Moodle 2: Reading Lists Online

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A new and improved online reading service is in town! Its called Reading Lists Online (RLO) developed by a company called Talis Aspire. The fundamental aspect of the tool is that it is online; meaning that students can access their module/ course reading lists anytime from anywhere.

What is Reading Lists Online?

RLO provides students with quick and easy access to books, ebooks, journal articles and websites recommended for the modules they have registered for. No longer do students have to be subject to endless long word lists in their modules!

Why should I build a RLO for my modules in Moodle?

We recommend you use RLO in your modules in Moodle to provide students with quick and easy access to the books, articles and websites they need to use and since the reading is embedded in Moodle, it will make your online material more visually engaging. To get a good look at an example please see the Robert Gordon University’s example.

How do I get started?

Building a reading list is a two-stage process; first contact your subject librarian who will download the tool and help you populate it with the correct reading materials. The second stage, once you are familiar with the tool, is to be able to further edit your reading lists. To access the guidance site on this topic please visit here.

Who is my subject librarian?

Below is a prezi showing the subject librarians. If you’d prefer the library link to access your subject librarian then please go to this link.

How does it work with Moodle?

It works through adding a ‘reading list block’ which your subject librarian will help put together. RLO is integrated fully with Moodle enabling a seamless and modern interface for creating and reusing resource lists. Building your reading list in Talis Aspire will ensure that you have one “reading list” that can then be re-used and re-purposed in module guides and fully integrated into the various components of your course, week by week or topic by topic.  Items in your reading list will link through directly to the Library Catalogue providing real time availability information so that students can plan their reading strategy. The system also links to e-books, e-journals and other web based information resources.

What are the pedagogical advantages of using RLO for students?

It is recognised by educationalists that reading lists are an integral part of a student’s higher education academic experience (Stokes & Martin, 2008; Bartlett, 2010; Piscioneri & Hlavac, 2012).

A recent survey to assess the student experience of the  Social Work Practice and Research Methods in which 49 of the 60 students responded (response rate of 82%), by Dr. John Love at Robert Gordon University highlights the importance of engaging students to understand more about their list use – not just at an institution level as we often see, but also at a module level. This can provide specific relevant insights into the behaviour of single cohorts, allowing more detailed conversations to be entered into. For further details of this survey please go to the link.

In addition, our own library service in collaboration with the LDC ran its very own student survey that comprised of three student focus groups. and found that the students were overwhelmingly positive about the RLO. To find out more about this report please go to this link.


Bartlett, S., 2010. Resource list management – a system-based approach. CILIP, (June), pp.1–2.

Stokes, Peter, Martin, Lindsay, ‘Reading lists: a study of tutor and student perceptions, expectations and realities’, Studies in Higher Education, 2008: 33(2), 113-125.

Sultany, A & Halford, S. (2013) Using a techno-sceptisism framework to evaluate the percepton and acceptance of a new online reading list [available online] [accessed on 30.8.13]

Piscioneri, M. & Hlavac, J., 2012. The minimalist reading model: Rethinking reading lists in arts and education subjects. Arts and Humanities in Higher Education.

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