Notetaking in lectures

These examples of students notetaking in lectures provides insights for how you could make your lecture notes or slides more useful for students. Upload them to the vle beforehand as advised in 3.6 Lecture Slides and Presentations. Consider providing more space for annotations and notetaking or maybe add questions and space for writing answers.

Rhys Carey, Economics student, University of York

I started using my tablet to take notes in lectures because in first year, when it came to the exam period, I struggled to revise when my pieces of paper with lecture notes didn’t compute with the lecture slides.

Making notes on the lecture slides means I can focus on what the lecturer is saying and know I’ve got the notes in the right places with the lecture slides.

I wanted somewhere I could handwrite and scribble notes rather than having to type away. I print the lecture slides onto OneNote and then I can access it on my tablet. I can access what I’ve just done on a laptop and all the notes sync through the Cloud.

I recommend getting a tablet if you’re worried about the environment because you want to try and cut down on the amount of paper you’re using. If anything, it’s easier than pen and paper because I can choose colours and highlighters rather than having to carry them all around with me.

Natassja Krajewski. Economics student, University of York

I have an iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil, and I use the split screen function to have the slides (viewed on the VLE, on safari) on one side of my screen, and take notes on notability on the other side of the split screen (Image 4).
If there is a handout, I use CamScanner to upload it onto my camera roll, and then upload it onto Notability and write on top of the image.
If there is a pdf that I want to annotate, I add the pdf onto Notability.
As for where I organise my assignments, they all go onto my Reminders app, where I can set priority levels and deadlines.

These are a couple of examples of some of my lecture notes:

  • Images 1 & 2 show how I take notes using some screenshots from the lectures and annotating them on my own notes.
  • Image 3 shows some maths notes (slightly differently structured).
  • And image 4 shows what my iPad screen usually looks like when taking notes (lecture slides on left, notability on right).

Having seen how students use your lecture slides and handouts for notetaking, would you lay them out differently or enhance them further for active learning? Get in touch with your ideas: vle-support@york.ac.uk.

Signpost more notetaking tips for students: Notetaking skills guide.

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