Reading List audit (Word, 150kb)

Summary Report on the Reading List Audit
Trinity Inclusive Curriculum Project
Trinity College Dublin
April 2009
Trinity Inclusive Curriculum
Room 3.06, 3-4 Foster Place
Trinity College Dublin
Telephone +353 (0) 896 3666
Facsimile +353 (0) 1 896 3672
E-mail [email protected]
Reading Lists are provided as guidelines to the most relevant texts to support
student learning. As they are a vital resource it is important that they are
accessible, up-to-date and entail a manageable workload. A Reading List audit
was conducted as part of the Trinity Inclusive Curriculum (TIC) Project, to identify
guidelines for good practice. The Reading List audit was not exhaustive and was
limited to undergraduate courses. A representative sample from across the
faculties was reviewed.
Executive Summary
101 Reading Lists were collated from across the three faculties, which breaks
down as follows:
Arts, Humanties and
Social Science
Maths and Science
Lists were examined for:
 Accessibility,
 prioritization of texts,
 indication of reading material for individual lectures,
 annotation,
 recency.
Key findings
Of the 101 Reading Lists reviewed:
75 were available electronically,
41 used serif fonts.
There was common use of single spacing in paragraphs not in line with Clear
Print guidelines.
80 included a course outline and/or learning outcomes for the module.
28 indicated key or priority texts.
36 indicated texts which correspond with lecture material.
32 were annotated, the lecturer provided additional information about the
text, whether a brief summary of the text or indicating relevant chapters to be
47 had clearly been recently updated to include recently published reading
material. For 36 of the 39 Engineering, Maths and Science Reading Lists, the
dates of the texts were not given.
Qualitative analysis
As part of the TIC Project a Student Experiences Survey was conducted.
Students were invited to provide in-depth responses and a total of 56 comments
were posted for reading list satisfaction and availability. Of these:
2 requested clearer formats,
8 related to availability and distribution of handbooks, 3 of which stated that it
would be useful to have reading lists before the beginning of courses, and
where reading lists are individualised, provided before lectures.
7 related to the length of the reading list, 5 citing some level of stress at the
length and uncertainty regarding the extent of reading required.
23 related to prioritisation or annotation, 12 stating that prioritization or
annotation would be extremely useful, the remainder stating that it is a
problem that Reading Lists are not prioritized or annotated, or beneficial
when they are.
1 recommended the provision of Reading Lists for individual lectures.
5 related to the availability of texts in the Library citing that books are not
available, difficult to get hold of, or there are not enough copies.
2 related to the need to provide up-to-date Reading Lists.
3 related to the relevance of books on Reading Lists, suggesting that books
listed are too general or not obviously relevant.
Examples of Good Practice
There were many examples of good practice in Reading Lists. Useful additional
information included:
Detailed course outlines,
Texts grouped according to topics,
Questions/ ideas to consider while reading,
Sample essay/exam questions,
Note on availability of texts,
Inclusion of recently published reading material,
Note that texts have been made available as reserve items,
Note on journal articles which are available via TCD web proxy,
Note on bookshops which stock the required reading material,
Useful websites and databases,
Lecturer’s contact details/ hours of availability,
Lecturer request for feedback on which books were considered most useful,
Reference to departmental policy on plagiarism.
Good Practice Suggestions
Follow Clear Print guidelines.
Provide reading lists in advance of term,
o avoid adding new material throughout the delivery of the module.
Ensure reading lists are available online,
o agree a location in which to store reading lists on departmental
websites, where it will be available both to current and prospective
o Ensure the web page follows accessibility guidelines and is print
Include a style manual for referencing.
Indicate, where appropriate, key texts for the course.
It is useful to indicate texts which correspond with the lecture material
each week in advance of term.
Ensure reading lists provide the most relevant and recently published
texts for a given topic,
o Update on an annual basis.
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