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What are Open Educational Resources (OER)?

OER are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and repurposing by others. OER include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge. William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

Minnesota State promotes textbook affordability for students at Minnesota State colleges and universities by supporting and facilitating the adoption of open, low-cost, high-quality materials. We strive to do through faculty development, adequate resources, and grants.

What can students do?

  • Join or form a student body organization to advocate for textbook affordability solutions.
  • Ask your professors if they know about or would be willing to use OER.
  • Learn more about Z-Degrees (zero textbook cost degrees) available below.

Read more about OER at Minnesota State on the ASA Newsletter. 

Follow us on Twitter @MinnStateOER #MinnStateOER.

  • Textbook Cost Type: Search and Display Project - Students from colleges participating in the Z-Degree Project have the ability to search for courses that offer no cost textbooks while registering for courses. 
    • These colleges include:

      • Anoka-Ramsey Community College
      • Central Lakes College
      • Century College
      • Lake Superior College
      • Mesabi Range College
      • Minneapolis College
      • Northland Community and Technical College

Learn more: Students  |  Faculty

Map of Minnesota with pins pointing to the Z-Degree participant institutions. Large grant institutions are: Anoka-Ramsey Community College, Century College, Lake Superior College, Mesabi Range College, Minneapolis College, and Northland Community and Technical College. The Z-Degree small grant institutions are Central Lakes College, Hibbing Community College, Inver Hills Community College, and Minnesota West Community and Technical College.

What are Z-Degrees?

A Z-Degree is a zero-textbook-cost associate's degree.

A Z-Degree course exclusively uses one or more of the following: 

  • Open Educational Resources (OER)
  • Open Textbooks  
  • Zero Cost Materials

The following Minnesota State institutions have begun offering zero-textbook cost degrees (Z-Degrees):

Z-Degree Project


The State of Minnesota 91st Legislature passed Senate File 2415 in the spring 2019 session. This bill includes the following directive for the Minnesota State colleges and universities system:

Three additional colleges must offer the opportunity to earn a Z-Degree by the academic year 2020-2021. A college's course offerings for its Z-Degree program must include at least two distinct courses in each transfer curriculum goal area and at least enough credits in each transfer curriculum goal area to complete the transfer curriculum package. (SF24​15)

Find additional news and updates on the Z-Degree Project on the ASA Newsletter.


Tim Anderson, Ed.D, MBA

The following four colleges are making great progress with open educational resources on their campuses and have each been awarded $10,000 to continue their momentum:

  • Central Lakes College
  • Hibbing Community College
  • Inver Hills Community College
  • Minnesota West Community and Technical College

Resources for Faculty and Staff

If required, log into SharePoint using your

  • Opendora is the digital archive for OER textbooks and materials, allowing Minnesota State faculty and librarians to load, access, and share licensed OER.​
  • OER Community Site uses SharePoint to provide Minnesota State employees interested in OER a place to start and join discussions, collaborate on files, view glossary and FAQs related to OER, locate Creative Commons licensing experts, create and manage lists of resources, find Quickstart Guides for common disciplines.
  • OER Events for faculty and staff can be found on the Network for Educational Development events calendar.

What's New?