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MSU Online

Successful Note Taking

Unlike the traditional classroom, Online offers an immediate benefit –everything is in print and assessable to you whenever you need it. However, note taking is an excellent way to supplement learning. It makes you rethink what you have read and allows you to put into your own words, making learning easier. So, we encourage you to use one of the following methods while you read your course material, especially if a text book is involved.

Method One: The Key Point Method
Simply draw a line down the page at about the 6 inch mark from the left side of the paper.

As you read, take notes in the larger section. The smaller area on the right is used to log the key points, names, and ideas of your general notes to the left. This is where you can mark material you think will be tested.

When you’re finished, you should have developed a comprehensive overview of your readings. It can be read for detail on the left or quickly scanned for key points on the right.

Method Two: The Split Page Method
Simply draw a line down the center of the page.

As you read your text, take notes on the side of the page. As you read your Online course material, use the right side of the page.

When you’re finished, you should have developed a comprehensive overview of your readings. It can be read for detail on the left or quickly scanned for key points on the right.

Overview
Now that you have a method for taking notes, the question remains-how do you take better notes? Remember, your data isn’t going anywhere.

  • They key is to capture the most important aspects of your topic and transfer them to your notes
  • Read your notes aloud adding an audible aspect to the learning
  • Bottom line, university research indicates that 80% of new material can be recalled if you review your notes within 24 hours
  • You can increase this retention by making your notes legible
  • Use complete sentences and meaningful translations. You don’t have to rush like you do in a classroom lecture. Take your time and take good notes capturing ideas
  • Reword difficult to understand information in a way you can understand and remember
  • You may want to consider writing the page number of the text on your pages where you found the information. That way you can easily return to the book and find information you may need to review
  • Lastly, why don’t you record yourself reading the notes out loud. You can listen to yourself while driving to work, shopping, washing dishes, or while scanning your textbook.
  • Each time you see and hear the information, retention is increased. Just make sure it is the right, meaningful information.
  • Good note taking is a learned skill. Once you get started with a system you are comfortable with, you can check its efficiency by the grades you receive.

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