Manchester Metropolitan University homepage
Library homepage

Reading lists for staff

Providing resource lists online for the courses you teach.

Effective reading lists

An effective, clearly laid out reading list can enhance the student experience by:

  • enabling students to manage their reading more effectively
  • ensuring students are able to easily locate and access resources you are recommending 
  • improving communication between the department and library 
  • raising student satisfaction rates 

5 Top Tips

1. TELL your students what you expect them to do!

If you want students to do the reading – TELL them in lectures, in seminars, in the unit handbook, on Moodle that you have a list and you expect them to read. Research suggests reading compliance is higher with weekly readings than the occasional. Make sure the items they need to read are clearly flagged with the appropriate level of importance (item to purchase, essential or further reading).

2.  Annotate your list and tell the students how this resource will improve their life!

Students can’t tell whether one resource is more appropriate than another from a reference, so annotate your list and TELL them why Bob Smith’s book on presentation skills is so great, and how it’s crammed full of essential advice they’ll need for their assessed presentation. Think sales pitch.

3. Embed items in the course content of Moodle

Students are also busy people, so if you want them to read, embed the important sections of your reading list into Moodle. That half an hour they’re spending tracking down an article could be more usefully spent actually reading it! If you’re concerned about spoon-feeding, consider running seminar exercises on information literacy (your Subject Librarian can help!) and develop your students’ research skills more effectively.

Check out this short video to find out how you can embed weekly/thematic sections of a reading list directly within the content of a Moodle unit area.   

4. Regularly update your list

If your list is full of out-of-date texts, you’re undermining your own expertise. Update your list taking into account usage (using the dashboard feature), feedback from library staff and students. Add links to new resources on Amazon or publisher’s websites to your list, make a ‘Note for Library’, and send your list for ‘Review’ so your Subject Librarian knows to order the stock.

Contact your Subject Librarian for details about library suppliers enabling you to search for up-to-date material.

5. Include a range of formats

Reading lists aren’t just for books, research indicates that students prefer articles or chapters to read, and if these are available online they’re more likely yet to get read. The Library suppliers have hundreds of thousands of ebooks available whilst the Library provides a digitisation service for those key chapters which aren’t published electronically.

However, you’re not limited to texts, take a look at Box of Broadcasts or LinkedIn Learning, for example, for content inspiration.

Inspirational reading lists


Thanks to The University Of Reading.