and applications.