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RLO: Introduction to Reading Lists Onine

Benefits of Reading Lists Online

Reading Lists Online can help to deliver an excellent learning experience for students by providing seamless access to all their required reading from the Blackboard module site.  

Reading lists can also be a powerful teaching tool, helping students to engage with a diverse range of materials, develop skills around evaluating resources, plan their reading and become independent learners.  

Benefits of Reading Lists Online: 

  • Provide students with easy access to high quality, academic materials.  This includes direct links to ebooks, journal articles, digitised book chapters, websites, media resources and links to Library Search catalogue records for print resources.
  • Lists can be created and updated by academics with resources that are relevant to the module being studied.
  • Library staff can review lists to ensure that all recommended reading is readily available though the Library.
  • All material on a list is checked for copyright compliance, so academics can be assured that all resources meet copyright regulations.
  • Once created, the list is automatically uploaded to the relevant Blackboard module site.
  • Get statistics on what your students are accessing and how they are engaging with their recommended reading.
  • Student experiences of using reading lists is extremely positive, with 87.4% agreeing with the statement 'Do you find your reading list useful' (McGuinn et al., 2017).

Sheffield Hallam threshold standards and best practice for Reading Lists Online

These are the recommended standards for Reading Lists Online:

  • Reading lists should be well structured to guide the student to relevant reading throughout the module (for example Week by Week, Lecture by Lecture, Themes, etc).
  • Required reading should be marked as 'Essential' and additional or supporting reading indicated as 'Background' or 'Optional' reading.
  • For essential reading, your Library will aim to acquire a multi-access electronic version. Where resources are available in print format only, or with limited electronic access, extracts should be selected for digitisation (one chapter or 10% of a book, one journal article per journal issue). or another title selected. For more information please see the section on Digitisation.
  • If your RLO does not set importance for each resource (i.e. Essential/Background), Learning and Teaching (L&T) Librarians will contact academics and ask them to identify 10-15 books that will feature highly in their teaching.  This is especially important with long lists (over 75 items).  The selected texts will be checked for eBook availability and the academics will be notified to allow them to decide which items should be made 'Essential'. L&T Librarians can also provide advice on alternative resources in the subject areas. For information on who is your L&T Librarian, please check the Directory of Subject Librarians below.
  • Where print format is the only option, items should not be made 'Essential'.
  • Your reading list will automatically be linked from Blackboard, on the module home page. In order for this to happen, your reading list will need to include the module code under the Hierarchy. It is also possible to link to specific sections in your RLO in corresponding sections on your Blackboard module site. For more information see the section on Your RLO on Blackboard. 
  • Wherever possible, student numbers on the module should be included on the RLO.
  • Reading lists should be created and/ or updated and published in a timely manner, to ensure that materials will be available for the start of teaching. If possible, RLOs should be sent for Review published by the end of July for Semester 1 modules, and by the end of November for Semester 2 modules.

Further reading: The pedagogy of reading lists

"There is immense pedagogic potential in reading lists both in terms of promoting good information literacy and in enabling students to better engage with the wider literature of their subject areas." (Taylor, 2019, p223).

Light Bulb  Activity: Read the following articles to learn more about the benefits of online reading lists: