Tips for Taking Notes in Online Courses

Myth: 

You are taking an online course, so you don't need to take notes because all the information is there on the screen.

Truth: 

Research shows that note-taking improves reading comprehension and increases retention of information. It is an active form of learning that all students, even those in online courses, should use. We encourage all UTHS students to be active learners and take notes in EVERY course!

The Cornell Method employs an easy-to-use note template. This helps you process, comprehend, and organize class material so that you can use these notes to make sure you understand all concepts and to help you study for finals.

Videos explaining Cornell notes:

Other methods for note-taking include the Mapping Method, Charting Method, Sentence Method, and Outlining Method. You can find information about all of these strategies on the Cal Poly page on note taking systems.

There are electronic applications you can use for note-taking like Evernote, Springpad, Simplenote, and MS OneNote. However, a recent article in Psychological Science included studies showing that using pen and paper, not a laptop, to take notes boosts memory and the ability to retain and understand concepts.

However you choose to take notes, remember that taking notes increases both comprehension and retention, helps you learn to organize ideas and key concepts, and provides a personalized review for the final exam.