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Transcript of Note-taking
Note Taking Tools
Note Taking Methods
Let's put this into practice....
Learning, Teaching and Student Engagement
James Cook University
Need more help? Email:
I feel confident to implement effective note taking strategies for lectures, tutorials and workshops
Ask for a show of thumbs. Check for questions
JCU's Learning Skills Online Website:
-> Lectures and Tutorials - Note Taking
Note Taking handouts in the Learning Centre
Your Peers: compare your notes and note taking strategies
A Third Popular Method:
Helps you sort through large amounts of information and to extract important points
Helps you become an active listener and learner
Documents your learning
Gives you material to study for exams
Ask students what they think the advantages and disadvantages of each method are.
Ask students how they think they will take notes in future. Tell them that the most important rule is to use a tool they feel comfortable with.
When do you take notes at university?
Why do you take notes?
What tools can we use to take notes in a lecture?
3. Pen and Paper
Did you find this form of note taking challenging or easy?
Could you note everything of importance?
Could you write a summary paragraph about "Grit" from your notes?
Ring binder, electronic folders etc.
(Back-ups for electronic notes!)
Store notes together by subject and week. Be organised to save time!
Keep your notes after the semester finishes as you often revisit content in different subjects of your course
Easy to edit
Typing skills required
Danger of data loss
Hard to produce visuals quickly
Excellent for difficult concepts and detailed examples
Good if unwell
Time consuming to review
Need for additional written notes to prioritise content
Storage of sound files
No technical failures
Develops brain-hand link
Arguably improves memory
Ability to easily replicate visuals
No back-up if lost
Hoarding habits (stacks of loose paper)
Note essential ideas and facts, not every word
Write key words and expand later
Look for patterns and links
Use your own words
Take note of diagrams and charts
Don't be afraid to be non-linear
Leave blank spaces to expand later
Cornell Note Taking
Choose one method and take notes about this 6 minute TED talk.
Print and read the lecture slides before the lecture and annotate them during the lecture
Let's put method 3 into practice...
Take notes about this 3 slide PowerPoint presentation on your handout
Give students a handout of the three lecture slides and deliver the following lecture:
Effective note-taking begins before you attend your lecture
Preview lecture material to stay ahead of the game – prior lecture notes (review for an hour a week), prescribed readings, presentation slides and lecture notes (LearnJCU) SHOW LECTURE NOTES EXAMPLES – 20% of learning achieved before even walking in the room (incremental learning). We learn more efficiently when we can relate new information to prior knowledge.
Familiarity with the lecture material will allow you to retain more information during and after the lecture. Put comments on your printed material (??) if you don’t understand the content – allows you to cue in at this time and find out if the lecturer will give an extended explanation or an example you can note which will clarify that point of confusion
Print off presentation slides with note-taking section (handout format)
Get your note-taking tools ready – check pencils are sharp, pens have ink, laptops/voice recorders are fully charged
Attend – research shows us that 98% of successful students at university attend lectures and tutorials. Sit up front – listening actively is a challenge and it is important to minimise distractions and you will find you are more engaged with the presenter due to proximity. If you sit further towards the back you will become distracted by your fellow students who are on Facebook, doodling, texting, whispering, giggling, tapping pens, cracking their knuckles. Some academics will speak quite softly or have English as a second language – if English is your second language it is good to sit close to the front as us Aussies have a weird accent that can be hard to understand at times.
Title your notes pages or create a word doc before the lecture starts – subject code, title of lecture, lecture number and date, plus a page number – insurance policy in case you one day drop your folder of notes and you end up with 100 jumbled sheets of paper. MARGINS are important – add in questions or additional information when the lecturer refers back to a previous point Electronic – type notes and then go to close file at the end of lecture and you accidentally select NO to save instead of YES – save notes periodically throughout lecture. If you have an electronic copy of the lecture notes as a Word doc then save them on your computer and open them at the start of the lecture and follow the lecture on the script – when the lecturer adds any additional information that is not on the script then you can simply add these comments in to the relevant section of the word doc
Establish shorthand symbols – these are your notes and only need to make sense to you (beginning of words) – therefore (three dots) Good to write first one in full and then symbol beside to remind you what they mean. Acronyms – good to write in full once during your first reference to it. Jargon trap – If the CCP doesn’t align with the intent of the KHM then the ARV cannot grant approval on the KHM227 form. If your academic sounds like they are speaking a foreign language, politely put your hand up and ask for some clarification of the acronyms.
Poor note-taking – too few notes makes it impossible for you to review your notes exams as they lack coherence. Too many notes is also problematic as you will spend long hours filling notebook after notebooks with redundant material that you will have to spend hours re-reading later to pull out the main points for your exam review. Often take too many notes if you haven’t read material before the lecture and you unable to evaluate the importance of the lecturer’s word – slightly desperate. DO NEED TO LEARN TO WRITE QUICKLY as there will be times when important information is flowing out of your lecturer’s mouth and you will need to capture as much as possible. DO note overview points, slide titles (make good sub headings) key words, essential ideas, facts, patterns, diagrams, summary points – if long definitions are displayed, note if there is a reference to a page in your text and fill it in later.
Note-taking is a participatory activity – you need an active brain as well as a working hand – not a passive activity like listening to the TV. Concentrate on ‘being present’ in the moment and try to maintain focus - if you realise you are mentally preparing your weekly grocery list, start critiquing my outfit - then you need to recognise your mind is wandering and refocus. THINK about how the information related to other lectures, tutorials, other subjects – some of my best ideas of essays for other subjects have some from a lecture in a different subject.
Be an active listener and an active learner. If we read lecture material in advance (read), listen to the lecture (hear), watch the presentation (see), and paraphrase in your mind (say) and note THEN REMEMBER UP TO 50% before you start to review at a later date. Important to note – we assume because we can hear, we can listen, but they are very different things. Listen out for verbal cues – ‘most importantly’, ‘to summarise’, ‘key reasons/ causes/ effects/ decisions/ facts’. If points are repeated they are usually important, pausing for effect and to allow you time to write down something important. Don’t write the words as the presenter says them – listen to what the lecturer is saying, then paraphrase it in your head and then write your notes (read, heard and then consolidating learning through rewording it based on your understanding). Look at NON-VERBAL cues – you will learn after a while if your lecturer is making an important point (point, tick in the air, tap nose), also know if they are tangeting – take glasses off and launch into a nostalgic story or obscure piece of information that happens to pop into their head – PENS DOWN
REFLECT, REFLECT, REFLECT – your learning skills are as important as content in your first semester at university, so it is important to keep asking yourself if your methods are working for you. Trial new methods in low pressure situations – typing research notes for an assessment. Don’t advocate that you use mind-mapping for lecture notes as you are limited to one page – better to use it to conceptualise and consolidate learning after the lecture during lecture note reviews.
Review notes soon after the lecture (within first hour) to add additional notes for clarification and tidy up spelling, add in acronyms, and highlight queries to research or raise in tutorials
Catch up for a coffee break to compare notes with study group to compare notes within a day – write down additional important points
Re-read lecture notes before next lecture as they often build on prior content/learning – summarise main points from previous weeks
Re-read all lecture notes for last month – note patterns, comparisons, contrasts, developing/repeating concepts etc JOIN THE DOTS – Mind map