typodupeerror
• Note-taking style varies with the lecture (Score:2)

I was in engineering school so I always took notes with pen and paper. With the few arts courses I did take, I found huge advantages to taking notes with a computer. The engineering lectures were mostly linear and had a lot equations and diagrams to copy. The arts lectures were more non-linear. I cursed every time I had to write another point in a section we covered 10 minutes ago.

Then there are the courses which are covered following power point slides. Some students had tablet PCs and were easily able to

• Notebook and Webcam/Camera Phone and OneNote (Score:4, Informative)

on Sunday February 07, 2010 @04:41PM (#31054572)
I take notes all the time with my laptop. You can use your camera phone or webcam to snap a photo of the diagrams. If you have permission, record the lecture as well if you have a built-in microphone (use Dragon Naturally Speaking or something similar to write the notes automatically.)

Offer to share the information with your prof or student teacher and they will usually give you the green light or become the note taker for the class (some schools have them for hard of hearing/deaf students - R.I.T. [rit.edu])...

If you use something like MS OneNote [microsoft.com] you can drop all these separate pieces onto the note pages and keep them better organized. Text, your notes, the sound clips, and the diagrams...

• At My University (Score:4, Insightful)

on Sunday February 07, 2010 @04:42PM (#31054576)
At my university, most CS students do not take notes at all. It's kind of foreign to see someone taking notes in a CS course. I assume it is because CS courses are about understanding the concept instead of memorizing information. Because it's not as much memorization, note taking is not as needed.
• Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

Whereas math and physics, where people take copious notes, are all about rote memorization? I don't think so.

If you don't need to take notes, you aren't being challenged enough.

• Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

Whereas math and physics, where people take copious notes, are all about rote memorization? I don't think so.

If you don't need to take notes, you aren't being challenged enough.

For physics and mathematics at a reasonably high level (late undergraduate to graduate level courses), assuming you have decent course literature, it makes no sense at all to take notes. The equations and derivations are generally so complicated that both copying them and really listening to what the lecturer is saying is not really an option.

At least for me, I feel I learn faster from devoting my attention towards trying to follow the arguments of the lecturer instead of taking down notes.

• Pen and Paper (Score:2)

In my entirely anecdotal experience, kids^Wpeople tend to goof off or multi-task instead of focusing on the material/teacher when there's a laptop in front of them.
Even Senators and Congressmen have been caught on camera playing solitare or checking sports instead of following along with debates.

And that behavior doesn't begin to compare to the endless amount of texting at inappropriate times/places.

• Re: (Score:2)

Back when I was finishing up college in the 90's, laptops were becoming very affordable for average folk to use, and we started getting students that brought them to class to take notes. With the exception of one gal that did it for the whole quarter, all of the others stopped bringing their laptops and reverted to paper and pen notes. It was loud, they couldn't keep up on the keyboard, and they had to sit near an electrical outlet, as their batteries inevitably would get low before the end of a two hour cl

• Pulse Pen (Score:2, Interesting)

I have used pulse pen http://www.livescribe.com/Smartpen/index.html [livescribe.com] for a few years it records audio and text to be transfered to PC
• Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

I use the Pulse Pen as well and it flat out works. Not only can you sync audio with your notes (which not all professors allow), but your handwritten notes are searchable after you upload the information and the battery lasts for days.
• Re: (Score:2)

The $150 Livescribe Smartpen [livescribe.com] already exceeds the price of a tablet pc [ebay.com]. Not only that, but the Smartpen requires$5 notebooks to work [livescribe.com]

The Livescribe Smartpen would probably make a good alternative if you're in a class that forbids laptops or don't have access to a power outlet since this review claims it'll last over a week between charges [pocketnow.com], but I can't see spending \$150 on a pen when you can buy a fully functional Tablet PC for about the same price.
• Diagrams? - use Cheese (Score:2)

Turn netbook around, click space bar. How hard is that?
• And typing? Really? (Score:2)

I'd probably use my cell to get the photo, but either way...

From TFA:

I could never type fast enough to keep up with the professor...

WTF? You write faster than you type?

That's bizarre. Learn to touch-type, it'll serve you well.

• Note-taking is a life-long skill (Score:2)

While no-one cares in college, there are still people in the business world who become annoyed if you take notes on a PC during business meetings. For whatever reasons, pen-and-paper skills are still important at higher levels. (Something about body language, eye contact, and putting others at ease.)

I'm hoping the Apple iPad or the coming HP Slate will not incur this stupid prejudice, but need to be prepared in any environment.

• I do _everything_ with pen and paper. (Score:4, Funny)

on Sunday February 07, 2010 @04:47PM (#31054626) Homepage

Why, I wrote up this very comment with a quill pen on foolscap before having my secretary type it in to this new-fangled "analytical engine" thing.

• Tablet PC (Score:2)

I was part of a pilot program using tablet pc's in the classroom back in 2002 or so. Really I have to say that it was a great experience, especially once you were using the right software. For any type of class involving mathematical formulas, diagrams, etc., it was a very useful tool. I could simply draw the image or formula into my notes on the tablet just as if I was using a notebook, with the added benefit of the organizational abilities you have when dealing with a digital document (searching, etc.,) w
• Pen and paper (Score:4, Insightful)

on Sunday February 07, 2010 @04:49PM (#31054644)
I use good old pen and paper. It's versatile, it's cheap, it's lightweight and it never suffers from hangups, startup times etc.

Instead of thinking "how could I use a digital device to take notes?" you should ask yourself "why do I want my notes to be digital?". Myself, I rarely feel that need as I mostly take notes to study from (less important) and stay awake at lectures (more important). Neither of these reasons require notes in the form of computer files.

On the other hand, you could easily think of several other uses for digital notes. You can share them with friends. You can upload them to somewhere, letting the whole class benefit from them. You can copy them easily. You can store and arrange them easily. You can send them to people on the other side of the Earth, should you want to. But do you want to? That's the question you should answer before making the switch.
• Quieter too... (Score:2)

Nothing like a large class and hearing all the people typing.

But I always use pen and paper for notes, you can write down everything easier and you has less to carry with a computer and power cords and hoping you are near an outlet.

Then I copy my notes (or scan diagrams) onto the computer.. easier to find and read and organize. I find using something like Mind Map [mindmapper.com] or Free mind [sourceforge.net] also help to get all the notes in a better flow.

• short hand + paper/pen notetaking (Score:3, Interesting)

on Sunday February 07, 2010 @04:52PM (#31054668)

I've been out of a college class for a few years, but I simply would and still prefer paper/pen. It's not about being old school, but I am extremely picky about what I want technology doing for me. I tend to be uncompromising and really think out what some input device will do for me. I want technology that works the way I do, not me having to compromise heavily in order to use it. I have yet to see something that fits the flexibility of pen/paper while giving me the advantage of a digital device thought those electronic note taking pens are probably close.

I can tell you me typing for an hour on a netbook would lead to uncomfortable typing, as netbooks have too small a size. I could probably swing a regular sized laptop like my 15" Macbook Pro, or other similar full size key laptop.

I also have my own short hand method of note taking, coupled with identifying things that I don't need to memorize and things that have to be written down. Also I tend to circle important bits of information and tie them together with arrows pointing to what they relate to creating a type of cluster diagram meshed in with regular note taking. I don't see how any laptop software out there can compare there.

I am hopeful that a well thought out, well implemented tablet PC comes along that gives me good flexibility.

That said I can imagine taking my ipod touch or other such small form tablet device and scribble or look up some info on it while I take notes with pen/paper. As I was thinking about this I considered an iPhone or other similar device being indispensable, since you can take a photo of the board if there is a complex diagram, and simply drop a note on paper (see iPhone pict for blah diagram). ;-)

• Why do we even take notes? (Score:3, Insightful)

on Sunday February 07, 2010 @04:53PM (#31054676)

I graduated 3 years ago, but it bothered me immensely when professors would write things on the board that weren't duplicated in the course notes. It was just a lazy way to enforce attendance. I always learned better out of books than by listening to someone, so sitting around in class just to transcribe felt like a waste of time.

So this whole issue of not having diagrams or about which device to use seems like a manufactured problem. Putting a PDF on the course website with all the diagrams and text would render it moot.

• Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

it bothered me immensely when professors would write things on the board that weren't duplicated in the course notes ... Putting a PDF on the course website with all the diagrams and text would render it moot.

For shame that professor not taking all the notes for you. Christ you're spoiled. Books are the just basis, instruction fills in - unless you went to a crappy school, with crappy instructors. Three years out of school. So sad. So much more to learn.

This whole discussion is pointless. People lea

• Re:Why do we even take notes? (Score:4, Interesting)

on Sunday February 07, 2010 @09:22PM (#31056726) Homepage
I would defy you to pass one of my chemistry classes without attending class.

I have never had a student pass without regular attendance. I've taught at three public universities, two private colleges and physics at one public community college (so I think my student demographic has been quite diverse).

I did not REQUIRE attendance to pass, nor link grades/points to attendance in any, way shape or form. Scores/final grades were 100% performance based.

I only rarely lectured on material not in the text book, though I often presented the material differently than the text presentation.

As I told my students on the first day, "I don't care if you learn it from me, the book, your room mate or who ever, if you can do the work, you'll pass."

Generally, the people who did not attend regularly scored in the teens on the tests, or even single digits, on the tests.
• Rethink the problem (Score:2)

At least in my case, taking notes implies that probably noone will be able to read them, maybe not even me. But is too little technology to carry.

But if you dont mind to carry technology, some ideas:
- a notebook/netbook with comfortable enough keyboard and long enough battery is an option, you can use the (builtin?) webcam to copy diagrams.
- Speaking of cameras, you can film the entire class, and write down it later, at your own rythm, same for just the audio. Both alternatives will mean to spend maybe more

I was really hoping that the iPad would have come with a stylus and bult-in handwriting/sketching software a-la the Newton. Multi-touch is cool, and the keyboard thing is fine, but really what I'm looking for in that type of device is basically something I can hold in my hand and write directly on rather than with say, a wacom tablet, in an application like Microsoft Journal. If it were powerful enough to run Illustrator on, that'd be a bonus but not really a necessity.

Maybe iPad can work with a third-par
• Wait... (Score:2)

It's 2010 and people still have lectures? That's quaint.

• Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

Yup, best way to learn I have found, even in 2010.

• Depends on the class (Score:3, Insightful)

on Sunday February 07, 2010 @04:59PM (#31054734)

Within the computer science realm, I found there were two major lecture methods being used. The first and most common was a lecture based off of powerpoint slides and the slides are almost always available in advance. Those classes are easy because you can just print the slides (or view them on your notebook) and just take some small notes on the few things not covered in the slides.

The other major method was usually for the more mathematically oriented classes and involved seeing hand-written proofs, equations and diagrams. I think the best method was to use pen and paper to write things down. Then, the next day I transcribe those notes into a LaTeX document. Transcribing makes you go back and follow through all the math and you can take your time to make sure it looks nice. I then study off of the electronic version (which I call my cheatsheet).

As a side note, I always recommend making cheatsheets for every class. It isn't that you actually cheat, but you say if I were going to cheat, what would I want to have with me. It forces you to concisely summarize the class in a small space and is very useful and forces you to go beyond just tryng to memorize things.

• The dangers of distraction... (Score:5, Interesting)

on Sunday February 07, 2010 @05:03PM (#31054776) Homepage
I wrote a post on Laptops, students, and distraction [jseliger.com] that explains why I forbid laptops in my classes (and the post grew out of a Slashdot comment like this one). From what I've seen, students are better off doing what can be done outside of class outside of class (like reading--which includes PowerPoint) and doing inside class what can't be done outside of class: spontaneous discussion, group questioning/answering/review, and the like.

This seems like the optimal division of time and one that keeps classroom discussions relevant. It also means that not having laptops and cell phones can actually make for a better overall experience.

• Let them be distracted, it's their choice (Score:5, Insightful)

on Sunday February 07, 2010 @06:13PM (#31055410) Journal

For pity sake, let the student be responsible for their own learning. If they want to use a tool to do it they should be permitted to. At university level, and I'd argue earlier, the student is responsible for learning. If they don't want to learn and are so easily distracted, let them be. That is their choice. Banning an item that might help a student who is there and wants to learn so that a lazy student that doesn't care is not distracted is completely irresponsible. If a student is intent on being distracted they can always do something that doesn't require a computer, like doodle, or even something that you can't prevent like daydream. There are only a couple of exceptions. If the student's distraction becomes disruptive or distracts others (for example a noisy keyboard that prevents concentration) that the lecturer should step in. If the tool interferes with assessment. (eg. Internet in a closed book exam) it should not be permitted (but then I consider closed book exams archaic).

When I lectured part time a lot of lecturers were having trouble with students talking through the lecture. I had a simple approach. I stopped talking if I was being talked over. It worked really well. I treated the students as adults and I gave them respect. I expected the same in return. If they didn't want to be there they were free to leave.

• Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

Amen. Cater to the students who are there to learn and let them use their tools as long as they're not distracting others. Ignore the rest.

• Me experiences (Score:2)

For me, the laptop was a lifesaver in class, the reasons are below:

I type many times faster than I can write with a wooden stick... And correcting errors is much easier than the ink filled version of the stick... :)
I can always record audio and edit it later.
As to diagrams/drawings, I either reproduced it using a separate drawing program, or the one in the word processor, or took a picture of it with my phone (later transfered to document)

I do agree that sometimes a notepad is better than a computer, especi
• Old technology (Score:2)

If I write fast enough to be able to keep up, then it's almost impossible to decipher, if I write so it is legible, I end up writing every second word or so. I type a bit faster than I write (when I try to write legibly) but still not fast enough. So I found a solution: a tape recorder. A reel of tape is good for 3-6 hours (at 2.4cm/s speed) and then I need to turn it over (lectures last only 1.5 hours so I don't have to do it during a lecture, but I cannot use cassettes, since they are 1 hour per side at t

• Smart Phone (Score:2)

My cell phone is probably the single most important tool I use every day, for such occasions as:
- Using the camera to take a pic of the whiteboard, and sending it to everyone.
- Using the audio recorder to record a conversation or lecture in detail.
- Sending tweets as a to-do list.
- Shared calender functions let me set up meetings with people.
- Video recorder is available if I want to grab a clip off a multi-media presentation or demo.
- Using IM features to quickly touch others for information.

• Pen beats keyboard in my experience (Score:2)

I was one of those students who used pen and paper in lectures, and I have to agree that it's a more effective way of learning. I did take the time to add additional notes later to "decode" what wasn't legible.

My approach was to get down everything on the board and as much as possible that was said - including student questions and interjections.

This certainly worked for me - I had a GPA of 7, won scholarships, University Medals and Distinguished Scholar awards.

My son (who is in a special school for gifted

• the best way, IMHO (Score:3, Interesting)

on Sunday February 07, 2010 @05:27PM (#31054974)

I take the notes with a pen and paper and also record everything with a voice recorder. Since I'm taking mostly math courses, it works out quite well. I focus on writing the formula with annotations, and then when the lecture is over, I reconstruct the whole thing. The annotations help to connect the voice recording and my scribbles. That takes some extra time, of course, but the end result is detailed lecture, with everything on a blackboard carefully reconstructed. As a last shot, I typeset the whole thing in LaTeX (if I have time).

I think, if you start using computer (tablet or whatever), you won't have the instant connection to the recording media" that pen and paper provide.

As a side note, my favorite professor normally creates some handwritten outline of the lecture, but all the proofs and staff he does on the fly. By accident, while talking to him, I've mentioned I have recorded and typeset his lectures. He looked at them and liked them so much he asked me if he can use them as a supplementary material for his course(s). I didn't mind at all, of course.

• Don't take notes during lectures (Score:3, Insightful)

on Sunday February 07, 2010 @05:29PM (#31054978)

Notes should not be taken during lectures. Take notes while you do the readings. All you have to do is note any interesting anecdotes, and record examples, as they often appear on the tests with little change.

Decades later, I still remember watching my classmates furiously scribbling stuff in calc class as though they'd never heard of this stuff until moments ago, while I sat back, relaxed, yet confused... And then suddenly realizing, they probably had never heard of this stuff, because they did not read their textbook...

Even in those fluffy politically correct liberal arts classes, you can pretty much guess what the lecturer is going to talk about.

• Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

Why were you taking courses that you already understood?

• Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

The OP didn't say he "already understood" the class. Rather, he read the material in the textbook before the lecture, and took notes only to fill in what he didn't pick up from the book (or to reinforce things he was sketchy on).

• Get a smart pen (Score:2)

The best bet for notetaking is a smartpen, and pay the money for a handwriting recognition program so you can index them properly. A good one will let you record the lecture and keep in sync with what you were writing. Your mileage may vary on the legal issues around recording a lecture.

This way you get a paper book, an electronic version of the notes as backup, but then the paper is also the backup if your computer gets blown up or stolen etc.

• Penmanship... (Score:2, Interesting)

My thermodynamics professor last semester had amazing penmanship, and he inspired me to work on my horrible chicken scratches. I almost never took notes in class because my notes were simply too awful-looking, so I didn't enjoy the process of writing. I worked at my penmanship with some online guides, and bought a slightly weightier pen (Parker IM gel). After practicing my cursive over the winter break and writing at every possible moment, I've seen some definite improvement. More importantly, I now enj
• Pen and paper, all the way! (Score:3, Interesting)

on Sunday February 07, 2010 @06:45PM (#31055684)

The best datum I can offer is a course I took a few years ago on error control coding.

Each week the prof got somebody to volunteer to take very good notes, type them up in LaTeX, then he would distribute them to the rest of the class for reference. The "scribe", as he called the role, got extra credit. The week I volunteered to be scribe it took 8 hours to turn 2 hours of lectures in to something presentable and machine-readable. This included 28 diagrams in Xfig, plus numerous equations.

I started a night school course last week (private pilot ground school, if you're curious). My notes are by hand, plus some highlighter work in the textbooks. I haven't the slightest interest in transcribing them. Why would I? They're my notes, written by me.

Old-tech really is the best tech some times.

...laura

• more useful for recopying notes to digital form (Score:3, Interesting)

<peter.petrakis@gmail.com> on Sunday February 07, 2010 @06:45PM (#31055686) Homepage

I'm a big fan re-writing notes, it forces you to re-examine the stuff that didn't totally sink in
during lecture. Rewriting them in digital form makes it that much more portable, cleaner, and
you can bring your friends up to speed faster. Engineering notebooks (wire bound) plus a good
mechanical pencil was what I settled while I was an engineering student. Couple re-writing
the notes in digital form with a audio recording of the lecture and you're golden. Alternatively,
you can scan your notes in and then annotate them.

Tablet computers were always good for homework.

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