You probably already take notes on how your roommate asks girls out, where the best place in town to get pizza is, and just what kind of jeans feel the best against your skin. Taking notes is important in more situations than one and in your online college classes is one of those times you don’t want to forget to take notes.

We take notes when hear something that stands out to us. It may make sense or it may just be an intriguing new thought we wish to explore. Notes are meant to be a placeholder for us to know what to return to and study more in depth at a later time. We take notes when want to remember something. It is the great object of note taking to learn something.

If you are attending an online college you probably already take notes in class. Most of us learned to do so in high school, but how many of us take notes while reading our texts and the articles we go over on the internet? Doing so accomplishes the same purpose we hope to get from taking notes in class, a way to crystallize information long enough to make it part of our longer term memory storage.

While you read, try some of the following ideas to help you take better notes:

Take notes on the main thrust of the material you read. Don’t get into the habit of citing small little ideas without covering the overall theme. Take what you are hearing and write them into your own words. Doing so helps you to process the information better. It associates it with what you already know, which is one of the most powerful ways to learn – association.

Make a note of what you think about what you are reading. I create a little symbol that lets me know it’s my own thought and not something that was presented in the book, article or text. This helps you quickly distinguish your own thoughts from that of the author later when you return to review.

Ask questions. Questions do something quite amazing I’ve learned. When I am engaged enough to ask questions about what I am reading, it opens up the reading material in a way that nothing else can. I am more alert to what’s going on and I am able to pick up on the bits of important information more readily because they are the answers to my questions. This is an active way to engage with reading, ask questions.

Keep track of important information. If you’re reading a book from the library or articles on the computer take the time to note what you read and where you found it so that if you ever need to return to it in the future it won’t be impossible to find. You may also try this with websites by bookmarking them for later use (Try using an online bookmarking service like Delicious).

When all is said and done, your goal is to be thoroughly engaged with your online college material. Take notes so you draw from the pages you read everything that you need to draw from it. Good luck with your note taking!


Posted 4/15/2011 for 5/29/2011

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