Online Note Taking

Taking notes for an online course is similar to taking notes in residential instruction. Whether viewing a video of a lecture or viewing it live through social technologies such as Blackboard Collaborate, you will want to use similar techniques.

Here are suggestions to assist you with note taking in an online environment.

Some methods to use:

  1. Outlining - works best when material you are reading is organized, with textbooks, videos
  2. Cornell method - Using a Word document, divide the page: Type notes on right half of the page, type key words and questions in the left column, Finally, type a summary of the information at bottom of page
  3. Paragraph form - summarize what you read in your own words; include important terms
  4. Mind maps - diagrams/summaries of text material and information shared via chat, posts, and/or video

Your style/method of note taking should vary according to the subject and material:

Short story or poem:

  1. Read the entire thing once without taking notes.
  2. Write down your immediate impressions.
  3. Reread the piece, taking notes on characters, plots, etc.

Scientific/technical material:

  1. Copy important formulas, terms, etc.
  2. Recreate or note page number of important diagrams or figures.

Write down information if:

  • an item or theory is repeated
  • there are any direct references to the textbook
  • it is an example

Write a summary of the ideas and facts, using key words as cue words.

Summarizing as you study helps to:

  • clarify meanings and relationships of ideas
  • reinforce continuity
  • strengthen memory retention
  • prepare for exams in advance

Think about your own opinions and ideas as you read over your notes.

Raise questions, then try to answer them creatively.

Record original ideas and review them regularly.

Use your creative ideas when answering exam questions, in discussions, and when writing papers.

Take ten minutes to quickly review your older notes.

Before reading or studying new material, skim over the main ideas and details. Reviewing enhances more effective retention of old material when adding new material to your memory system.

Get a good loose-leaf notebook.

This will enable you to add, delete, and re-sequence pages and materials. Begin each session's notes with a cover page for later summaries and test preparation.

The Five R’s of Note-taking: Record * Reduce * Recite * Reflect * Review

1. Record (See diagram of Sample Notes Page.)

  • Identify the main points
  • Capture the main ideas
  • Use outlines or concept maps [link to http://www.studygs.net/mapping/]
  • Use words and pictures and graphs or whatever it takes to get the information down quickly. Avoid quoting unless it is absolutely necessary.

2. Reduce (See diagram of Sample Notes Page.)

After the class, summarize:

  • key/cue words
  • phrases
  • questions

Link to information from your textbook, websites, or other sources that helps you understand or study the material.

3. Recite: Talk aloud!

  • Review from memory what you have learned
  • Using the left margin's key words and questions, talk through, or illustrate definitions, concepts, etc.
  • Create your own examples

4.  Reflect: Think over!

  • How does this relate to what you knew before?
  • Note the essay terms and find the best ones that refer to your studies: Apply, Compare, Diagram, Evaluate, etc.

5. Review

Review the notes you took:

  • at your next study session
  • before reading new material
  • when studying for tests

Make notes on your notes page. (See diagram of Sample Notes Page.)

Sample Notes Page

Heading
  • Date
  • Class/subject or title or number (e.g. 3/34)

Heading, continued

  • Guest speakers' names, including your fellow students' contributions

2. Reduce; after the class, summarize:

  • key/cue words
  • phrases
  • questions

Link to information from your textbook, websites, or other sources that helps you understand or study the material.

1. Record/take notes in class here:

 

  • Identify the main points
  • Capture the main ideas
  • Use outlines or concept maps
  • Use words and pictures and graphs or whatever it takes to get the information down quickly.

Avoid quoting unless it is absolutely necessary.

Place for notes when reviewing/studying
(see point 5, Review)
 

 

Tip: If you’re using multiple pages of notes for one lecture:

  • summarize each page at its bottom
  • summarize the lecture on a cover or end page