assignment on reading and study strategy class


the assignment is 4 parts…but first start with explanations and what the assignments going to be about.

Part One: Cornell Notes

Cornell Notes are the Miley Cyrus of study strategies—people either love them or hate them. If you are unsure of what Cornell Notes are, I suspect you like them and will start using them. If you know what they are, it’s possible that you are already using them. However, if you have had the experience of being forced to use Cornell Notes in the past, such as in middle school, I hope you will do your best to forget those experiences and stay open to the benefits of Cornell Notes from the more mature point where you now are as a student.

Before you get any farther, have a look at your LASSI scores from Module One. There is not a note taking category, but elements of note taking and working with notes are included in the categories of selecting main ideas, self testing, and study aids. To see the connection, follow this link to the power point description of LASSI areas and review the descriptions of these three categories.

As we’ve seen in the CPEL videos and the learning styles materials, reading and re-reading information is not the best way to learn. Therefore, when it’s time to study from your notes, it helps to set them up in a way that you can work to actively recall the information. Let’s start with an image of Cornell Notes.

You’ll notice that the notes on the right-hand side probably look a lot like the notes you are currently taking. The only difference is that on the left-hand side, questions and key words have been included. This allows the note taker to go back and easily find information, and, more importantly, to turn the notes into a study guide. When it’s time to review, just cover up the right-hand column, and use the terms and questions on the left-hand side to quiz yourself.

Here are two videos to watch on note taking. The information from these videos will be included on 5 of the module’s quiz questions. You will also be taking Cornell Notes as part of this week’s assignment.

The first video is a general introduction to strategies for improved note taking, including Cornell. The video may not be correctly captioned, so I have created a transcription, too.

The second video deals specifically with the Cornell method. This one is also not correctly captioned, so here is a transcript for the second video.

Part Two: Taking Notes Electronically or by Hand

Many students now bring their laptops to class and take notes electronically. Recent research indicates that this may not be the most effective strategy.

First, read this article from Scientific American that describes the research.

Next, you will read the original research journal article of this study about laptops and note taking. Before you begin the article, be prepared for a more difficult reading, since this is the original research that was published by researchers. If you have not read a research article like this before, don’t expect to understand or even read everything. The most important parts to read are the abstract, the introduction, and the general discussion. Much of the rest of the article can be skimmed. If you have never read a research article before or find them confusing, have a look at this link for the best way to read research articles. To read the research article, follow this link to the research article, but if you are not already logged into the SCSU library’s page, you may need to do that first since it’s in SCSUs library database.

Part Three: CPEL Video 3

Here are the links for your CPEL Video 3. This video will form the basis for one of the discussion questions and for 3 of the quiz questions.

or (captioned)

Part Four: Your Assignments

Your assignments for Module Four will be to take Cornell Notes, evaluate their effectiveness, assess your note taking strengths and weaknesses, and consider the benefits of taking notes electronically or by hand.

Assignment One: Cornell Notes

After you view the videos and workshop to recognize the skills needed for effective note taking and the Cornell method, your first assignment will be to create a set of notes using the Cornell format and appraise their value.

If you are currently taking a lecture class, take notes from a day or two of lecture. If you are not taking a lecture class, choose a TED talk video that interests you and take notes on that lecture. If you can’t decide, I recommend this lecture about whether automation will take away all our jobs. All TED Talks are captioned and have the transcripts available.

Since taking notes by hand has been shown to have more benefits than taking them electronically, I encourage you to do so. You may print out the special paper designed for the Cornell format, or just draw a line down your paper. This site lets you customize all kinds of elements of the notes page, including lines, backgrounds, and page orientation. If you take the notes by hand, you should submit about 4 pages of notes. To submit them, you can scan the pages and submit a .pdf file, or, if you have a smartphone, take a photo of the notes one page at a time, email the photos to yourself, and use the .jpeg from the email to upload a .jpeg for each page of notes. Please be sure the writing is legible, and don’t use laptop cameras to take the images, since they are usually not of a high enough quality and often reverse the image.

If you wish to take the notes using Microsoft Word, that is a second, although less preferred, option. The easiest way to do it is to use a table. Select “insert” and “table” and make a two-column table with at least 10 rows. Move the line dividing the columns to the left so the right-hand side is larger. Then, place each new idea in a row of the table. If you don’t make multiple rows, you will have a terrible time with the formatting and spacing of the left-hand side. To add a new row as you type the notes, just hit the return key when you are in the last row. If you type your notes, you should submit about 2 pages of notes.

Your notes should be 2 pages long if typed and 3 pages if written by hand. With your notes, I will be looking for three things. First, it needs to have two columns, or it is not Cornell. Second, I will be looking for advanced qualities of the notes, including a system of showing levels of information, whether it is an outline, indentations, or bullets. Finally, I will be looking for “A level” of notes as described in the Cornell video.

Grading Rubric:

The Cornell Notes will be graded holistically and worth 10 points. These are the areas I will be evaluating:

  • Did you use the two-column Cornell Notes system? (Failure to use two columns will result in a grade of a 0 on the assignment.)
  • Did your notes meet the length requirement?
  • Were your notes organized, clear, and indicating levels of information?
  • Did the notes have “A level” qualities?

Assignment Two: Cornell Evaluation

After completing the Cornell Notes, please complete a paragraph of at least 75 words describing your skills as a note taker, including strengths and weaknesses and ways to improve these weaknesses. Also include an appraisal of the value of Cornell Notes.

Here is how the paragraph will be evaluated:

Did you describe your skills as a note taker, including strengths and weaknesses?

2 points

Did you appraise the value of Cornell Notes?

3 points

Other considerations that will be reflected in overall grade:
Was your writing free of grammatical and stylistic errors?

5 points

Assignment three: Taking Notes Electronically Versus by Hand

First read this research article that differentiates notes taken electronically versus by hand. Then, in a paragraph of at least 75 words, reflect on the differences between taking notes by laptop of by hand. You have the freedom to decide what differentiations you wish to make.

Here is how the paragraph will be evaluated:

Did you effectively differentiate on notes that are taken electronically versus by hand?

5 points

Other considerations that will be reflected in overall grade:
Was your writing free of grammatical and stylistic errors?

5 points

Assignment four: Discussion

As usual, we will have two discussion questions this week, and each one is worth 5 points.

DQ One:

In the video, Dr. Chew descried four principles for deep processing: elaboration, distinctiveness, personal, and appropriate retrieval and application. Select one of these principles and describe how it relates to an academic situation you have experienced in college, either in a positive or a negative way.

If this is your first college class, or if you simply prefer, pretend like you are taking an art history class and completing this first assignment about Maya versus Teotihuacan art. Describe how one of the principles for deep processing would relate to successfully completing the project. You may need to conduct a web search on key terms to get a full understanding of the assignment.

DQ Two:

Read this column entitled “Why I Hate Cornell Notes,” which was written by a high school student for her school newspaper. Pretend that this student is entering SCSU in the fall, and you are in a student organization with her. What would be your response if she shared with you with these complaints about Cornell Notes?


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