A Guide to University Learning

Learning From Lectures:

Student Guide:
University Lectures
Preparing for Lectures
Laptop Pros & Cons
Active Listening
Writing Lecture Notes
Course-Specific Note Taking
Lecture Follow-Up
Lecture Top Ten Takeaways
Practice Activity
Video Sections
Appendix A – Text from Lecture Notes


Student Guide:

Listening, sifting through information, and taking accurate, detailed lecture notes are some of the most important skills students need for learning at university. Your notes are the payoff for the time you invest in class and they provide a critical tool when preparing for exams. This section outlines tips and strategies for effective note taking in all subjects.

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University Lectures

How are university lectures different from high school?

Course Structure

Courses are often divided into separate components:

Class Size

Class sizes are much larger in university than in secondary school:

Course Expectations

How you take notes – and what you take notes on – will depend on your professor’s teaching style and course expectations:

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Preparing for Lectures

Can You Skip Class?

Even when professors post lecture notes online, you’ll miss out if you’re not in class. If you skip class:

Even if you are tired or busy, find a way to make it to class!

Read Before Class

Try to complete assigned readings before class so that you won’t be struggling to take notes in the lecture on something that’s already in your text. Reading ahead of time can help you to listen more actively in class, predict lecture topics, and identify questions that you should clarify in class. It will also allow you to note if diagrams or charts are in the textbook so that you do not have to struggle with duplicating a detailed visual during the lecture.

Materials to Bring to Class

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Laptop Pros & Cons

Laptop Pros

Laptop Cons

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Active Listening

Hearing vs Active Listening

Many first year students fall into the trap of simply copying down everything the professor says. You may be ‘hearing’ a lecture but are you really actively thinking about what is said? Active listening means carrying on a dialogue with your instructor in your notes. This dialogue helps you to identify what is important and what should be included in your notes.

Be an Active Participant

Try the Question-Evidence-Conclusion Structure

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Writing Lecture Notes

When you have to write notes quickly and thoroughly, try some of these strategies to make your notes easier to record and to review later on.

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Course-Specific Note Taking

Science Courses

Arts & Social Sciences

Problem-Based Courses

Commerce Courses

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Lecture Follow-Up

Taking effective notes doesn't stop when the lecture ends. Take some time outside of class to edit, integrate or review your notes to help you prepare ahead of time for exams or projects.

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Lecture Top Ten Takeaways

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Practice Activity

The purpose of this activity is to practice your note taking skills while watching a lecture presentation.

Instructions:

A more limited text version of the experienced student’s notes is found in Appendix A.

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Videos

Lecture Part 1

Lecture 1 video snapshot

Lecture Part 2

Lecture 2 video snapshot

Lecture Part 3

Lecture 3 video snapshot

Lecture Part 4

Lecture 4 video snapshot

Lecture Part 5

Lecture 5 video snapshot

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Appendix A – Text from Lecture Notes

The notes below are a more limited version of the experienced student's lecture notes only including the text not the graphics. The complete version with the graphics is found in lecture_notes.pdf

The Normal Curve

Summary of Last Class

*Important to know mean & standard deviation to interpret scores

The Normal Curve – What is it?

Some Characteristics of the Normal Curve

Practice Question

The scores on an exam were normally distributed. Sam’s score of 74 was higher than 84% of the class. Tom’s score of 60 was higher than 16% of the class. What was the mean?

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