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Rebe
11-15-2012, 08:41 AM
Back in the day, our professors (in most classes) lectured from notes, occasionally used a blackboard, and we wrote down just about everything they said into our spiral notebooks. I'm pretty sure that college has changed since then. :unsure:

I haven't set foot in a college classroom in more than 20 years, and my ds has never been in that situation, either. His current classes at the learning center (science and German) are more hands-on, discussion, lab, etc. Can someone tell me what a typical lecture-type college class looks like these days? What is expected of the student? What is typical?

I have questions like:
Do most professors use PowerPoint -- and if so, so they give handouts or are students still expected to write it all down?
What technology are students using in the classroom? Are they taking notes tapping away on their laptops, iPads, or what? Or are they still using paper and pen, and when do they use this?
How is this different for different classes -- say, English or history vs. science or math classes?

Also, if you've sent a homeschooled child to college, how did you prepare him or her for the lecture-style classes they're going to encounter? Taking notes, etc. (I'm assuming that many classes are still lectures -- please tell me that higher education hasn't changed that much! I can't be that old, can I? ;) )

Marcia
11-15-2012, 10:41 AM
I've taken several classes at our local community college the past few years. My Psychology, Health, and Criminal Justice class used power point. Two passed out notes to go with it, one did not. My English class was just lecture, and I took a lot of notes. I noticed that most kids do not take notes on the computer. My daughter takes classes, and she told me the same thing. One teacher asked them not to have their computers out at all.

I did attend college back in the 80's ( :eek: ), and I don't think things have changed that much. Teachers tell you up front what is expected, pass out syllabuses, and are available if you have questions (emailing has made that easier). I did find my English class to more of a discussion class, where other classes have just been the teacher lecturing. I have not taken a Math class, so I don't know about that.

My kids all took classes at a co op before attending college, so they were prepared for a classroom setting.

TonyaP
11-15-2012, 04:49 PM
You might sign up for a Coursera course or buy one of the Teaching Company lectures to practice. ;)

Rebe
11-15-2012, 06:50 PM
I noticed that most kids do not take notes on the computer. My daughter takes classes, and she told me the same thing. One teacher asked them not to have their computers out at all.



Thanks -- that's interesting! My dh works at a seminary and he told me a year or two ago that the classes are a sea of laptops, clicking away. :unsure: When he graduated in 2005, most everyone was still using pen and paper.

Anyone else have recent experience, either yourself or your dc?

Sunshine C
11-15-2012, 07:42 PM
Has it really been 9 years since I've last been to University? :eek: Anyway, I have no really recent experience, so I can't help you there, but I had a thought about practicing note taking. You could always have your dc take notes from your pastor's sermon - teach them how to find the most important points, supporting evidence/points, etc. Since you would be there as well, you could take notes and compare, or even get a copy of the pastor's notes afterward to evaluate how well you did. Just an idea.

Vicki P in VA
11-15-2012, 10:39 PM
I teach at a university, so I'll throw my hat in the ring here. :) A lot of the answers to your questions depend on the size of the college or university your child will attend. For instance, in my institution, the student population is roughly 42,000, so you have class sizes ranging from 22 students up to about 450.

The larger classes are typically strictly lecture-based, and in many cases professors will use powerpoints, lecture notes, and the like. I hear from a lot of my students that in some cases, these same notes/ppts. will then be provided online, so they aren't really that motivated to go to class. Of course, each professor and course will be different, and there is a growing movement away from this teaching style, even in larger courses.

I teach English, so my courses are very discussion-oriented as Marcia said. Sometimes students feel that in these courses notes aren't necessary, but I beg to differ. I permit some note taking on laptops if students are responsible (i.e., not surfing the net), but will request them to shut it down if it's clear they aren't using it for notes. Some profs. have a strict no-technology policy, even now. (You always feel you're competing for attention, which many profs resent.)

In any situation, the expectation is that a student has done the reading on their own, annotated their texts, and come ready to ask questions and engage in thinking about the issues and readings. (This is more true in a discussion course, but even in lecture classes students are often encouraged to participate in this way.)

Here's a reading I always give my freshmen students during the first few weeks of class: http://www.ctl.uga.edu/Learning/learning.htm

It's a bit dated, but still very accurate, and I think it is an excellent tool for prepping for college learning. I regularly have students tell me that reading this changed or challenged their study habits. As you will see in that reading, even if a student isn't "required" to write everything down, this is really how deeper learning happens.

As for technology, my institution actually requires laptops as an essential learning tool, and most classes use online course management software (like a course website). Email is also usually the primary way students are notified of school-related information, and they will pay their bills, check their grades, register for courses, etc. online. If a student doesn't have regular access to the internet and their own computer, they will be at a disadvantage in most higher ed schools these days. It's not impossible without this, but a challenge.

A lot of reading materials and even course textbooks are now available digitally, and some schools offer digital rentals of texts. So, an e-reader (or again, a laptop) may be worth considering. (I still have mixed feelings about digital texts, because you can't annotate them easily. Then again, I'm a lit person!) :)

Hope this info helps!

Heather (WI)
11-15-2012, 11:23 PM
Funny you should ask about this now, because I just registered to start back to school for a 2nd Associate's Degree, and my classes start in January! :)

They offered a note-taking class last week, that I actually took our 15yo dd to, because SHE has never really had to take notes from a lecture-style learning, having been homeschooled all these years. I wanted her to learn more about it.

The instructor used a Power Point, and someone asked about taking notes on a computer, too. The consensus (at least at this local technical college) was that no one was really using a computer for that purpose, but still using regular pen and paper for taking notes.

Karen in TN
11-16-2012, 06:21 AM
My son has had very few prof's that let them take notes on the lap top. Maybe it would be too noisy? I don't know. I was surprised. He uses his laptop for lots of other things.

One thing my son needed that threw me was a phone w/camera capabilities. In his Science labs they would be told to take a picture to imbed in their papers. We ended up buying him a 30 dollar/month track phone (smart phone kind) so that he could do that. He's a Science major and it was happening a lot.

Karen in TN

shonda in ca
11-16-2012, 09:54 AM
Vicki, Thank You so much for the link to that fantastic article! I am going to share it with my commonwealth school group. :thumb:
Excellent! :clap:

Rebe
11-16-2012, 03:30 PM
II hear from a lot of my students that in some cases, these same notes/ppts. will then be provided online, so they aren't really that motivated to go to class. Of course, each professor and course will be different, and there is a growing movement away from this teaching style, even in larger courses.


This is exactly what I was afraid all classes were becoming -- so glad to hear that it's not universal and there is a trend away from this kind of "teaching." When I took a class or two several years ago, the professor handed out all the notes to us on the first day. Or else they'd have them for sale in the bookstore. :confused: Huh? What's the point of even going, then?

Thanks also for that handout. Very good advice in there! Whether or not my ds will take it to heart is another story... :unsure:

Thank you all for the info and advice. It sounds like technology hasn't permeated classrooms quite as much as I thought it might have. My ds does have a laptop and an iPod. Maybe that's about all he'll need for college, I don't know. But it sounds like notes are still being taken with actual pens and paper, too.

Shannon P
11-17-2012, 02:27 AM
My ds hasn't seen anyone using laptops for note taking at his community college classes, unless it is necessary for a disability. I think the objections include the noise of a few dozen students pounding on their keyboards at the same time. Also, many students take more than one class per day, and laptop batteries may not always last long enough. There are not enough outlets to share and cords are tripping hazards.

Several of ds's teachers use power point for lectures. DS simply writes everything down from the PP presentation.

Also, several of his teachers assign power point assignments, particularly in non-composition classes.

Heather W
11-17-2012, 12:30 PM
One of the things I'm doing with my high schooler, which I think is relevant to the current discussion, is how to take notes from a text and how to compare two pieces of writing and assimilate thoughts on all of it.

I did an extraordinary amount of that sort of synthesis in graduate school and it's valuable to be able to read material of all sorts and be able to process it in a number of ways.

Lecture notes- professionally (I am a professional volunteer for a large ministry and have training requirements often) I prefer to take notes with my laptop though it is not always possible. So, that's interesting that people prefer handwritten notes. Perhaps not having wifi access would be better for attention purposes.

My husband is a college of engineering administrator at an ivy league school with responsibilities for safety across the entire college and he uses his laptop as a tool- always takes his meeting notes on his laptop and made sure his was light and portable to use during inspections of lab space(and docks it on a huge monitor in his office- though he chooses to use the smaller laptop keyboard so he can use it well on the go). All that to say, now that he is not a lab manager but an administrator, his laptop is a vital tool for his work and he uses it in lots of note taking situations. I find it somewhat surprising that profs don't like them.

After all these years using a keyboard, I can easily say I'm faster with my typing than with my writing at this point. I would have loved to take notes on a computer back when I was working through both my degrees.

Interesting discussion...

Cari
11-17-2012, 03:03 PM
DD18 doesn't typically take her laptop with her on campus, so I guess she doesn't use it to take notes :unsure:. Most of her professors so far have done power-points, and either handed them out (in which case I've seen her take notes directly on the power-point sheets) or they were available online.

I have no idea what other students do, though. If I can remember long enough, I will ask her when I see her. IF I see her. Lately she just stops in to sleep...

Sue in MN
11-17-2012, 06:09 PM
I am in my second year of returning to college and although the registration etc was all online, laptops were not allowed to be used during class time.

I have taken all English classes except for the one Govt. class that I took online. In most of them the professor specified at the beginning that he/she found them to be a distraction and they were not allowed. Students still bring them to class but they don't open them unless there is a question that someone needs to research online to find the answer. LOL

Vicki P in VA
11-17-2012, 10:51 PM
The main reason for not using laptops in the class is not so much a noise issue, but a distraction issue. These days, most campuses are completely wired, meaning that a student can get online at any point and time, including during class! Rather than have to play "internet police," a lot of profs just opt for going completely tech free. Of course, students can still often be seen texting under the table...sigh. It's impossible to compete with the lures of Facebook and other internet sites, so unless there's a specific reason for needing the laptop, you'll find that those restrictions will still be in place in the majority of college classrooms. I always alert my students ahead of time when they'll need them for in-class work, for instance. It's a shame, because I too prefer notetaking on my laptop, but most students just don't have the discipline not to plug in to the net.

Vicki P in VA
11-17-2012, 10:52 PM
This is exactly what I was afraid all classes were becoming -- so glad to hear that it's not universal and there is a trend away from this kind of "teaching." When I took a class or two several years ago, the professor handed out all the notes to us on the first day. Or else they'd have them for sale in the bookstore. :confused: Huh? What's the point of even going, then?

Thanks also for that handout. Very good advice in there! Whether or not my ds will take it to heart is another story... :unsure:

Thank you all for the info and advice. It sounds like technology hasn't permeated classrooms quite as much as I thought it might have. My ds does have a laptop and an iPod. Maybe that's about all he'll need for college, I don't know. But it sounds like notes are still being taken with actual pens and paper, too.
You're welcome, Rebe and Shonda! If you ever want additional resources like this, just let me know. :)

shonda in ca
11-18-2012, 02:13 AM
You're welcome, Rebe and Shonda! If you ever want additional resources like this, just let me know. :)

:thumb:

Well, that was a real gem you shared, so I would love to see anything else you think would be beneficial! :)
Anything on annotating books/primary source documents? That's what I'm working on with my class right now. :)

Vicki P in VA
11-18-2012, 07:23 PM
:thumb:

Well, that was a real gem you shared, so I would love to see anything else you think would be beneficial! :)
Anything on annotating books/primary source documents? That's what I'm working on with my class right now. :)
Here are a few things I had at my fingertips for annotating texts:

"How to Mark a Book": http://www.tnellen.com/cybereng/adler.html

http://chronicle.com/article/Mark-It-Up/135166/

http://www.brighthubeducation.com/high-school-english-lessons/29131-how-to-annotate-a-poem-class-discussion/

Here's one on critical reading/annotating: http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-professor-blog/a-couple-of-great-strategies-to-improve-student-reading/
(http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-professor-blog/a-couple-of-great-strategies-to-improve-student-reading/)

Hope this can get you started!

shonda in ca
11-19-2012, 10:45 AM
Thank you so much!! I just spent about two hours studying these and going on rabbit trails! :lol: Awesome!

laurie in ok
11-19-2012, 05:11 PM
I"m surprised and saddened that students wouldn't be allowed to use laptops/ipads etc to take notes in class. I have a student who writing is very laborious, and typing comes much easier. Students are paying to be there, if they want to waste their time browsing the internet - that's their stupid choice.

Cari
11-19-2012, 09:43 PM
Got DD18's report:

She uses pen & notebook, or sometimes writes on print-outs of the lecture power points.
Most but not all of her professors post their power points online.
A few students use their laptops and typically sit in the back of class to be less distracting (but they are in the minority).
Use of laptops is up to the individual professor's discretion.

She also said that I did NOT prepare her to take notes, but that she feels pretty confident in her ability now. She took two live classes last year (her other dual enrollment classes were online) and is taking four right now, so she's had a chance to experience a variety of teaching styles.

She is in a community college and has relatively small classes.

Michele
11-20-2012, 08:22 AM
My daughter is at a large University and very little is done with pen and paper.
ALL of her notetaking is done on her laptop or iPad.

Rebe
11-20-2012, 12:34 PM
My daughter is at a large University and very little is done with pen and paper.
ALL of her notetaking is done on her laptop or iPad.

Thanks, Michele. It sounds like it really depends on the school. My dh told me the same thing about his seminary. But many other schools or instructors discourage it or prohibit it, it seems!

I think this must be why they tell you that one of the most important things you can do when considering a school is to visit. ;) We haven't done that yet. Sitting in on a class, peeking in classrooms, and talking to the admissons counselor will give us our answers. But it's really interesting to read here about others' experiences, too.

Linda
11-22-2012, 10:47 AM
Great thread. Thanks to all who have shared. :group:

Another article I read, from a Charlotte Mason source, mentioned that a CM type university required no note taking in class. The students were to attend to the lecture and then, right after class, write what they learned. The whole written narration thing coming to fruition.

For those who were trained with this method, their retention of material was superior to those who took notes.

The whole habit of attention thing that CM drills in from the very beginning. I can see how it could be beneficial, yet kind of scary. :perplex:

Marcia
11-22-2012, 11:35 AM
Great thread. Thanks to all who have shared. :group:

Another article I read, from a Charlotte Mason source, mentioned that a CM type university required no note taking in class. The students were to attend to the lecture and then, right after class, write what they learned. The whole written narration thing coming to fruition.

For those who were trained with this method, their retention of material was superior to those who took notes.

The whole habit of attention thing that CM drills in from the very beginning. I can see how it could be beneficial, yet kind of scary. :perplex:


Linda,
I love that. I learn better like that too. Note talking while I'm listening can be distracting for me. I like to listen carefully, think about it, then write things down afterward.

Susan Seaman
11-22-2012, 02:54 PM
My daughter takes notes with pen and paper and then types up her notes on her laptop during her study process. I think she's even been offered $$ for her notes. I did not teach her this.

In fact, I always meant to do a better job using a timeline with her when I was little. But now she apparently strings yarn across her dorm room and prints out stuff to put on it when she is studying.

I think it's great to prepare kids for this aspect of college. It has also worked for us just to let them figure it out on their own.