Students’ reading practices have transformed over the past 20 years, with the increasing digitisation of resources, the emergence and then ubiquity of virtual learning environments, and the widespread use of mobile devices. The pandemic has accelerated such developments, with the rapid roll-out of online and blended learning. Yet we know strikingly little about how students read online, how this relates to their overall learning, and which pedagogic strategies are effective. The Active Online Reading project, led by the University of Lincoln alongside the University of Nottingham and UCL, and funded by the QAA and Talis, is looking to change all that.
We’re working in partnership with undergraduate and postgraduate student researchers across several institutions. The students will be conducting interviews and focus groups and producing resources on the online reading practices of their peers. You can find out more about the project team here.
The project is collating and sharing insights into online reading practices and pedagogies via a number of different channels:
- Reflective blog posts from student researchers, academic staff and pedagogues from a range of disciplines. Each of us is writing a blog post on our own digital reading practices.
- Case studies and practical pedagogic resources (e.g. worksheets) on online reading activity, drawn from the academic community.
- A literature review, compiled by one of our student researchers.
- A digital reading list on studies of online reading practices and pedagogies.
- Interviews and focus groups on students’ reading practices and staff teaching, as part of an effort to better understand the barriers to online reading, and effective pedagogies.
- Student and staff surveys – for more on these see the How to Get Involved section below…
Sharing our findings
We have already run a number of events with staff and students (details here), but we will be sharing our findings two main points in the course of the project:
- A presentation of interim findings at an online workshop in February with a guest speaker.
- An end-of-project mini-conference on 27th May 2022. This will take place in-person at the ICC in Birmingham.
At each of these events, we’ll present our findings and run activities to explore how to implement effective online reading strategies in your own teaching.
How to get involved – fill in our surveys and share your resources
A core element of the project is to gather insights from as wide a cross section of disciplines and institutions as possible, including through surveys of students, academics and others involved in teaching students how to read online in higher education (librarians, educational technologists and others). This is where you can get involved.
Our staff survey is gathering perspectives and practices of online reading pedagogies from across the sector. We want to better understand how students are taught to read online, how they are supported in doing so. We also want to identify examples of good practice and share them more widely.
- You can access and complete the staff survey here.
Our student survey focuses primarily on students’ personal reading practice. We want to delve into how this is supported within institutions, within curricula, and how students approach independent study through online reading.
- The student survey can be accessed here.
We will be offering 3 respondents to the student survey with Amazon vouchers for contributing to this study.
Please pass these surveys on to your colleagues, your students and your peers. The more responses that we receive, the bigger the impact that our findings will have.
We welcome your feedback on the project and would be delighted if you’d be willing to share any resources or insights so please do get in touch if you’re interested in our work by emailing Jamie Wood, the project leader, at email@example.com.