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UCL E-learning Baseline

Hazel MIngrey7 February 2018

Some rights reserved CC BY NC https://www.flickr.com/photos/65172294@N00/8736954584 ; https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/

‘Tribute to Roger Ebert’ by get directly down

Our colleagues in Digital Eduction have recently been working on updating the UCL E-Learning Baseline.

The e-learning Baseline is now included in the Academic Manual, and offers a best practice template for taught courses at UCL, setting out the minimum expectations of a module.  One of the drivers is to support students who need consistent and clear information on their module, readings and assessments.

The baseline includes a requirement to have a reading list for students and recommends ReadingLists@UCL; it also clarifies that UCL policy is to have reading materials available for students 48 hours before teaching (both in section 5: Resources).

 

Providing consistency across programmes, and clarity of what reading is required, is one of the most positive feedback messages we have had from students about ReadingLists@UCL.  For some modules their reading requirements are spread over a handbook, with sometimes different or additional information in Moodle, and by email: having one consistent place to check makes their life much easier.  This also helps the library ensure books and journals are provided in time, and can translate into good feedback for your module.

Though reading lists themselves don’t have a baseline, we do run ‘Best practice’ sessions for academics.

In a Best Practice Reading Lists session last year we spoke to teaching staff in the Engineering department about recent research around how students use reading lists, and what potential barriers they find in understanding what is required of them, or accessing their essential readings in time.  All barriers are very simple to overcome, for example by using the controlled language provided by the ‘Essential’ ‘Optional’ tags on each reading; and dividing the list into sections by topic or by week needed.  Enriching your list with personal annotations really helps students understand whether you are pointing to a few readings that could be useful, or a seminal text they can’t get by without.  Some academics even like to point to readings they don’t believe have very good arguments, or are based in another library to oblige the student visit another institution: this is also helpful to make clear!

This is the Best Practice reading list of a very few resources used during our session.

Would you like a similar session for your department, or a quick 1:1 to look at your module?  Or would you find a baseline for reading lists a helpful guide?  You can reach us by email, or call or visit the TLS.

 

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.

 

Case study: why not put readings in Moodle?

Hazel MIngrey26 October 2017

The question we are asked most often by teaching staff is why not just use Moodle for providing links and pdfs to readings?  Today’s case study shows one student’s experience of this.

 

Easy access for students?

Easy access for students?

A student contacted the library e-resources team as she had difficulty accessing an article online.  Her Moodle course is well organised and gives key readings with some great context and reading notes.  Several of the readings, however, led to an error page instead of the online article.

This is happening for two reasons.  The URL for the reading was copied and pasted directly from the web address bar.  For some resources, such as OVID, the web address contains session information or search terms: it is not a stable link.  When re-visited later, the link no longer works.

A second problem is that even if a stable link is used, it does not include the information which prompts students to log in with their UCL details.

In the majority of cases, both these issues can be resolved by bookmarking from ReadingLists@UCL in the recommended way – using a bookmarking button, much like Pinterest or del.icio.us.  When you first set up a list we will offer a quick orientation to show you how to do this.

For a handful of specialist databases, bookmarking requires an extra step. You can ‘Request review’ when your list is complete, and TLS will check and amend links for you; or ask TLS to create the bookmarks for you.  For those who prefer to be self-sufficient we have some guides: in the tag cloud to the right, click on ‘Non-standard bookmarking‘.

 

How can this situation be avoided on your course?

  • Set up an online reading list and have a brief orientation with TLS
  • Switch on the ‘Library Resources’ block to make a stable link from Moodle to the online list
  • Let your students know about the online reading list!
  • Remove any articles from Moodle to avoid duplication of work, and confusion for students

 

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.

 

Goodbye paper, hello electronic: one academic’s story

SandraBamborough17 September 2015

One member of UCL teaching staff used to hand out paper versions of his reading list for use in class, however he has now changed his practice to use ReadingLists@UCL instead.

During face-to-face teaching, students now add their notes about each reading directly into the online reading list, using their ipads or laptops. Notes against each reading are private to each student and accessible only by them. They can also use the ‘Have you read this?’ buttons on ReadingLists@UCL to organise their reading intentions.

If a printed version of a reading list is still useful you, or they, can export the online reading list to a printable PDF:

  • to print the reading list in its existing layout, select ‘Export’ then ‘Export to PDF’
  • to print a list of the readings in alphabetical order, use the ‘View bibliography’ button click ‘Export’ then ‘Export to PDF’
  • or to view this list in different citation styles: ‘View bibliography’ and select a citation style from the drop-down box ‘Harvard’. If a key citation style is missing, use the ‘Feedback’ button (top toolbar) to request another.

The QR code in the top right hand corner of each printed reading list enables students to return directly to the online version, with all the advantages that brings.

Do let us know about any other exciting ideas you may have, or tell us about innovative ways in which you use your online reading lists. Students, please use the Feedback button on your reading lists to let us know your thoughts!

 

The MAPS approach to reading lists

SandraBamborough14 May 2015

Earlier this year I met with the MAPS Faculty Library Committee to give them a quick introduction to ReadingLists@UCL.  The composition of this meeting was really good because as well as academics the attendees included the Subject Librarian, the StAR (Student Academic Representative), academic/student liaison and an administrator, so I could showcase the benefits of the online reading lists to all of these audiences.

Some departments in MAPS find that they have little need for books in their teaching so this was the perfect opportunity to illustrate that a reading list does not have to be stuffed full of references to books and journals, but instead can be as little as a few links to relevant professional organisations that students need to be aware of. The Q&A session was followed by a brief demo of what reading lists could contain, where I emphasised various online resources, not just books.

Following on from the meeting we were tasked with putting together a short ‘crib sheet’ for the department. We already have the online ‘Quick Guide’, but we tailored another guide for the MAPS faculty and included an example of how to link to a website, how to link reading lists to Moodle blocks and how to install the Bookmarking Button. The resulting MAPS Getting Started with online lists guide is now online.

We further customised the guide with a list of suggested resources which could be useful, particularly on courses where reading lists aren’t commonly used.  Being familiar with the subject areas, Robert Tomaszewski, the Subject Librarian, was very happy to contribute these suggested resources.

This list of suggested resources is also presented as an online list to illustrate how it works in practice.  MAPS lecturers can include the resources in their own reading lists, or link to the guide.  For example, there is a guide to avoiding plagiarism, or you might prefer to include the link to UCL’s current plagiarism guidelines for students, as some other academics have also done on their reading lists.

MAPS have chosen to recommend that their lecturers create their own lists. We set the lists up, send editing access to the tutor and offer a quick orientation, so they can start managing their list. Take a look at an interesting list.

This strategy has worked fantastically well for the Faculty, with resulting successes so far of 99 out of 103 courses for Mathematics (96%) having an online reading list, whilst Statistical Science have reached the magic 100%. A similar approach could be taken by other Departments with low or relatively low take-up of reading lists, with suggested resources tailored to each department.

There are of course many alternative approaches to increase the number of reading lists and improve the student experience.  Please email us for further information, or to request a ReadingLists@UCL poster, aimed at either students or staff, which you can customise for your department.

How ReadingLists@UCL can help you at exam time

SandraBamborough26 February 2015

Many UCL courses have an online reading list to guide you in your study. Reading lists are a tailored list of resources which may include links to full text readings, library books or TV clips, which you can access online anywhere, any time.

Your reading list is an essential tool to help you revise for your exams.  It might contain readings which you have read in preparation for class, and they are a quick and easy way for you to look back over them when doing your revision.  Many readings might be key texts which link out to full-text e-journal articles, or e-books.  Where books are in the library, you will see links to the library catalogue (Explore) so you can instantly check whether the book is on the shelf and place a reservation if it is on loan.

Where your tutors have written notes to guide you, or tags to show which resources are essential reading, these will also prove helpful as you go back over the resources you have used this year.   You can sort the list by importance and refer back to any of your own notes that you may have added (remember to sign in first!).  Perhaps most importantly, you can export the readings into a different citation format, invaluable when referencing your sources.

Access the reading lists for your courses directly through Moodle via a link in the ‘Library resources’ block (where you can also see any relevant Online Exam Papers).  Search the ReadingLists@UCL homepage by module code or title, or by your lecturer’s name if they have made this available. You can also browse by department or search Explore, the library catalogue.

You can find more information on the student information webpage for reading lists and if you need any help do please contact your Subject or Site Librarian!

Good luck!

Student engagement at UCLU Education Conference

SandraBamborough24 February 2015

This Saturday 21st February Hazel and I took the ReadingLists@UCL advocacy campaign

Photo Hazel & Sandra 2

into the student heartland of the UCLU Education Conference, held this year at the Institute of Child Health.

Our stall gave us the opportunity showcase the highlights and benefits of the online reading lists in a very visual manner that appealed to the attendees.

 

 

We showed students that online reading lists allowed them to view readings in different citation styles, or export the citations to Endnote, Reference Manager, Zotero etc. for use in their work; they could sort the resources on their list by ‘type’ or ‘importance’, for example to group all essential readings together.  In essence, they could make the list their own by adding private notes and a reading status for each item.

Photo Sandra & student

Many of the students were unaware of the online reading lists and when shown the benefits were very impressed and determined to ask their lecturers why their courses did not have one!   Some students actually discovered they did have a reading list – only they hadn’t been shown how to access it, and were delighted to find they could do so seamlessly from Moodle, as long as the course tutor or administrator had remembered to switch on the Library Resources block.

 

 

The Student Academic Representatives, or StARS as they are better known, were particularly impressed. They will be taking back the message that online reading lists are an essential part of the student learning experience at UCL and need to be more widely adopted by departments across UCL.

We reminded the students that ReadingLists@UCL are best for:

  • Revising from home
  • Clear guidance on essential / recommended readings
  • Distance learning courses
  • Many full text readings so no need to visit the library…
  • …but also, live links to the library catalogue to see if books are on the shelf right now! If not, just click through to reserve books
  • Making your own notes on each reading
  • Consistency across programmes

 

For information and FAQs for students, visit www.ucl.ac.uk/library/teaching-support/reading-lists/student