Lecture Notetaking for Recorded Lectures

There are quite a few resources on the web explaining how to take good lecture notes (I have even written a few myself  e.g.  Note Taking Strategies for College). The tips are valuable, especially since good notes are practically a prerequisite for good grades.

But what if you are attending a lecture that is being recorded (either by the University, or by a student using LectureMonkey)? It turns out that notes during a recorded lecture require a completely different strategy:

1. Don’t copy the board, text from the presentation or try and transcribe the lecture. Since you ‘ll have access to a recording later – that is just a waste of time – time that can be better spent listening attentively to the lecture.

2. Listen for important waypoints in the lecture (you can use the tricks from Note Taking Strategies for College) and where you have trouble following along. All you need is to write down is a timestamp (so that you can find it easily while watching the lecture again later), and if you wish a short tweet or text to yourself to remind yourself of  the reason for the mark. Think of it like setting a cue point on YouTube . You can use a format like:

12:33 Difficult to follow proof

12:42 Probably on the test

These notes look strange (and not very useful) out of context – but taken in the context of a recorded lecture they provide an index (along with the presentation) of where you need to focus while reviewing. Some standard note taking apps even have the capability to automatically add time stamps automatically. Almost any player will allow you to skip to those cue points during playback, allowing you to quickly review specific parts of a lecture.

3. Take note (i.e. mark a timestamp)  when the professor changes a slide or starts a new topic on the board – to make it easy to skip forward when viewing. Mark only major slides, not transition or build slides.

4. Don’t focus too much on note taking during the lecture, you can always listen  and add take notes later.

5. Very few students actually review complete recordings, but rather skip about to review areas that were missed (who doesn’t daydream a bit:) , topics that weren’t clear or that seemed important. When taking notes during class just think of what you’ll need as a guide during review.



About Jacob Ukelson

blog (mostly) about my work and technology. So far I have been lucky enough to have been working on things I consider fun and with really top notch people. I have worked in both large companies (IBM) and small companies (ActionBase, ConicIT, Dapper, eXeedTechnologies). eXeed was establish to remedy a failure of the VC model in Israel – most VCs were monetary investors, but most companies needed not just money – they needed operational and business guidance. That is what we provide at eXeed – not just an investment but also our time and skills as seasoned software executives. I have taken on various titles – CTO, VP Products, VP BizDev – but throughout my career a constant focus has been on technologymarket fit, aka customer development. Unique breakthrough technology is a start, but the product must solve real business problems. It needs to be something customers can understand, relate to and will want to buy. I have been doing this for 20 years for software products in companies both large and small.
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