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Reading Lists in Higher Education - Time to ditch the reading list?


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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. Presented at the Higher York eLearning Network Conference, 6 June 2011. Supporting material:

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Reading Lists in Higher Education - Time to ditch the reading list?

  1. 1. Time to ditch the reading list? Higher York eLearning Network Conference 6 June 2011, York St John University Matt Cornock University of York
  2. 2. What is a reading list? Assessment (students show wider reading) Student expectations (where’s my reading list?) Academic input (the course) Library and resources Reading list © 2011 University of York (practicalities)
  3. 3. What resources are available? Traditional reading list of institutional resources Resources familiar to students, com monly used and not ‘held’ by institution Perhaps not peer-reviewed Books Google & the web Wikipedia & collab spaces Printed journals Paid-for online journals Paid-for services and resources Google Scholar Official docs in PDF form Freely available resources Online video YouTube, BBC © 2011 University of York User-generated content Useful after student has left institution Requires info literacy
  4. 4. Discussion • What makes a ‘good’ reading list? – Why a reading list? – Who is a reading list for? – What sort of resources? © 2011 University of York
  5. 5. Reading list conflict “Spoonfeeding” Are students provided with too many references so they don’t look for themselves? What do students need to know in order to complete the course? Intellectual coverage © 2011 University of York
  6. 6. Mini-survey (57 Year 2/3 Social Policy students) For assignments and seminar prep do you use resources from the reading list or ones you find yourself? 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% Only reading Mainly reading list list Mix of both © 2011 University of York Mainly non-list Only non-list
  7. 7. Mini-survey (57 Year 2/3 Social Policy students) Do reading lists encourage further reading? 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% Yes No © 2011 University of York Don't know
  8. 8. Mini-survey (57 Year 2/3 Social Policy students) It's nice that resources are mentioned as background reading, recommended or essential. Helps ground focus when essay writing. Long reading list with thousands of books make me feel overwhelmed. Although doesn't encourage you to look for own resources, makes you used a wide range of books because list is quite extensive © 2011 University of York
  9. 9. Reading list structures • Long lists • Topic-chunks • Weekly chunks • Specific page refs • Broad book refs • Is that all that’s possible? • Do these structures help? © 2011 University of York
  10. 10. Discussion • To make reading lists relevant to the ‘real world’ – different structures, purposes and content? • Design template structures which address: – Different resources being used – Opportunities for students to ‘go beyond’ © 2011 University of York
  11. 11. Using technology for reading lists: Wikis, blogs, forums • Familiar VLE-based collaborative tools • Students create their own lists / edit their group list • Incorporated into seminar prep or specific activity © 2011 University of York
  12. 12. Using technology for reading lists: Twitter #hashtags • Collect tweets together • Fast, good for short time periods • Not good for keeping as a long-term record – tweets are transient • #hastags for #themes or #modulecodes © 2011 University of York
  13. 13. Using technology for reading lists: Online bookmarking tools • Delicious recently bought after development stopped • Diigo is championed as an alternative to Delicious • Diigo to share weblinks and notes • Tag-based to sort links by theme or your own tags • Lists option © 2011 University of York
  14. 14. Example Diigo user’s page Links Notes Tags © 2011 University of York
  15. 15. Reading lists workshop supporting site • Notes, refs and links • Post your ideas • Share your trial experiences © 2011 University of York