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Note Taking: Using Online Lecture Notes

Online Lecture Notes

Instructors may provide online lecture notes to their students in order to assist the learning process. These notes can be very helpful when they are used effectively. Online lecture notes help the student learn when:

  • used as a tool for guiding their note-taking process
  • continued to take their own notes while attending class
  • to understand information when it is first encountered in class.

Simply having the lecture notes does not guarantee that the information will make sense when it comes time to review for a test. It is not advisable to use online notes as an alternative to attending class.

Before Class

Print or prepare your note pages before class. Use PowerPoint to print handouts or publish them in a Word document in order to take notes on a laptop.

Preview the notes and familiarize yourself with any new vocabulary by looking up new terms in the textbook or dictionary.

Formulate possible questions that you might ask in class based on your first reading of the instructor's notes.

During Class

Bring the online notes with you to class, and add additional information in the margins or alongside the notes.

Instead of rewriting what is written on the PowerPoint slides, focus on what the instructor is saying, and note any new ideas or examples that add meaning.

Whenever possible, add meaning by using your own examples and by putting things into your own words.

Listen for the answers to the questions that you formulated before class.

Predict and mark possible questions that might be on the test.

After Class

Take some time to summarize or edit the information in the notes.

Get clarification from the instructor or review the information in your textbook if any slides are confusing or unclear.

If the online notes are only available after class, print them off and add ideas that are important from your own notes.

Review the notes frequently in order to keep the information fresh.

Find ways to engage and interact with the material as much as possible by reorganizing the information graphically, summarizing and rewriting it in your own words, noting key words, or testing yourself from memory.