PALsave team member and Goshen College Head of Learning Technologies Erin Milanese presents about open textbooks

Goshen College faculty participate in PALSave affordable education initiative

By Siana Emery ’20

Goshen College has begun participating in a new initiative from the Private Academic Library Network of Indiana (PALNI) to recognize the rising costs of textbooks and bring awareness to free textbook options available through the Open Textbook Library. The program is titled PALSave: PALNI Affordable Learning.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, textbook costs have risen 63 percent since 2006. To combat rising textbook costs and their detrimental effects on student success and retention, PALNI launched the PALSave initiative.

On May 30, PALSave team members Erin Milanese, head of learning technologies at Goshen College, along with Tim Ziebarth and Amanda Hurford, presented to Goshen College faculty on this initiative. The workshop was open to any faculty member interested in knowing more about open texts and ways to save students money on course materials. Attendees also had the opportunity to learn about the benefits of Open Educational Resources (OER).

“The goal of the PALSave project is to educate faculty at all the PALNI schools on the rising cost of textbooks, and to bring awareness to ‘open’ – free – textbook options available through the Open Textbook Library,” said Milanese. “Here at Goshen, we’ve seen some adoption of these sorts of texts in the last 3-4 years, particularly in physics and biology.”

Faculty were also presented the opportunity to engage with the Open Textbook Library by reviewing one of its books, in order to evaluate its quality and applicability to their course. These reviews will be a part of the Open Textbook Library and will benefit other faculty considering open textbooks.

To support the PALSave initiative, PALNI has joined the Open Textbook Network (OTN). OTN maintains the Open Textbook Library, and is known for helping organizations to advance the use of open textbooks on their campuses. As a PALNI institution, Goshen College has the benefit of affiliate status in the OTN and the support of a trained team at no additional cost.

PALSave will offer many workshops across PALNI’s supported institutions following a model set by the OTN. This effort focuses on improving student success and retention by supporting the implementation of course materials that are free to students and customizable by faculty. The use of open textbooks directly contributes to students’ academic success by ensuring that all students, no matter their means, have access to their course materials on day one of the course.

Through the PALSave initiative, Goshen College and the other PALNI schools have access to collaborative resources to facilitate OER awareness, education, and engagement in order to encourage faculty consider OER as an option for their course materials.

PALSave Administration Team

Amanda Hurford, PALNI Scholarly Communications Director
Caitlin Balgeman, Marian University
Rebecca Johnson, Manchester University
Olivia MacIsaac, Butler University
Erin Milanese, Goshen College
Heather Myers, Anderson University
Jennifer Raye, Butler University
Dr. Tim Ziebarth, Grace College and Seminary

About the Private Academic Library Network of Indiana (PALNI):

PALNI is a non-profit organization supporting collaboration for library and information services to the libraries of its twenty-four supported institutions. The library deans and directors who sit on the PALNI board have expanded the organization’s strategic direction as the internet and information services landscape have changed. PALNI shares systems and expertise in many areas including a resource management system, strategic planning, affordable education, instructional technology, collections, reference, information fluency, outreach, and data management.

PALNI Supported Institutions: Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary | Ancilla College | Anderson University | Bethel University | Butler University | Concordia Theological Seminary | Christian Theological Seminary | DePauw University | Earlham College | Franklin College | Goshen College | Grace College | Hanover College | Huntington University | Manchester University | Marian University | Oakland City University | University of Saint Francis | Saint Mary’s College | Saint Meinrad’s Seminary and School of Theology | Taylor University | Trine University | University of Indianapolis | Wabash College