“My reading list is full of books and articles, some are online, some are in the giant library and I’m not sure where to find them or even go about finding them”
It’s easy to see how some reading lists can make students feel a little overwhelmed. We read a recent blog post from Urbanest, a student accommodation company, on How to prioritise your wider reading at university, which offered some advice. The key to getting everything done (or at least the bare minimum) is prioritising. Using the right tool can help both the academic and the student to bring order to the chaos.
Academics throughout UK and Australia are using TARL to organise assigned readings clearly by importance and topics. This enables students to prioritise, and helps them cover essential material, therefore improving the student experience.
Marking importance of items
Academics are able to label resources on the reading list by importance, assigning ‘essential’ or ‘recommended’ labels to each item. These labels can be customised when your tenancy is created to match your institution’s most commonly used terms. The student is then able to sort the items by importance.
Doing this allows the academic to convey the importance of each item clearly. Once upon a time, the student may have needed to contact the academic directly to find out which items they needed to prioritise. The student can save time and is able to make decisions quickly on where to start.
Adding notes to items
Notes can be added to each item, e.g. ‘See chapter 4 for reference to ‘dark magic’ as shown in the screenshot above. This helps to provide more context and focus to the student’s reading. The student is guided to the right part of the book they need to read, and can even be advised as to why this is important and fits in with their wider study. This allows the entire item to be used, but the student can prioritise reading only a certain sections in order to gain enough context.
Notes are also useful when there are many items across a broad spectrum of topics which are deemed essential. The academic can add notes to determine the topic of each, to help the student decide which are right for them and their path of study, without needing to go into the library to read each item, or opening each online resource.
Working smarter with private notes
Not only can reading lists enable to students to be more efficient with prioritisation but it can also help them ‘work smarter’. Another thing that the Urbanest article advised was to take notes or add comments, recording points along the way. Talis Aspire Reading Lists allows the student to make private notes, and review them later under their profile section..
Bibliography made easy
And finally, what do students dread more than getting through their reading list? Citing it!
Luckily, Talis Aspire Reading Lists makes this a simple task. At the top of the list is a ‘view bibliography’ button which displays the reading lists as a bibliography. .
You can select the system you wish to cite in, such as Harvard, and export them to ris, PDF or CSV files, or export directly to RefWorks. This saves the students and academics time, reducing the time spent doing the task, but also time spent correcting it at the marking stage.
What is your favourite feature in Talis Aspire Reading Lists? What do you commonly hear from students or academics? Please share your feedback in the comments below!
View the #ReadingListoftheWeek to see effective and interesting lists!