Introduction. Reading list practices are long-standing but cause confusion and
misunderstanding between module leaders and students. Constructive alignment (Biggs and
Tang, 2011), although widely applied in course design across the UK Higher Education
sector, has not previously been applied to the practice of reading lists but offers a practical
and pedagogically sound method for reinventing reading list practice and bridging the gap of
understanding between the intentions of module leaders and the interpretation of students.
Objectives. To embed the practice of constructive alignment of reading lists in Oxford
Brookes University modules.
Method. The module leaders of seven modules were offered the support of a project led
by Oxford Brookes Library to redesign their modules so that the reading lists were
constructively aligned with the learning outcomes of the modules. After an initial run of the
redesigned modules the module leaders were asked whether they would embed the practice
of constructively aligned reading lists in their modules.
Result. Five of the modules were redesigned and continued with the redesign past the
initial instance, one of the modules exited the project before it was redesigned, and one of
the modules returned to the pre-project module design and reading list practice.
Conclusion. The project was successful in embedding constructively aligned reading list
practice in Oxford Brookes University modules past the first run of the module, but several
barriers to effective learning and teaching were identified with the most significant being a
lack of student engagement with the redesigned reading lists. The implication for practice is
that constructively aligned reading lists should include an element of summative assessment
to increase the chances of student engagement and the successful embedding of
constructively aligned reading lists in the design of modules.
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