Applying for a Z Course Designation

For faculty who did not develop a Z Course through the Expert Model process, you can teach a Z Course by  applying for a Z Course Designation after verifying your current zero-textbook-cost course meets the requirements. Follow the process below:

Step One: Use a Department Z Course Template OR Build Your Own

OPTION #1 Use a Department Template

If your department previously engaged in the development of a Z Course, find the current Z Course template available. 

  • 20% or Less:  If you modify this template by 20% or less, you can stop here and simply use the Z Course tag by requesting your Department Admin add the codes: 0060 AND 5079 to the course.
  • Over 20%: If you would like to modify the template more than 20%, continue to step two.

OPTION #2 Build Your Own Z Course

If you would like to have your own course design labeled as a Z Course, you can apply for the Z Course designation by following the steps below.

Step Two: Check Off Your Prerequisite Knowledge to Apply for a Z Course

If interested in using your own course as a Z Course, there is foundational knowledge and skills needed. Begin by checking to see if you have participated in at least one professional development or experience listed in each category below. If you have not, you are encouraged to complete them first. Without this foundation,  you may find it difficult to revise your course for the Z Course designation.

CategoryProfessional Development/Training
Online LearningExperience teaching online with Open Educational Materials (OER)
eLearning at MCC Badge
Any District or MCC professional development about online learning
Open Educational ResourcesMCC OER Training
Any District or out-of-District OER Training
Z Degree Content Expert or Reviewer
Quality MattersQuality Matters Rubric Training: Improving Your Online Course (IYOC)Quality Matters
Applying the QM Rubric (APPQMR)
Any District/College Quality Matters training that requires module or course creation
MCC Quality Matters Badge

Step Three – Understand the Z Course Requirements & Teaching Expectations

It is important to understand what you are agreeing to before you begin. Review the expectations for the course design and the course facilitation, which are in addition to the use of free materials and/or OER before moving to the next step.

Course Design Requirements

Teaching & Learning Expectations

Step Four – QM Account Access & Submit Interest Form 

Quality Matters Access

Sign into the Quality Matters website and review the 3-point standards in the rubric. If you need an account created or have any questions email or

Interest Form

Submit the Apply for a Z Course form to alert the team that you are interested and may need additional support along the way. This will help us track your progress for additional outreach and to celebrate your successful completion.


Once your application has been approved and you have access to the systems that you need, you will receive a confirmation email.

Step Five – Self Review & Submit Course

Once you have reviewed and completed the previous four steps, complete a self-review of your course.

MyCR in QM

  1. Log into
  2. Select MyCR from top navigation bar.
  3. Select My Custom Reviews from the side navigation, then Self-Reviews.
  4. Select Complete New Custom Self-Review.
  5. This is VERY IMPORTANT. 
    1. Select Custom Rubric: MCC Apply for Z Degree Self Review
    2. Title: Your last name, course prefix and number, year
  6. Select Begin Self-Review.
  7. Annotate each standard with significant explanation noting the area in which the reviewer can expect to find the evidence. 
  8. Email the PDF of the completed self review to
  9. Receive feedback, guidance, and support on your course design. 

Z Degree Program Course

  1. Self Enroll in the Z Degree Program course.
  2. Copy the URL of the Canvas course you would like considered for the Z Course distinction and type it into the Z Course Application assignment.
  3. Include the course prefix and number of the course.
  4. Submit.

**Optional: Quality Matters Internal Peer Review**

After submission, the course may also be reviewed by two MCC Quality Matters reviewers to receive the QM Essentials Banner.