Note taking is a good strategy for college, but on its own it isn’t enough. For example here is what Stanford University has to say about taking notes:
- Lecture notes should be as specific and concrete as possible: Be precise about the lecturer’s key ideas. It makes them easier to understand, remember and apply.
- Take selective notes. Don’t try to copy information verbatim. Write down ideas from the lecture that are most salient. If you get stuck or desperate, write down single cue words to help remind you of the topic, then go back and fill in your blanks later.
Which is great if you know which are the key ideas and which aren’t. On the other side of the US (from Dartmouth and Cornell) they recommend recording as many meaningful facts and ideas as you can. Utah State University tells you that lecture notes should “represent a concise and complete outline of the most important points and ideas, especially those considered most important by your professor.”
All great advice – but they all hinge on understanding (at first hearing and during the lecture no less) exactly what is important and what is not. I’ll bet that if you take lecture notes from different students – they will have a lot of differences based on students different understanding of what is important.
That is why we think recording a lecture (audio, boards and presentation) is a great addition to notes – you capture everything, not just what you thought was important. Add to that LectureMonkey’s shared bookmarks and comments (i.e. notes)which enables the whole class to collaborate on marking the important ideas. So not only do you get a complete recording of the lecture, you also get the whole class’ wisdom on what is important and as the title says – all of us are smarter than any of us.