Reading in the digital age:what do students think and do?

Hargreaves, Helen and Robin, Sarah and Caldwell, Elizabeth (2021) Reading in the digital age:what do students think and do? In: ALDinHE 2021: The Learning Development Conference, 2021-04-072021-04-09, University of Northampton / Virtual. (Unpublished)

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An increasingly important aspect of undergraduate study is the ability to deal with reading academic texts in digital format. Whilst the literature suggests that students prefer reading print texts (Mizrachi 2015, Foasberg 2014), and often have a deeper level of engagement with texts in this format (Mangen et al. 2013; Delgado et al. 2018) the reality is that for most students digital texts will be the norm. Study guides often focus on reading strategies that are considered broadly applicable to both digital and print formats. However, the differences between the two formats are likely to impact on the strategies used, with students developing their own approaches as they gain more experience. In this paper, we present preliminary findings from an ALDinHE funded study exploring students’ perspectives and practices in relation to digital reading. We carried out focus group interviews with 20 students in their second or final year of undergraduate degree programmes. Preliminary analysis reveals that reading in digital format does indeed form the bulk of students’ reading activity, with ease and speed of accessibility, cost and environmental considerations influencing this choice, and in some cases precluding reading in print. Students’ approaches to reading digital texts varied depending on reading purpose, but in general, students had developed a range of techniques to help them navigate digital reading. These included utilising digital tools, including searching within documents to find relevant information, using digital highlighters and making digital notes whilst reading. This paper will discuss these findings and their potential to inform the production of resources for reading development relevant to the digital age.

Item Type:
Contribution to Conference (Paper)
Journal or Publication Title:
ALDinHE 2021: The Learning Development Conference
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Deposited On:
21 Dec 2021 15:00
Last Modified:
22 Nov 2022 14:49