Yesterday I had a bit of a rant at my level 4 students. They have started work on a group project, but as yet I have failed to see any evidence of research and wider reading. I didn't intend to have a go at them, but when I turned up to class, and many of them were late, I felt I needed to remind them that reading takes time and can't be done the night before an assignment needs submitting.
I demonstrated how it could be done. Last week I spent 20 minutes retweeting information relevant to our subject on Twitter. It wasn't difficult - I skimmed through the last few hours of posts, clicked on any interesting looking links, skim read the text and then retweeted if appropriate. It meant that the following day I was able to review my own tweets and add links to the articles in question to our college Moodle pages for all the students to see. These links can now be reviewed at their leisure any time up until the assignment deadline.
Having just marked a set of assignments, it's clear how beneficial wider reading is. It teaches the students how to write academically, how to quote text or embed references, but overall, it gives them a much greater breadth of knowledge to draw on, which dramatically improves their understanding. I think I made an impression on them, as I noticed a few had started posting messages up on a shared resource since yesterday.
Now all I need to do is resume my own wider reading for my dissertation. It's rather a case of do as I say, and not as I do at the moment!!