Zx23 Project


The Zx23 Project is a one-year grant to support the VCCS’s goal of scaling Z-Degrees to all 23 VCCS colleges. The $200,000 grant from The William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, combined with matching funds from Chancellor DuBois and the System Office, is being used to support and train faculty and staff at sixteen Virginia community colleges to build Z-Degrees at their institutions. Lumen Learning is providing technical support to at each participating college to help faculty and staff build these pathways, host an OER course catalog in Blackboard Learn, and evaluate the overall cost savings and impact on student success.

This project is an important component in meeting the single, ambitious goal of VCCS’s new strategic plan, Complete 2021. To achieve this goal, Virginia’s community colleges must provide every student with access to an affordable educational pathway that leads to a meaningful postsecondary credential, as well as eliminate unnecessary technical, bureaucratic, or financial barriers that could delay or derail a student’s academic progress. With growing evidence that fewer students drop out and more students succeed when they have all of their course materials on the first day of class, establishing broad institutional adoption and support of open course materials will be a significant tool in meeting the challenge of Complete 2021.

Request for Proposals

Download a copy of the Zx23 Project Request for Applications here: Zx23 Project RFP  adobe_reader

Click on the tabs above for additional information about the Zx23 Project.

Zx23 Colleges

Displaying 1 - 16 of 16
College First Last Type of credential Type of program Grant
CVCC William Sandidge Associate degree (A.A., A.S., A.A.S.) General Studies and Business Administration 15000.00
GCC Ann Woolford, Ph.D. Associate degree (A.A., A.S., A.A.S.) General Studies 14855.00
JSRCC Jane Rosecrans Associate degree (A.A., A.S., A.A.S.) Social Sciences 14912.00
JTCC Leonda Keniston Associate degree (A.A., A.S., A.A.S.) General Studies 15000.00
MECC Vickie Ratliff Associate degree (A.A., A.S., A.A.S.) Management 15000.00
NRCC Pat Huber Associate degree (A.A., A.S., A.A.S.) General Studies 15000.00
NVCC Dr. Braddlee Associate degree (A.A., A.S., A.A.S.) Liberal Arts 15000
PDCCC Tara Atkins-Brady Credential* Certificate in General Education 14100.00
PVCC John Donnelly Associate degree (A.A., A.S., A.A.S.) General Studies 14760.00
RCC Marty Brooks Associate degree (A.A., A.S., A.A.S.) Arts and Science for Transfer 15000
SVCC Tara Carter Associate degree (A.A., A.S., A.A.S.) University Parallel - Business Administration 15000
TCC Daniel DeMarte Associate degree (A.A., A.S., A.A.S.) Administration of Justice 15000.00
TNCC Patrick Tompkins Associate degree (A.A., A.S., A.A.S.) Social Science 15000.00
VHCC Barbara Manuel Credential* Gen. Studies 8250
VWCC Elizabeth Wilmer Associate degree (A.A., A.S., A.A.S.) General Studies 15000.00
WCC Lorri Huffard Associate degree (A.A., A.S., A.A.S.) A & S in Science, Specialization in Mathematics 15000.00
Displaying 1 - 16 of 16


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VCCS Blackboard Learn OER Courses

Lumen Learning

Pathways Course

Tidewater Community College Z-Degree Website

The William & Flora Hewlett Foundation

Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources (CCCOER)

Creative Commons

OER Commons

Open Courseware Consortium

Open Culture:


Open Stax College


GoOpen Wiki:


Maris Stella Library of OER:



What is a z-course?
A z-course is the term used for a VCCS course that consists solely of free and openly licensed
content that is part of a credential, coded appropriately in SIS, and subject to a college-defined
standard of continuous improvement in course content, course delivery, and/or course design.

What is a Z-Degree?
A Z-Degree is a set of z-courses in a specific program area that allows a student to earn a college
credential, such as an associate degree, with zero textbook costs.

Can Zx23 Project grant funds be used to develop a certificate instead of a degree?
For the Zx23 Project, preference will be given to colleges interested in developing an all-OER
associate degree. However, depending on the level of participation and availability of funds,
alternative credentials may be considered.

What does “adopt and adapt” mean?
The term adopt and adapt means the focus of the project is on the reuse of existing OER rather
than the creation of new OER.

Is it possible to pilot z-courses over two semesters instead of one?
This is acceptable for colleges participating in Cohort 1. Colleges in Cohort 2 may request a similar
exception, but approval may depend on the receipt of additional funding beyond the end of the grant
term of June 24, 2016.

What is Pathways?
Pathways is a six-module, instructor-lead course developed by Tidewater faculty member Linda
Williams as part of the 2014 Chancellor’s Innovation Fund. The course provides participants with an
in-depth understanding of open licensing, open repositories, and creating, revising, and sharing
OER. The Pathways course can be found here: https://courses.candelalearning.com/pathways/.

How much should I pay my faculty members for developing a z-course?
Colleges awarded a Zx23 grant have some flexibility in how to spend the funds. However, it is
strongly recommended that the majority of the funds be used to incentivize participating faculty and
staff for their work. The traditional rate to adopt and adapt, with external support, is $800-1000 per

Can a faculty member use web links or licensed library resources instead of OER?
All required z-course materials should, whenever possible, consist solely of free and openly
licensed content. Any exceptions to this must be approved by the Zx23 Project Program Manager
and Principal Invesitigator. While the VCCS supports the use of internet resources and licensed
library materials, use materials that are not openly licensed complicate the sharing with VCCS as
well as non-VCCS institutions.

How do I join the OER Peer Group ?
You can subscribe to the OER Peer Group Mailman list here at https://lists.vccs.edu/lists/listinfo/vccs-oer-peer-group.

How do I join the OpenVA mailing list?
You can subscribe to the OpenVA Google Group here at https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/openva.

What are Open Educational Resources (OER)?
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation defines open educational resources (OER) as “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 re-purposing 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.”

OER still retain their original copyright. However, the copyright owners explicitly allow the reuse of these materials by applying an open license to them. The most popular of these open licenses are Creative Commons licenses.

Zx23 News


Reach Cheryl Huff, Zx23 Project Manager, with any questions or planning: cheryl@lumenlearning.com

Request an OER course from Lumen Learning or ask questions/leave feedback about the Zx23 Project.

Keep up to date on Zx23 Webinars and OER Events

Sign up for the VCCS OER Peer Group list directly: (https://lists.vccs.edu/lists/listinfo/vccs-oer-peer-group)

Looking for a past Zx23 Webinar recording? Click here.