Minnesota West receives grant to develop courses with free textbooks and other materials

A Z degree includes courses that incur no cost for required textbooks, lab manuals, or other educational resources.

The courses use online textbooks and electronic materials, called open educational resources, which replace traditional printed textbooks. Online materials allow students to access recent and up-to-date information.

Minnesota West has campuses in Granite Falls, Canby, Jackson, Pipestone and Worthington. It also has a fire and rescue training center in Marshall and a health careers education center in Luverne.

The grant will allow instructors to research open sources in order to find high quality educational material.

Minnesota West hopes to bring higher education to more students, potentially saving them thousands of dollars in textbooks and lab textbooks, according to a college statement.

“Finding ways to make college more affordable for students is critical,” said Kayla Westra, dean of liberal arts and K-12 partnerships at Minnesota West, in the statement.

Westra praised the willingness of faculty members to review and use the educational material for the Z-degree project. “We are able to undertake this initiative because of the dedication of our faculty to their students, their teaching and their learning,” she said.

The $ 100,000 Implementation Grant is one in a series of grants approved by the Minnesota Legislature to the State of Minnesota to explore, implement, and pilot a series of Z degree programs throughout the system.

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