Over the last few months a number of staff at the RAU University have been working behind the scenes to implement the new resource list tool for academic staff, students and library staff. The selected software is ‘Talis Aspire’.
What is Talis Aspire?
“Talis Aspire is a learning resource platform that enables universities to successfully manage course reading for today’s increasingly demanding student…”
Talis Aspire is essentially Resource List Management Software. It is currently in use in 94 HE institutions. It benefits students, academics, and professional support staff:
Students expect to get the content they want quickly, easily and seamlessly. Online, offline, physical – they want it now. Talis Aspire Reading List will help us meet their demands. Students will have a better learning experience, knowing the right resources are available and also where to find them.
The Talis Aspire Reading List dashboard gives Academics a unique way to perform regular list health checks. As a result, they’ll be able to better understand and support students. Integrated analytics will also help academics understand clearly how students use reading lists and resources, and offer opportunities to make resource lists an evolving pedagogic tool rather than a relatively fixed list of texts.
Talis Aspire will make stock and acquisition workflows simpler, quicker, and more streamlined – cutting the time spent dealing with multiple reading-lists and purchase recommendations. Librarians will be able to target their budgets more effectively, and get increased leverage from resources.
Training and implementation process
Our Learning Technologist (Marieke Guy) who is leading the implementation organised two days of training for us in February. However, before the actual training (delivered on site by Talis) willing volunteers tried out a preliminary test of the system prior to the workshop so that we were all able to attend armed with some experience and a lot of questions!
For this preliminary testing library staff watched some useful videos (from youtube and Panopto) about bookmarking, creating profiles etc. and started exploring the system by following guidance notes on creating and editing resource lists, attaching lists to a node (module), publishing lists and so forth.
Then, the Talis trainer visited the RAU campus on Wednesday 7th and Thursday 8th February 2018. All Library staff and few key IT staff and academic staff attended the sessions.
The first day’s morning session was attended by all likely to be involved in Talis Aspire implementation, and this set the scene for other parts of the training.
In the afternoon the main focus was on how to market reading lists to the academics, and our likely involvement with training them.
The second day of training focused on Acquisitions and Reviews, as well as reporting, use of Google analytics, rollover and hierarchy updates etc. The trainers also provided detailed information about the support available from Talis.
From the librarians’ perspective we now understand better that the investment in reading list software will improve the student experience, will improve collection management, and maximize the value of existing stock.
We are looking forward to working with Talis to deliver a reading list solution that best meets the needs of staff and students at the University of RAU. We need to overcome the challenges of resistance to change, convert the sceptics and build some engagement strategies such as:
and produce promotional material like posters, giveaways, guides, leaflets etc.
The take home messages from the training days were that reading list management may look complex and challenging to implement, but it is a vital resource in helping to scaffold student learning and improve student satisfaction. It is also reassuring that we are not alone in the challenges we are facing and there is lot of support out there available from Talis, from the other institutions that already use Talis Aspire, and from within our University.