Taking notes for online classes is surprisingly easy

This is probably more of a tip than anything else. As you know, I am taking an online class from Coursera and have been using OneNote to take notes.

And I was diligently watching the teacher write on the whiteboard and was happily inking away in OneNote. And then I had to pause a lecture (nice to be able to do online, doesn’t work so well in real life 🙂 ) and when I came back I happened to notice my notes looked like what the instructor was showing in the paused video. Then things started to click in my mind. I did not need to transcribe everything the instructor wrote – I could just get a screenshot and know I had it all right!

Here’s what I wound up with:


Now I can actually pay more attention to the description of the equation and only need to add a few notes to amplify what are the key points to me. This goes much quicker. The only piece of the traditional lecture I am missing is the amplification of the material I get when I actually write the formula myself. But it is a tradeoff I am willing to make.

Did you notice the instructor’s finger pointing to ‘t’ in the top image?  Heh – I need to get my timing down better for capturing these images.

I’m still looking for ways to improve this experience, though. One struggle I am having is screen real estate – docked notes certainly help here. I’ll keep working through this and seeing what lessons I learned and then seeing what we can do to improve the experience in the future. If you have opinions here, definitely let me know what you think!

Questions, comments, concerns and criticisms always welcome,


Comments (4)

  1. Jarrad says:

    What I suggest you do is actually download the video, and then link your notes directly by having it in onenote. If you have dual screens then you can place the video player on one… onenote on the other. For the student, the fact that linking notes doesn't really allow you to make full usage of a dual screen has always been abit of a dull truth. You should be about to have a full onenote, linking to whatever is open on your other screen.

    fortunately, now days lecturers post there lectures notes up and with the printout manager, there is no need to copy whats on the screen.. just annotate. That said, it would be a shame if that addin isn't updated (or perhaps bulid into onetastic), or if there hasn't been the foresight to bulid such a critical feature into 2013.

    no doubt.. time will tell!

  2. John says:

    Sadly, UW  decided to remove the ability to download their videos for offline viewing.  I can't do that in this case.

  3. Jarrad says:

    hmmmm Have you tried Realdownloader? My university uses Adobe Mediaserve and oddly, I can download the content using it.

  4. John says:

    No, I have not tried that.  Part of the this experiment is to take the class "as is" and being blocked from the videos after the course is over is part of the experience.  Not all courses on coursera are like this, though.