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Reading Lists strategy

The University of Warwick and Talis Aspire

Talis Aspire was adopted by the University of Warwick in 2013 for the management and publication of reading lists. To date, just under 50% of lists are published in Talis Aspire each year.

The Library have been working with PVC for Education, Professor Chris Hughes, and Deputy PVC Professor Gwen Van Der Velden on behalf of the Education Committee to develop a strategy to increase engagement with Talis Aspire and to provide information and guidance for academic staff in using it.

Both Chris and Gwen are clear that “Reading Lists for students are crucial to the University’s Education Strategy and enhancing student experience. They are important to our students’ learning and development and they facilitate the Library’s provision of excellent resources for student needs.”

The Education Committee is, therefore, aiming for universal take up of Talis where possible to ensure equality and consistency of access to resources.

Benefits to student experience

We know from student surveys, eg NSS, that electronic reading lists are crucial for students when accessing learning resources. Shortage of core course material is a significant and recurring feature of student qualitative feedback. Clear structure and well explained guidance on how to engage with a reading list is also important to students. A well thought out and structured reading list can help students to engage effectively with their discipline and, when combined with an effective induction, can help them to develop confidence in more independent research activity. However, on the contrary, evidence suggests that very long and unstructured lists can contribute to student stress and anxiety – students find it difficult to engage with such lists, and are less likely to prepare effectively for seminars and tutorials.

Students respond very positively to Talis Aspire, which helps to facilitate a clearly laid out list and provides the ability to annotate and guide students as they work through the readings. They are, therefore, supportive of moving towards universal take up of Talis Aspire.

Importance to TEF

The inclusion of Learning Resources as a metric in subject level TEF only increases the importance of our ability to move ahead with electronic reading lists. Universal take up of Talis Aspire will enable the University to deliver, and to demonstrate, a consistent and student focussed approach to the provision of core readings.

Benefits for Academic Teaching Staff

There are many advantages for academics in using Talis Aspire to provide reading lists. They are easy to keep up to date, can be embedded in Moodle course pages, can be annotated to provide information / clarification for students engaging with the list, can be used to provide scanned copies of key chapters and also enable the Library to efficiently in procure texts in appropriate numbers for the cohort. Support / training can also be provided on 1:1 or small group basis on request.

The University is committed to increasing engagement with Talis Aspire. It is a key element of its commitment to providing excellent teaching and to promoting student wellbeing, and revised guidelines have been drawn up in this context.