First Days Back at School
3 months ago
How to take Notes
3 months ago
Those who scoff at this article’s topic will surely change their minds after digesting a startling fact: After 20 minutes, people forget 40% of what they had just learned. In contrast, students who take and review their notes can recall up to 80% of a lecture’s content, establishing a very strong evidence that taking down notes is critical for earning a passing grade or acquiring a new skill. Despite these compelling numbers, however, 33.5% of students still don’t take notes! I don’t know about you, but no one ever taught me how to take notes. After talking to many people I consider to be smart, I now suspect that I am part of the majority. In grade school, we were taught to copy down everything the teacher says and this practice hasn’t really changed at all moving on to high school. When the teacher started writing on the board, my fellow students started scribbling in their notebooks, and I diligently followed suit. This was a habit I took with me through college, where eventually, teachers started sharing lecture notes via PDF and PowerPoint slides. At that point, I also started typing down notes on my computer which, useful as it may be, also brought along a myriad distractions — especially those originating from the Internet — that competed for my limited time and attention span. Even then, the practice sort of worked out given the small scale of the learning engagement I had in college: just 15 credit hours per semester. This year, though, I decided to come up with a better system, prompted by the realization that I’ve completely forgotten half of what I thought I was learning from about 20 online courses.
1. Start with handwritten notes.
In a regular class, you’ll be hard pressed noting down everything your professor and classmates are saying unless you have the typing skills of a courtroom stenographer. But even if you do, you will only have a lecture transcript in the end, not a curated list of key concepts that is far more valuable in a learning scenario. To make things worse, your useful computer comes with Internet access, instant messenger, email, social media, and online shopping. Just a simple mouse click can lead to something else that can keep your attention away from what is being discussed in class. With online courses, taking notes on your laptop while watching a video lecture is not possible or terribly convenient in most cases. In addition, only a few online course platforms have built-in note-taking capabilities. That means you will have to start and stop the video a lot if you want to take notes using a separate application.
2. Don’t write everything down.
If you are recording everything the teacher says or writes on the board, your note-taking becomes mindless; and, while you seem to be hearing what your professor says, you are not really listening. Hence, avoid writing everything down. Instead, focus on the “meat” of the lecture. Make sure to focus on the main points. When recording information, note down the main points by using keywords and short sentences. Instead of using the teacher’s language, use your own words. This will make the lesson concepts easier to digest when you review them later.
3. Pick a system and stick to it.
There are a few effective note-taking systems out there. The most popular are:
- The Cornell System – With this method, your page is divided into 3 sections. The bulk of the page is for general notes, with a side bar for highlighting key points, and a footer area for summarizing.
- Outline System – This system is a clean and efficient way to break apart any topic. Each subject gets its own outline heading and the subtopics are indented under the main topics.
- Flow-Based System – The flow method focuses on ideas and visuals rather than structure and sentences.
To increase efficiency, you should have a set system for abbreviating the most commonly used words and word combinations (for example, because = b/c, etc.). If you really want to kick this up a notch, there are full blown short-hand language systems that can be used to reduce the amount of writing required.
4. Take notes before class and condense after class.
Believe it or not, your note-taking would be doubly great if it starts before class. Prior to getting inside the class, you prepare all relevant materials, including —
- class syllabus, specifically the day’s topic
- last class session’s notes
- pre-class readings
This way, you are 100% prepared for your video (or real lecture) and come with a few prepared questions. Moreover, your note-taking should not end once class is over. You should always review your notes after class, doing so as soon as possible. If you are taking multiple sessions every week, you should also summarize the whole week’s notes every week. When you are processing a lot of content, use highlighters and post-it page markers to upgrade the quality and completeness of your notes. If you are completely alone, you might even want to read the most important stuff, effectively retaining main points to your memory.
5. You don’t have to leave your computer out of the equation.
According to a Lifehacker survey, 40% of students actually prefer to use a mix of writing and typing of notes. We recommended that you handwrite your notes during your first pass on a topic. However, during the stages where you are reviewing and reorganizing your notes, it is perfectly reasonable to do so using a computer. There are many writing tools you can use for recording notes on your computer but two that come highly recommended are:
- Evernote (PC/Mac) is the ultimate trapper keeper but digitized. Evernote is a robust tool, so make sure you are getting the best of it.
- Google Drive is a free alternative to Microsoft Office that can help you create documents but is hosted in the cloud, so you make changes and additions from anywhere as long as you are connected to the Internet.
If you insist on using a computer for taking notes, some extra hardware can come in handy, especially if you are taking an online course. A second monitor or tablet will allow you to watch on one screen while recording on the other.
Some Quick Do’s & Don’ts
- Don’t write everything.
- Don’t worry if you miss something.
- Don’t worry if others can’t make sense of your notes.
- Don’t wait too long to review your notes.
- Don’t take notes all the time.
- Write down the most important things.
- Write question marks where you miss a point.
- Come up with a shorthand system.
- Review your notes regularly.
- Engage in other activities outside of note-taking (asking questions, practicing, etc.).
Take good notes, remember, and acquire skills!
If you haven’t noticed, good note-taking is the same anywhere regardless of the setting — whether online courses or traditional classes. At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that it is not about quantity but about the quality and relevance of your notes. Hence, always have your end goals in mind, listen to your instructor, and make sure to note down the important nuggets of information that you hear or see in class. This way, you’ll be better at remembering what you are trying to learn, at ensuring that you retain the knowledge, and at successfully acquiring new skills!
Register for Granville Online
3 months ago
Use the navigation bar to find links to request registration or withdrawal for a Granville Online class. All Granville Online classes are approved by your school counselor after you submit this online request. Limited seats are available in Granville Online for the 2016-2017 year due to budget restrictions.
Approvals will be granted based on:
student course of study need
As many requests as possible will be honored. Confirmation of enrollment in a course is indicated when the course is listed in your Haiku portal. If you have questions about a submitted request, please contact your school counselor or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Registration is Now Open!
All Summer School Courses are taught through Granville Online
Summer School Begins: June 27
Drop/Add Ends: June 30
Last Day of Class: August 4
Proposed Summer School Exam Dates: August 8 and 9
HS Graduation: August 11
SUMMER SCHOOL LABS
JF Webb Campus
South Granville Campus
Granville Central High School Campus
*Labs will be open Monday-Thursday
*Morning Lab is 9 am - Noon *Afternoon Lab is 1 pm-4 pm
Students who have previously failed the class they are taking are required to attend the lab for one session each day. The lab will be available for any student who wishes to attend. A specific lab time will be assigned to lab students.