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Old 12-12-11, 09:53 AM   #1
SonataInFSharp
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How Do Kids Take Notes in College These Days?

I graduated from college when the year still started with 19 instead of 20. We brought notebooks in our backpack to take notes and had highlighters to mark up books, then later spent hours trying to figure out what the heck we scribbled in our notebooks.

I am going back to college to quickly grab a certificate which requires a prior degree, so I will be in class with people who are generally not too much younger than I am, but still not my age.

My question is this: Are kids these days using laptops to take notes in class? I hear "MS OneNote" being tossed around a lot. Or, is technology frowned upon because of people screwing around online while in class, etc? I am afraid the answer is going to be "it depends".

I know I will find out on the first day of class, but it's a long month away and I am antsy. I feel weird enough as it is having a degree and a professional career, yet going back to school for something unrelated to anything I am doing now. And my handwriting is so bad that I can't read anything I write by hand yet I can type 118wpm, so using my laptop in class would be highly beneficial.

My wife is a professor, so naturally I asked her. She has only had two students bring a laptop to class, but to put things into perspective she teaches a certain course to a certain demographic, so asking her this question doesn't really make any sense.

My co-worker is in grad school, and he said that no one takes notes, period. They just all screw around on their smartphones and don't pay attention like a bunch of 14 year olds. But he is in grad school just for initials after his name, not for any real education (and the teachers know this--it's a money-grab class for the school).

Oh, and research. How do people research stuff for papers these days? I graduated college before The Google, so we had to do research in a library, read books, search horrible databases, and Internet sources were a huge no-no, period. But what about these days? I would be embarrassed to cite Wikipedia as a source, but surely Internet sources are the mainstream now? Do libraries still exist?

Thanks for wasting your time in answering my questions!

As a side note, do you think a professor would let me set up my trainer in the corner so I can get some miles in during class?
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Old 12-12-11, 10:13 AM   #2
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umm...haven't you been watching the news? No one can afford to go to school now days, so they are all doing a sit in protest on some street named Wall.
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Old 12-12-11, 10:13 AM   #3
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Dunno. I didn't take notes to speak of back then...


And I didn't even have a smart phone to play with. Or even a cell phone for that matter...
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Old 12-12-11, 10:23 AM   #4
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Their notes say:

I'll never be able to pay off my student loans...
I'll never be able to pay off my student loans...
I'll never be able to pay off my student loans...
I'll never be able to pay off my student loans...
I'll never be able to pay off my student loans...
I'll never be able to pay off my student loans...
I'll never be able to pay off my student loans...
I'll never be able to pay off my student loans...
I'll never be able to pay off my student loans...
I'll never be able to pay off my student loans...
I'll never be able to pay off my student loans...
I'll never be able to pay off my student loans...
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Old 12-12-11, 10:31 AM   #5
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Dunno. I didn't take notes to speak of back then...


And I didn't even have a smart phone to play with. Or even a cell phone for that matter...

Yeah...I was too busy checking out the blonde chic in the corner to be taking notes.
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Old 12-12-11, 10:32 AM   #6
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I dont take any notes. All of my professors use powerpoint presentations to guide the lecture. They then upload their slides to the internet where I can review them later if needed.

As far as using the internet for research, NEVER cite wikipedia. However you may notice that any quality articles on wikipedia have their own works cited. It's a great place to get research started and definitely take a look at the sources used for the article.
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Old 12-12-11, 10:33 AM   #7
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When I taught (in big lectures in biology and a couple of years ago), about 1/4 of the kids in the lecture hall had computers with them and did a lot of web surfing on them, but some also used them for taking notes. We were required to put our overhead slides online before class so the ones taking notes actually downloaded them and were using some part of powerpoint (I think) to modify the notes. Others had printed them out and were writing on them by hand (something I did for certain classes as an undergrad) or just writing notes in a notebook, something I also did a lot of. Also, lots just goofed off with friends, read the paper, did the crossword/sudoku, played on their smartphones or whatever too. Or took naps. The kids, they run the gamut.
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Old 12-12-11, 11:00 AM   #8
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I either didn't take notes or just wrote them in a notebook.
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Old 12-12-11, 11:53 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SonataInFSharp View Post
I graduated from college when the year still started with 19 instead of 20. We brought notebooks in our backpack to take notes and had highlighters to mark up books, then later spent hours trying to figure out what the heck we scribbled in our notebooks.
Check it out: lack of notebooks since 1985:

http://www.tnote.com/

Actually back then you would buy a binder to put those notes into.
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Old 12-12-11, 11:57 AM   #10
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A friend of mine in undergrad took notes for one of those notetaking services. Not sure I'd want his notes as he wasn't that great of a student (well, he wasn't bad, but I got better grades in the classes we shared, but he still graduated in 3 years and directly went to a job at Microsoft). In his service, he was actually taking the class as he sold his notes to the service, so that might be different. Some professors I knew verbally claimed copyright of their lectures at the start of the first class and said they gave us permission to take notes, but not to share them with others or make money off of them.
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Old 12-12-11, 11:59 AM   #11
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i use a composition notebook for each subject. that way my pages can't get out of order or lost. write in pen. i don't care who gives you crap about it, after a semester of rubbing around the pencil in the first 20-30 pages will be unreadable.
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Old 12-12-11, 01:58 PM   #12
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Ultimately, do what ever makes the facts stick in your brain best. It doesn't matter what the others are doing. You'll probably want to download the profs power points and take whatever notes you want in a spiral notebook, since it's comfortable for you and keeps things in chronological order.
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Old 12-12-11, 02:05 PM   #13
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errrmmm I dunno about now adays.. but when I went to college myself and a handful of others took notes on laptops (some classes did not allow this), some others digital/tape recorders and most people still did it by hand... again don't know about modern day, but internet references were okay in my college days.. as long as the reference sited was considered reputable by the professor..
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Old 12-12-11, 04:15 PM   #14
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Some use notebooks, some use smart pens that record the lecture to an MP3 file and they write on special paper that has bar graph coding throughout, and will key right to that section of the MP3 file by touching a sector of your notes. Some use laptops or netbooks.

Some profs bar laptops from class, too.
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Old 12-12-11, 04:51 PM   #15
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I don't think I could take notes via a keyboard because it would be a pain to key in math & science symbols, not to mention something like a circuit drawing. Some kind of tablet with a pen thingie that could be use as a regular notepad could possibly do.

Back in my days I remember many professors didn't allow any recorders. Maybe that has changed.

I guess my main concern would be running out of battery power in the middle of the school day and having to stay chained to a power outlet for an hour, that would be a PIA.
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Old 12-12-11, 05:01 PM   #16
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As a...ahem, "mature student", I earned an A.A.S. this past spring. I noted there were only two types of students:

1) Those who took notes with pen and paper

2) Those who spent the entire class texting on their cell phones.
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Old 12-12-11, 05:25 PM   #17
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As a...ahem, "mature student", I earned an A.A.S. this past spring. I noted there were only two types of students:

1) Those who took notes with pen and paper

2) Those who spent the entire class texting on their cell phones.
I graduated in 2009 with a BS, at an advanced age.
I took notes with a mechanical pencil (even in english class) on college ruled paper in a loose-leaf binder.
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Old 12-12-11, 08:20 PM   #18
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Nowadays in meetings I use a laptop and type notes into a text editor with scant capitalization or punctuation
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Old 12-12-11, 08:31 PM   #19
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This thread is pretty sad. Not only will students today never pay off the debt they incur by going to school, but they don't even treat it as an opportunity to learn. It's more like, hey, if I sit in classes for this number of hours, I'll get a piece of paper that I can write about on my resume and I'll get a job!
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Old 12-12-11, 08:47 PM   #20
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highly dependent on the class. For math/science/engineering where you have a lot of formulas, I'd use pen/paper. I just started grad school and probably >90% have a laptop (no math/formulas, just lectures/text). For this, I'm 10x faster at typing than writing, which means more time to listen and think, revise what you wrote, format it for readability (bold/underline important topics, easy to study key points), etc. Undergrad was 10 years ago... everything was on paper. Some professors handed out printed slides.

If you can get slides ahead of time, put notes on there. If possible, I would actually copy them into an outline in Word so I could easily indent the topics, move things around, and generally fill it in as the professor speaks.

Recording lectures (sound/video) in my school is explicitly barred and they've made a big deal about it. You might want to ask permission before you do that.

I was not impressed with MS OneNote, play around with it before you start school. I'd prefer if it was just an organizer for word documents and spreadsheets. I use MS Word and created some document templates with my own styles, macros, and hotkeys to simplify things and entering data. If you don't already have Office, check with your school to see if they have a home/student version at a discounted price (likely $5 if they do).

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Old 12-12-11, 11:13 PM   #21
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Every lecture my daughters attend is available online afterwards. Notes are for people my age. Actually, I sucked at taking notes. I was far better off actually listening to lectures and writing my notes afterwards.

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Old 12-13-11, 09:08 AM   #22
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Thanks for the responses, guys! I should have included that while the program I am attending is the only accredited one in the state, the school itself is in the dark ages in terms of technology, and if the teachers even do email I would be shocked, let alone putting lectures online, etc. My wife teaches a course online and half the staff is excited that she can do it, while the other half of the staff thinks she is the devil taking over the educational world.
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Old 12-13-11, 10:13 AM   #23
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In grad school I used a small voice recorder, and paper for math and illustrations. The recorder was HUGE for playing back exactly what was said in the lecture.

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Old 12-13-11, 12:22 PM   #24
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Thanks for the responses, guys! I should have included that while the program I am attending is the only accredited one in the state, the school itself is in the dark ages in terms of technology.
Well, then perhaps you should paint your notes on a piece of slate with ochre paint, or go high tech with sheets of papyrus, or use clay tablets and a cuniform stylus.

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Old 12-13-11, 12:44 PM   #25
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Sounds like a (serious) student needs to adjust the recall of a lecture depending on the type of class. Some students don't have great recall skills. Some professors lecture too deep and leave students in the dust.

There's one thing that might be done, the professor's (or teaching assistant's) office hours. But before you go for that appointment, make sure you somewhat know the lecture material.

I know of a retired teacher who wanted to supplement her retirement teacher's income by applying for a teaching job at one of those universities that's listed on the NYSE. She went for the teacher orientation and once she found out about the teaching style, she did not inquire any further.

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