HYeLN - Reading Lists 2.0

Time to ditch the reading list?

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Matt Cornock
23 May 2011

This cloudspace will support the workshop 'Time to ditch the reading list?'  taking place at the Higher York eLearning Network Conference, June 6th 2011.

This discussion workshop will ask participants to consider the role reading lists play as part of a module supported by technology. In particular, with the proliferation of online resources, we will ask whether prescriptive, reference-based reading lists reflect the needs of students in the digital information age.

All notes from session contributors, links to references and slides are now available below. Also: please do share your experiences using non-traditional reading lists.

Extra content

Workshop tasks

After a brief overview of reading list stakeholders and possible resource types we discussed "What makes a 'good' reading list?"

Then we looked at why bibliographic reading lists of books and journals (paid for by institutions) does not tally up with what we expect students will do post-degree when asked to conduct research (informal or formal) by their employer. We also looked at a small scale survey highlighting problems with reading list engagement. We discussed "What could you do if you weren't allowed to use bibliographic reference-based reading lists?"

Cloudworks tasks

Taking on board the content of this workshop and the ideas proposed by the workshop participants, what are your thoughts to the two questions above? Will you try ideas? If not, why? If so, please do report back your experience here.

Matt Cornock
20:34 on 5 June 2011 (Edited 21:43 on 6 June 2011)

Embedded Content

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Matt Cornock
9:51pm 6 June 2011


What makes a good reading list? (AM session participants' responses)

  • Subject/context specific requirements of the list
  • Accessibility (both availability/disability support/learning preferences) of resources on the list
  • Prioritisaiton of resources on the list (eg key text, recommended, background)
  • Comments on the resources by tutor
  • Organised structure of the list by categories
  • Clear guidance, alignment with course and assessment objectives
  • Range of resource types
  • Granting students permission to look beyond the list and use non-traditional resource types
  • Framework for tutors/visiting lecturer's delivery of the course and students
  • Peer-review grading of resources on the list
  • Lists not released in advance so that they are supported actively by the tutor
  • Use of a reading list as a 'learning tool'

What makes a good reading list (PM session participants' responses)

  • Fulfilling module outline criteria for review/authorising modules by University standards to show breadth/depth of influencing material
  • Structured and organised
  • Exemplars of 'good' resources prompting students to find others
  • Explanation as to why the tutor included that reading
  • Scaffold learning by providing a basis for further resource searching

Matt Cornock
10:48pm 6 June 2011


What could you do if you weren't allowed to use bibliographic reference-based lists? (AM session participants' responses)

  • Built-in information literacy training as a precursor
  • Students create their own lists
    1. Informed by tutor offering suggestions for search key words, authors, databases
    2. Pulling ideas and resources together in groups using collaborative tools
    3. Identifying common elements within their group work, with input from tutor and/or peer-review
    4. Forming a single list to create a reading list 'owned' by the group (motivational aspect, could be assessed)
  • Problem-based learning approach: setting a research question and getting students to work out the right sources to answer it
  • Role of the library staff to inform search skills/info literacy/critical thinking/facilitate online activities.
  • Considering Independent vs Directed use of resources
  • Consideration of tutor's workload with non-bibliographic lists

What could you do if you weren't allowed to use bibliographic reference-based lists? (PM session participants' responses)

  • Student recommendations of resources (voting)
  • Suggesting databases, catalogues and search strategies rather than specific resources
  • Suggesting authors, including the tutor's publications
  • Keep bibliographic references for key texts only, perhaps just PDF them
  • Teaching search skills is essential for this
  • Non-linear lists, e.g. mind maps
  • Working out the current knowledge of students and then directing them to where you want them to be in terms of their knowledge (eg via a mind map) and getting them to find resources and adjust their processes accordingly.
  • Consideration of appropriate formats

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