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ReadingLists@UCL

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UCL and Talis co-hosted event

Hazel MIngrey1 December 2017

Talis Aspire and UCL eventThe ReadingLists@UCL software is provided by a company called Talis.  We have worked closely with them over the years to develop our service; feedback from UCL academics and students have led to improvements to the reading lists for everyone.

This week we co-hosted an event with Talis, attended by librarians and learning technologist from other Universities.  Some of the presentations and discussion really gave me pause for thought.

 

June Hedges reminded us that the UCL student body has more than doubled in the past ten years.  Budgets, space and resources certainly haven’t kept up with this amazing growth, so reading lists really is one of the essential value-for-money services we can offer:

  • using the lists to deliver readings digitised under the CLA licence, so paper print readings can reach all students on a taught module
  • to make the most of existing electronic resources by bookmarking articles, e-books and film direct to the reading list
  • … and in doing this, students clicks on key readings maintain the resources’ high usage statistics, which helps to ensure they continue to be funded for purchase.  (Adding a copied pdf into Moodle, by comparison, will mean no measureable indication that the journal is being used).

Eugene Walker from the School of Managment gave a wonderful insight into how his department has identified the benefits to using ReadingLists@UCL, wanted their students to have the improved academic experience, and doggedly set about improving their uptake!  They have some subject specific resources which they use to create excellent, helpful lists for students.  They also have some self-imposed ambitious targets for next year.

Goldsmiths had a similar approach to UCL, explained by Maria O’Hara: they aimed to thoroughly use their online reading lists from the start.  In their statistics they count reading lists which are set up, populated, and have the key texts purchased or digitised.  That is a great deal of work, but sets a wonderfully high standard for their users.

Something else I took away and will be working on this year, is looking ahead. One measure of our success last year was reaching the target of 65% coverage of reading lists for taught course modules.  This year we are focussing on:

  • Quality and currency.  Excellently resourced lists that are updated regularly, are enriched by commentary or notes, and excellently resourced.
  • Best practice.  What makes a good list?  Do you know if students are engaging with all or some of the list, or what they need from a list?  We will use research, student feedback and analytics to suggest best practice.
  • Use in teaching and research. Academic staff have told us how they use reading lists in the classroom for teaching, it would be good to capture this for peer-to-peer use.  We will also suggest ways to use lists as a tool to engage students in learning through research.

 

Everyone seemed engaged in the conversation and the TLS team certainly came away re-inspired with some academic-new-year resolutions for online reading lists.

 

ReadingLists@UCL reach 65%!

Hazel MIngrey10 August 2017

Bengal Owl from John Gould’s A Century of birds from the Himalaya Mountains (London: Published by the Author, 1831). (ref. STRONG ROOM E, LARGE FOLIO 950 G6) (c) UCL Special Collections

I am very pleased to report that ReadingLists@UCL has reached its target for July 2017: 65% of taught courses at UCL now have an online reading list.

The target was set in the UCL Library Services Strategy to have 65% coverage by the end of July 2017. 65% equates to more than 3,000 reading lists, and forty-one departments have met, or exceeded 65% coverage. To show how far we have come, the first measurement of the new system in October 2014 showed a baseline of around 29% coverage.

Librarians, administrators and academics have worked hard to embrace the online reading lists, with the aim of providing excellent quality guidance and resources to students. With a wealth of e-resources available to us at UCL, many essential texts link to full-text readings, or are digitised using our CLA licence.

Here are some figures. Between 1st September 2016 and 31st July:

  • there were more than 460,000 visitors
  • the top visited reading list was ‘ANTH1001 Introduction to material and visual culture’ with 5425 page views
  • total visits each month have been consistently higher than in the same period last year
  • the busiest month was October 2016 with more than 70,000 visits
  • … and around two-thirds of these were returning visitors, demonstrating that students return to lists rather than look just once.

 

You can read more about online reading lists on our webpages and in our ReadingLists@UCL blog.  And of course do get in touch if you would like to know more!

 

Happy new year!

Hazel MIngrey26 January 2017

Happy new year! 2016 was a good year for ReadingLists@UCL.

Here is our year in numbers

  • 2705 lists were set up by December 2016. Which represented:
  • 57% of all taught modules having an online reading list.
  • 407,545 visits (January – December 2016) which equated to:
  • 1,528,024 page views

If you are interested in the number of visitors to your reading list, log in to the list and click on the green ‘Dashboard’ button.  It will show the number of page views and how many times each reading has been clicked on in the past 30 days.

You prefer a story to figures?

In this film clip, an academic and student at the Shakespeare Institute, Birmingham, discuss their online reading lists and why they are helpful to their teaching and learning, respectively. They use the same reading list software as UCL, but with a different name. (Length: 3 minutes 53 seconds).

Happy new year 2017

Paul Wilkinson ‘Party Popper

Make a new year resolution

… to guide your students better in 2017 by setting up an online reading list, or updating an existing one.

The TLS team in the library are very happy to help, or drop in to our Senate House office on a Wednesday afternoon for a hands-on session. You could walk away with a list set up and completed!  Something ticked off your to do list: a good start to the year.

 

Increased uptake of Readinglists@UCL

Hazel MIngrey27 August 2015

We are delighted to report that 45% of current taught courses at UCL now have an online reading list.  This means the library has achieved its target figure for 2014-15, as set out in the UCL Library Services Strategy, 2015-18.

Even better is the response from students, who enjoy having all their resources easily accessible and in one place.  Lists can contain full text readings, film clips, Lynda.com training videos, links to professional bodies… or simply further reading in a traditional bibliography format.  Comments such as ‘Can I have a list for my other modules?’ are not uncommon.

Some departments have been quick to seize this easy way of improving student satisfaction:  Political Science, the Development Planning Unit and the Institute of Neurology were among the first departments to create online lists for all their current taught courses and reach 100%.  The MAPS faculty engaged as a whole, resulting in terrific coverage across its departments in a short space of time.

A new feature this year has been to not just link a reading list to its relevant Moodle course, but to embed readings into the body of Moodle.  We have also added more citation styles, as requested by departments.  Can you think of other developments you would like to see for your reading lists?  We welcome feedback.

Our library target for 2015-16 is for 55% of modules to have an online reading list.  New UCL students are already asking for reading lists for their upcoming courses, so don’t hesitate to get in touch, request a list, or drop into a summer session to find out more!

 

Have students really looked at this list?

PamelaClarke31 July 2014

Interested to know how frequently your reading lists are being looked at?  Has that important item on your list actually been read by students?  If you are curious,  then try the green “Dashboard”  button at the top of your reading list.

Dashboard is a neat feature that provides some statistics on how many times a resource  has been clicked on, and even provides links to alternative resources for some items.  The Dashboard button is located under the table of contents on your list, and uses a traffic-light colour coding system to indicate frequency of use.  Green for high,  amber for moderate, and red for low resource use.  You can adjust the date range to capture a termly or even weekly snapshot of traffic.

One note of warning: the figures include repeat clicks on the resource, rather than the number of individual students accessing readings, so figures are a rough indicator only.

This can also have more useful applications if you are interested in using this type of feedback as part of your teaching practice.  Check out the Dashboard and let us know if you find it useful, or can think of any improvements!