A statewide consortium of academic libraries recently honored three Anderson University professors for efforts at integrating affordable course materials into their classes with the Professors for Affordable Learning (PAL) Award.
Partnership Among South Carolina Academic Libraries (PASCAL) celebrated the work of Dr. James Duncan, Dr. Robert Franklin and Dr. Andrew Stowe, professors with the Anderson University College of Arts and Sciences.
The PAL award is presented by South Carolina Affordable Learning (SCALE), an initiative of PASCAL to promote more affordable higher education. The three AU professors were among 10 South Carolina professors honored.
“The Professor for Affordable Learning Award was created to recognize faculty who were already integrating affordable learning resources into their classrooms,” said Amy Trepal, a shared content and licensing librarian for PASCAL. “These affordable course materials can include Open Educational Resources (high-quality teaching materials that are free for people everywhere to use and re-purpose), items freely available on the internet, or library resources.”
“In applying for this award professors submitted and discussed the sources of course material that they used,” said Stowe, a professor of English at Anderson University. “These materials are archived on PASCAL's website to help provide resources so that even more professors can begin using open educational resources.”
The recognition of the PAL Award is a result of Anderson University’s efforts to integrate affordable learning methods. Anderson University provides many free or low-cost course materials for faculty and students through PASCAL, and they provide Open Educational Resource (OER) training for faculty that includes encouraging professors to create their own content.
“I have had a passion to write a textbook for my statistics class for a long time, and with the support of the Center of Innovation and Digital Learning at Anderson University (CIDL), I was able to make that happen,” Franklin said. “The PAL award is a great honor and recognition because it shows just how this project is making a difference in students' lives by making quality educational materials free of charge."
The three Anderson University professors recognized by PASCAL are a part of a wider initiative to cut college costs and create a more customized learning environment.
“In partnership with the library, the Center for Innovation and Digital Learning leads the efforts to support and incentivize faculty seeking to redesign courses around OER, creating tens of thousands of dollars in savings for AU students each year,” said Dr. Joshua Herron, Dean of Online and Continuous Learning at Anderson University.
“I think the cost of going to college keeps going up, and one of the areas it has gone up the most is textbooks,” said Kent Millwood, Director of Library Services at Anderson University. “We are trying to provide an alternative to traditional textbooks to save people the cost of going to college.”