OER in Michigan

Statewide OER Support Initiatives

Michigan Colleges Online (MCO) is a Center of Excellence of the Michigan Community College Association. The MCO Steering Committee guides statewide community college OER efforts which include: OER platform hosting assistance; creation of policies/procedures; promotion of statewide OER activities; OER resource sharing, and professional development opportunities. Members of the steering committee include faculty, librarians, distance education administrators, chief academic officers, and other staff from the MCO member institutions.

MCO OER Projects:

  • MI OER Summit - Since 2017, MCO has hosted an annual statewide conference. This one-day event brings together educators from K-12 and higher education to share projects, learn new ideas, and build networks.

  • MCO OER Faculty Grants - This MCO opportunity focuses on high-impact and collaborative projects that support the use of open educational resources (OER) to increase student retention and student success and reduce instructional costs for students. Twelve grants have been awarded to a total of 26 faculty representing six colleges and one ISD collaborator. The three grant categories are:

    • Adoption of an open textbook

    • Adaption (remix/reuse) of an existing open textbook

    • Development of ancillary resources or complete open textbook not already available.

  • OER Commons Michigan Colleges Online Hub - This curated online OER collection makes it easy to discover OER content actively being used across the state.

  • OER Usage Statistics - MCO collects semester data from community colleges across the state and makes it publicly available.

  • Faculty Professional Development - Starting in 2018, the MCO OER Faculty Conversations series has featured faculty from across the state who are currently using OER or other free or low-cost materials in their courses. These free online events feature subject-specific faculty panels, making it easy for faculty to learn about OER and connect with others in their discipline.

The MI OER Network was formed with the support of the Midwestern Higher Education Compact (MHEC) following a November 2018 OER Policy and Implementation Summit held by the MHEC. The mission of Michigan OER Network is to support institutions and organizations in the fair and equitable use of Open Educational Resources for all learners in Michigan. The MI OER Network steering committee consists of representatives from public universities, private colleges, community colleges, Michigan Colleges Online, the Midwest Collaborative for Library Services, the Library of Michigan, and the Michigan Department of Education.

MI OER Network Projects:

  • Helpful OER Resources - Curated list of repositories, finding tools, and training opportunities.

  • OER Network Community - Email list and Google group for networking, event promotion, troubleshooting, and posting questions to the OER Community.

Michigan OER Legislation

Appropriations bill including funding for the Michigan Virtual University with a provision requiring that funds be used to provide leadership for the state’s system of virtual learning education by:

  • providing an internet-based platform that educators can use to create student-centric learning tools and resources for sharing in the state’s OER repository.

  • facilitating a user network that assists educators in using the content creation platform and state OER repository.

  • working collaboratively with districts and intermediate districts to establish a plan to make available virtual resources that align to MI K-12 curriculum standards.

388.1698 Michigan Virtual University; Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute; Michigan Virtual School; online and blended educator professional development programs; virtual course offerings; home-schooled or nonpublic school student; report; advisory group; submission of budget; definitions.

Sec. 98.

(ix) Provide an internet-based platform that educators can use to create student-centric learning tools and resources for sharing in the state's open educational resource repository and facilitate a user network that assists educators in using the content creation platform and state repository for open educational resources. As part of this initiative, the Michigan Virtual University shall work collaboratively with districts and intermediate districts to establish a plan to make available virtual resources that align to Michigan's K-12 curriculum standards for use by students, educators, and parents.

Michigan joined the U.S. Department of Education’s #GoOpen campaign for openly licensed educational resources in K-12 education. To become a #GoOpen State, states meet a set of criteria including adding OER into the statewide education technology strategy.

Open Textbook Publishing Programs

Michigan State University Open Textbook Catalog MSU Libraries provides no-cost access to Pressbooks for the MSU community interested in creating or modifying open textbooks. Pressbooks is a web-based publishing tool that allows authors to easily import content and export the resulting publication to a variety of formats, including MOBI, EPUB, and PDF. Additionally, the platform and compatible plugins support embedded multimedia, interactive assessment, and web annotation. The MSU Libraries provides Pressbooks training, technical support, accessibility checks, cover design, and intellectual property guidance.

OER Degree (Z-Degrees) Pathways

Two-year institutions are leading the way in OER degree pathways. OER Degrees, often branded Z-Degrees, first emerged at Tidewater Community College in Virginia. Their zero textbook cost degree, an AS in Business Administration, launched in 2013. A zero textbook cost degree program is a set of courses in a specific program area that allows a student to earn a credential, such as an associates degree or certificate program, with zero textbook costs. These degree pathways use open educational resources and/or materials provided to students free of charge, e.g., via the library.

From 2016-2019, 38 community colleges across the country, including Michigan’s Bay College, participated in the Achieving the Dream OER Degree Initiative Grant. In February 2020, Achieving the Dream released a research and evaluation report. This report looked at the academic and economic outcomes of the OER Degree programs: OER at Scale: The Academic and Economic Outcomes of Achieving the Dream’s OER Degree Initiative.

For more information, see MCO Guidelines for Z-Degrees.

Support for OER

Support Locally at Your Institution

Support and training for faculty adoption of OER varies widely from institution to institution. Success depends on collaboration and commitment from departments and divisions across a college or university. Libraries, Centers for Teaching & Learning, or Faculty Development Departments are often at the forefront of OER support and training. There are also other valuable stakeholders ensuring faculty and students are successful with the adoption and use of OER. These include administrators, department chairs, advisors, counselors, institutional effectiveness or assessment offices, marketing, bookstores, and, most importantly, students. Reach out to those at your institution who can help you with adoption, use, and creation of open educational resources. Start the conversations with the colleagues in your department or on your campus who already have experience with open educational resources.

Many institutions have incentive programs to support faculty who want to transform their teaching and adopt OER. Below is a sampling of Michigan institutions with current OER/Z-Degrees, extensive OER course offerings, or faculty incentive programs for OER:

Two-Year Institutions

Four-Year Institutions

Support from the Open Community

Education is sharing. The open community values this commitment to sharing resources and expertise with others. Several organizations supporting open education and open educational resources are listed below. These communities, which are made up of open education experts from around the world, are excellent resources for questions, support, and collaboration. You are encouraged to take advantage of the free training, listservs, and the wealth of knowledge this community can provide.