Lincolnshire Learning Lab Introduces: Active Online Reading

On: Wednesday 6th April 2022

Time: 3:30pm to 5pm

Learn more about how students read online, what they think about how we teach them to do so, and how their online reading habits relate to their transition to study at university. 

At all levels of education, reading is ubiquitous – it is relevant for all disciplines and all students.. Students’ reading practices have transformed over the past 20 years, with the increasing digitisation of resources, the emergence and then ubiquity of virtual learning environments, and the widespread use of mobile technologies. The pandemic has accelerated such developments, with the rapid roll-out of online and blended learning. Yet we know strikingly little about how students read online, how this relates to their overall learning, and which pedagogic strategies are effective.

Since 2021, colleagues from the University of Lincoln, the University of Nottingham, UCL, and Talis Education have been running a project that explores ‘active online reading’. This project explored digital reading practices and pedagogies across institutions, addressing students’ collaborative and independent reading activities. As part of the project, we ran surveys of staff and students that explored their digital reading practices and pedagogies in Higher Education, gaining over 700 responses.

Online reading is fundamental to the transition to higher-level study (learning new ways of reading, ‘unlearning’ old habits) and to disciplinarily (reading in a particular subject). In this session, we will introduce the project, before outlining our findings in relation to the reading practices and experiences of first year students, with a particular focus on the issue of transition to disciplinary study in higher education. We will then move on to outline what our research suggests are particularly effective strategies for teaching students to read actively in online and offline contexts.


  • Introduction to the Active Online Reading project
  • Survey results: transition and disciplinarity
  • Pedagogy: what works (and what doesn’t)


Jamie Wood is Professor of History and Education in the School of History and Heritage at the University of Lincoln. He has been working on pedagogic development projects in HE History for over 15 years, with a particular focus on technology-enhanced and active learning. This work has been funded by the Higher Education Academy, the Quality Assurance Agency and others. In 2014, he a held visiting a visiting fellowship at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, where he led a project on the use of technology to teach ‘text-based’ disciplines in HE. In 2021 he won the Royal Historical Society’s Teaching Innovation prize for his ongoing work on online reading.