Encouraging Active Reading in Large Classes

Jon Chandler, Department of History, University College London

Summary: UCL, like many other higher education institutions, employs large-group teaching across much of its undergraduate curriculum. In History, these modules generally adopt a lecture/seminar format, in which assigned preparatory reading feeds into classroom discussions. However, such a large class environment often results in reduced student engagement with learning, less lecturer feedback, and a difficulty in developing students’ active reading skills. This case study discusses efforts to engage students in active reading in a large lecture class of 250-300 students.

Download the full Encouraging Active Reading in Large Classes case study here.

Reading Club

Maria Kutar, Business School, Salford University

Summary: Reading Club was designed for students joining L4 Business programmes. The primary aim was to facilitate discussion of students’ expectations about reading, and to provide a vehicle to develop good reading habits at the start of their degree. Reading Club operated for a 6-week period, guiding students to develop their reading and study habits, and embedding reading for a key module in their first trimester of study.

Download the full Reading Club case study here. Download Reading Club introductory slides here.

Confidence is Key

Aimee Merrydew, Curriculum Developer, Keele Institute for Innovation and Teaching Excellence, Keele University

Summary: Collaborative annotation is a powerful means of building students’ reading capabilities, especially in terms of boosting their confidence in reading academically. This case study outlines an approach that was adopted in an English module during the emergency transition to remote learning in 2020, when students were no longer able to work together in-person on readings that they had been set.

Download the full Confidence is Key case study here. You can also an article that Aimee has written on this project for the Journal of Academic Development and Education here (edition 8, 2021, pp. 8-20).

Reading Medieval History Online

Anna Rich-Abad, School of History, University of Nottingham

Summary: The main aim of this set of reading-development activities was to support students on a second-year medieval history module in engaging with historiography and primary sources, building their confidence and providing different platforms of expression, particularly for shy or non-verbal learners. This was done through engaging them in online reading activities using Talis Elevate and Padlet.

Download the full Reading Medieval History Online case study here.

Developing Close Reading

Jamie Wood, School of History and Heritage, University of Lincoln

Summary: Reading is fundamental to all subjects at university, but especially to History, a discipline in which direct engagement with primary and secondary sources is fundamental. This case study addresses how an active and collaborative approach to engaging with texts developed students’ skills in close reading. The approach is outlined, student feedback summarised and a series of ‘top tips’ provided.

Download the full Developing Close Reading case study here.