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] Introduction 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 Engineering, Health Social Science Maths and Science Sciences 55 43 2 Cross-Faculty 1 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 read. - 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 students, o Ensure the web page follows accessibility guidelines and is print friendly. 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.