How online reading lists can help academic, information and digital literacy development. By Dr Kim Shahabudin, Kerry Webb and Helen Hathaway

Online reading list systems can be seen as an easy win for the lazy student: ‘spoon-feeding’ them with the sources they need rather than encouraging them to develop their independent research skills. However, we believe that the new online reading list system at Reading will offer opportunities for tutors to boost their students’ independent skills at a number of levels.

– There will be benefits for the less able student by making it easier to find evaluated, recommended resources, avoiding the pervasive practice of ‘just Googling it’.

– There will be benefits for the more able student by making it possible to direct them to databases and other search strategies to train them in expanding their research.

– There will be benefits for all students in the capacity for tutors to add clear annotations for suggested use of sources and further reading.

– Tutors will be able to easily set exercises to advance and enhance student research skills, demonstrating good pedagogic practice and adding to learning outcomes for modules.

The online reading lists implementation project is well underway and Library staff have already uploaded 65% of the reading lists identified for Phase 1 of the project on to the system, ready for review and publication by module convenors. Training sessions are also being offered throughout the summer, to help familiarise you with the new system. If you would like to attend one of these, just let us know. Already training sessions have seen some exciting ideas suggested by tutors to make the most of the new system.

To show how the lists can help academic, information and digital literacy development, we have created an example list, which including a skills mapping note at the end of each section. We are aware that tutors at Reading are constantly involved in developing innovative teaching practices, and hope to keep sharing good practice and new ideas. Please do send any examples, case studies, or just off-the-cuff thoughts to Kerry Webb. We will collate them for further blog posts.

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