Talis for Core Reading FAQ Talis for Core Reading FAQ

Q: I’ve heard that Talis is now expected for all core reading, why is this?

A: In May 2017, Learning and Teaching Committee agreed the full adoption of TALIS for essential course texts, i.e. core reading, across all schools to more effectively tackle the issues the students have raised about the inconsistencies of the current process.

Q: When will this come into effect?

A: Academic colleagues are being asked to comply from the 2017/18 academic year, with an indicative target of 31st July 2017 for new lists, and rollover of existing lists. This is to enable sufficient time for new items to be ordered for the start of teaching in Semester 1 and for students to get access to their reading prior to the semester.

We recognize that some people may not yet know which modules they are teaching until much later in the year. If this is the case, do not to worry if they can’t meet the end of July deadline, but please provide information via Talis as soon as feasible after that. 

We will still accept reading lists all the way through to the start of the semester and beyond, but priority will be given on a first come first served basis. 


Q: How will this work in practice?

A: For core reading, it is a reasonable expectation that a TALIS-based list should be provided for any module where a reading list could normally be expected.
The minimum level of compliance would be a reading list containing the core readings for each week. Core readings are defined as the materials students are expected to read over the duration of the module in order to be able to fully participate in lectures and seminars, and will obviously vary across disciplines.

Q:What about further reading?

A: Obviously if further readings are also recommended as part of the reading list, academics are strongly encouraged to include these on TALIS as well.

Q: Are there any exceptions?

A: The only exceptions to using TALIS would be lengthy bibliographies (c. 75+ items per module) which would be very time consuming to enter on TALIS and so would continue to be acceptable as Word or PDF files. However, in such circumstances, the expectation would be to provide a basic core reading list for that module on TALIS as well, made up of a subset of the readings listed in the bibliography.

Q: Why is there a University agreement for full adoption?

A: Without greater take-up through full adoption, UEA would continue to offer TALIS for Reading Lists as an ‘opt-in’ service.  This would have perpetuated the current, uneven model of resource provision for courses that has been the case for many years and that has been further highlighted as a result of the partial adoption of TALIS.

Q: What is the background to this decision?

A: The decision was made to assist the library in better provision of learning resources to support academic teaching. If TALIS was not fully adopted, the current status quo would remain. The reality is that:

1. TALIS has highlighted modules of the University where core reading list provision to students and/or the Library is not happening consistently; previously this institutional problem, affecting over 50% of modules, has been hidden.

2. Hard copy (Word and PDF) reading lists, even if they are uploaded on Blackboard, are rarely provided to the Library in a timely fashion, meaning student learning is affected when the books are not in stock in the library.

3. To save time, many academics link to, or even upload PDFs, to Blackboard in contravention of the CLA license terms. (Instead, doing this via TALIS, there is an automated checking process that ensures what is uploaded is CLA compliant, meaning the academic need not concern themselves with that time-consuming process, and also reducing the institutional risk.)

4. Hard copy reading lists have to be rechecked in their entirety each year they are submitted and this process takes 4x longer than checking a TALIS list. Whilst that 4x workload is then on the Library, it does inevitably lead to delays in ordering, meaning it is less likely that materials will be available to the students in time for the semester.
By contrast, TALIS for core reading will provide a more consistent student experience for core readings, better links to digitised readings, and automatically alert the Library to items not in stock rather than academics having to email separately.

We (the library) suggest these “hidden” benefits also need to be taken into account when assessing the workload implications of TALIS.

Q: Requiring the use of TALIS takes longer than providing a hard copy version. This adds to academic workloads

A: We acknowledge concerns from academic colleagues about the Talis reading list adoption for core reading and its potential impact on academic administrative workloads.

In terms of the initial setup of reading lists, this will sometimes take more time than using an existing hard copy (Word or PDF) document.

However the time-saving benefits accrue year on year as next time the module is run, and in all subsequent years, only the items that have changed will need to be edited on TALIS, potentially saving academic time.

To assist with that early spike in workload, the Library’s reading List Administrator will be as accessible as possible to academic colleagues and administrators.

Q: Why is UEA using TALIS?

A: TALIS is not unusual reading list software – it is used in around 90 other institutions in the UK. It provides additional functionality in comparison with static reading lists, including reliable linking, digitised readings, automated annual or biannual rollover, usage reporting, etc. Most importantly it provides a more consistent student experience, ensuring that more students get to see their core readings in a timely fashion and potentially leading to better learning and engagement.

Q: What are the benefits of Talis over Blackboard and PDF reading lists?

A: There are many, including live details of book availability, links to ebooks and online articles and digitsed chapters. Further details can be found on the Learning Technology support pages.

Q: I’m not on Talis, how can I get set up?

A: Our Get Started web page has step by step instructions, including PDF and video help guides.

Q: I need help with my list, especially with linking to eBooks and articles. Where do I go?

A: Contact the Reading Lists administrator at lib.reading@uea.ac.uk.