Note-Taking Strategies to Improve Learning

This post shares a couple of items that pertain to student note-taking.
I’m always on the lookout for strategies that develop students’ note-taking skills, and economics professor Mark Maier shares a good one in the recent issue of College Teaching. He assigns a “rotating note taker” in his courses. This student serves as the class note-taker, posting his or her notes on the course management system before the next class session. The notes are graded pass/fail and count for 1 percent of the final course grade. If it’s a fail, the student learns why and is assigned another day to take and post class notes.
Having a designated student taking and posting notes does not relieve other students of the responsibility to take their own notes. According to Maier, “The posted notes serve as an alternative to the student’s own notes. . . .” (p. 146) They may clarify or emphasize a different part of a concept, add more detail, or offer a different perspective.
Maier introduces the assignment on day one. He recruits a student familiar with the learning management system (LMS) to provide the first set of class notes. He also puts instructions about posting notes on the LMS, offers recommendations about attaching files, and suggests making references to the text instead of trying to reproduce complicated graphs. If the class is large, Maier has two students taking and posting notes for each class session.
Here’s a list of …