Research Output

Empowering students through reading diaries.

  This presentation showcases an experiment on a level 3 undergraduate theory module, where reading diaries were introduced as a formal assessment method to help students deal more confidently with cultural and literary theory. In response to a high drop-out rate and instances of plagiarism on the module, we designed this new assessment method, based on research evidence that reading diaries achieve two things, namely that they empower students by enabling them to actively reflect on what it actually means to study theory, and nurture students’ confidence in their ability to engage with intimidating prose. Making the process and the difficulties of reading theory explicit facilitates a more self-assured encounter with and deeper understanding of the material.

A poster will provide an overview of the specific instructions students receive at the beginning of the module, together with sample reading diary entries and assessment criteria. Our presentation will also discuss examples from the first cohort that had to complete this assessment, and explain how it is designed to feed into other (more traditional) assessment components on this and a subsequent theory module, as well as preparing students for their final-year dissertation.

  • Publication Status:


  • Library of Congress:

    LB2300 Higher Education

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    378 Higher education


Schwan, A. & Wasson, S. (2007). Empowering students through reading diaries



Students; learning; teaching; assessment;

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