By Jennifer Dumbleton
Module reading lists are useful teaching tools, but as a librarian I have seen firsthand how confusing they can sometimes be for students. When are they supposed to find the time to read all these books? Are some better than others? How do they even know if the boks are relevant to them?
I don’t think the answer is to spoonfeed students all of their reading, but I think it is important to listen to the student perspective on reading lists and their ideas about how to improve them. This term University Librarian Judith Keene, Primary students Sarah Brewster and Ellie Newman, and I completed a Students as Academic Partners project designed to do just that. The slideshow below shows the background of the project, how it was carried out, and where we hope the work will lead.
Using the new resource list system Aspire, Sarah and Ellie created their own version of the PITE2001 Professional Studies 2 reading list. I have to say I think it’s a good one; it has a lot of breadth, which is appropriate for the subject, and is current. At the same time, though, it reflects their interest in making sure reading lists are assignment relevant, rather than just providing wider reading around the topic of the module. Next year, the student-generated list will run alongside tutor Joy Carroll’s list, and the library will try to compare usage and feedback for the two lists.
I may be biased, but I hope this is the beginning of a renewed interest in reading lists, how they are used and how they influence reading habits. Both Ellie and Sarah seemed to believe the new, easier-to-find lists created in Aspire wouldn’t put them off investigating further, off-list reading. I look forward to seeing what happens next year.