Unrolling the text: using scrolls to facilitate academic reading

Abegglen, Sandra, Burns, Tom, Middlebrook, Dave and Sinfield, Sandra (2019) Unrolling the text: using scrolls to facilitate academic reading. Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education, 14. ISSN 1759-667X


This case study shows how we have used textscrolls to address academic reading in our Facilitating Student Learning postgraduate module. We outline how we explored with staff the potential of the textscroll to offer a more welcoming, accessible, collaborative and dialogic encounter with reading than the codex (bound book or article). Drawing briefly on a literature review commissioned when part of the LearnHigher Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, we consider reading not just as a semantic or linguistic activity but as a socio-political one especially for those, like our students, who are typically placed as educational outsiders. We harness the work of Dave Middlebrook (one of our co-authors) and his discussion of the power relations of the bound text and the liberatory potential of the unrolled textscroll. We conclude with an example of what happened when one of our staff participants took scrolls back to her third year Design students, and we argue that utilising emancipatory teaching practices can make higher education more inclusive.

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