Active learning techniques for improving note-taking skills

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A recent study by Mueller and Oppenheimer (2014) sparked my interest into more carefully considering student note-taking. Perhaps every instructor and student has strong opinions about “notes”. What should be the instructor role in note-taking? What should be the student role? What previous experience do our students bring about note-taking and what are their expectations about our role? One of the seven research-based principles outlined by Ambrose et al. (2010) emphasizes our key role in developing self-directed learners. In this context, how can we enhance note-taking in the classroom? Bonner and Halliday (2006) recommended addressing note-taking strategies deliberately and explicitly throughout a course. This session will involve a brief presentation about my attempts to assist first-semester first-year students with note-taking in a large class lecture-based setting. An additional concern involves how students make meaning of learning activities that are not lecture-based; sometimes getting students to take notes during these settings can be even more challenging. Participants will be engaged in discussions about our own current practices surrounding notes, distinctions between our presenter notes and/or slides versus student-developed study notes, and concerns around technological issues about note-taking. Each participant will: 1. Learn about strategies for developing note-taking skills within the classroom, 2. Discuss current practices, 3. Discuss current challenges and consider strategies to identify and overcome them.