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Reading Strategies Guide

Reading Strategy vs Reading for the Module

When you have formulated your strategy, you need to communicate it in 2 different ways for 2 different purposes:

  • As a reading strategy – a summarised version for validation or re-assessment, outlining the strategic approach and costs.
  • As reading for the module – communication for students giving specific details and access arrangements.

We have chosen the terms ‘Reading strategy’ and ‘Reading for the module’ to replace the generic term ‘reading list’ as part of validation documentation.

  • The Reading Strategy forms a permanent part of the validated module and will be included in the Module Data Set.
  • The Reading for the Module is a living part of the module and is likely to change over its lifetime. This is not included in the Module Data Set, though validation panels will expect to see a list of the reading you actually plan to recommend to students as an appendix to the main documentation.

Reading Strategy document

The Reading Strategy is aimed at validation panels and explains the rationale behind the module’s approach to reading.

You need to explicitly describe your module’s approach to reading, the availability of the reading and the associated costs together with information about how the details will be communicated to students.

Students have a right to be given a reasonable idea of the reading burden and financial implications of each module they plan to take in order to assist them in their choices and to clarify their expectations. The greatest grievance expressed by students is not that they have to buy books, but that they have to do so unexpectedly, or that they were expected to buy something that turns out not to actually be required. For this reason, a rough estimate of the expected costs to the student of book purchases for each module should be included in the strategy. It should also give an idea of the quantity of reading that is anticipated.

The elements you should include within the module reading strategy are:

  • A reasoned explanation of the type of reading that will be required for the module and how it will be made available.
  • An indication of the level of required and/or recommended purchases (with an indication of cost).
  • An indication of the quantity and range of reading required for the module.
  • An implementation strategy – i.e. how you will make sure the resources you have identified will be available in appropriate quantities and formats to meet the strategic approach you have chosen.
  • An indication of the cost to the Institution of providing the resources you have identified.
  • A communication strategy – i.e. how you will provide your students with the Reading for the Module, the detailed information about specific texts or recommendations. The information you include in your Reading for the Module can change year by year, but the form of it should stay consistent with what you say in your validated communication strategy.

If the reading strategy requires modification or amendment during the life of the validation you should submit it to a Minor Amendment Panel, in the same way as any other change to the module.

For more information, see the guidance on validation and revalidation documentation in the next section of this guide.

Reading for the Module

The Reading for the Module is the actual guidance you give students in a particular year about the reading requirements for the module.

This guidance is not part of the validated module documents. It can be changed as frequently as you choose, so long as the guidance fits within the reading strategy that you agreed at validation.

You can convey your guidance to students by any means you deem appropriate – this could be a simple list, an interactive discussion, an annotated literature review, a set of readings associated with tasks on Moodle or any of a range of creative options.

Increasingly, many staff prefer to spread their reading around their Moodle course, including both references to overall course reading and direct links to specific articles or book extracts.

If you will be providing or arranging opportunities to develop particular skills to help students find and use the reading, make that clear in your communication.

If you choose to use the term ‘reading list’, remember that it is only one of a range of possible approaches. There is no requirement to split books into groups of ‘essential’ and ‘recommended’ reading. Choose whatever way of organising and presenting your reading advice that suits your strategy. You are welcome to employ a traditional reading list – in whatever form suits the reading material and nature of the module – but this list will not form a permanent part of the validated module.

Last reviewed: 14 March 2024

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