College students, do you actually take your laptops into class to take notes?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Looon, Aug 8, 2010.

  1. Looon macrumors 6502a


    Jul 10, 2009
    My situation is a little different than most college students I think. My school has what are known as "satellites" of the main campus where you can go to take the basic general education classes before moving onto the main campus which is what I chose to do. Basically it was just community college, except not called that. The class sizes were small only about 15 people a class max. I had a laptop and would have loved to take notes on it but nobody else in my class ever did, we all just used paper which was a huge pain for me because I'm a terrible writer and can barely read my own notes half the time because writing fast and legibly is not manageable. Anyway I'm now done my two years of general education and I'm ready to go to the main campus where I will be living. So I will finally be in a real college setting. I bought my new MBP two days ago in preparation because I feel like a laptop is going to be a necessity, and it says that all incoming freshman are required to have a laptop so I'm assuming that they make good use of them in the freshman classes there. I'm just hoping that people actually use them in class to take notes, I don't want to be the only person doing it because I would feel awkward, and I don't want people to think I'm showing off or whatever.

    Do you take your laptop to class to take notes?
    How many other people in your class take notes on a laptop if any?
  2. bradleydavid53 macrumors member

    Oct 2, 2008
    i rarely used my MBP for notes, rather, i used good ol' fashion pen and paper.. i only used my computer for essays and research..

    this is how all my classes were...

    if anyone had there computers out, it was because the prof was boring and theyd rather be on facebook;)
  3. bradl macrumors 68040


    Jun 16, 2008
    My SO does.

    It is easier for her to take notes with it simply for the fact that she's legally blind. It's rather hard for her to see notes on the board or some projector when for her to see it requires nose prints on said board or projector. Same thing would go for the paper she'd have to use to write anything down on.

    So the visually impaired features of OSX come in very handy.

  4. daneoni macrumors G4


    Mar 24, 2006
    iPhone Voice Recorder to record lectures. Laptops are a hassle to lug around for me.
  5. spillproof macrumors 68020


    Jun 4, 2009
    1. I had the same thoughts as you 3 years ago. I thought it would be cool to take notes on a laptop. In reality, it is just as boring a pen and paper. The laptop became a distraction (Facebook, MacRumors, YouTube, news) and annoying to lug around especially if you go hang out after class.

    Plus, for me, I remembered stuff better if I wrote it rather than typed it.

    2. A rule of thumb I use is - The larger and/or dumber the class the smaller the student to laptop ratio is. (More students/low level course = more laptops).

    All you can really do is try it out. Bring you laptop and a notebook with you the first day and see what is used more. Plus, if you really want to use your laptop becasue of your handwritting, sit in the back.

    Oh and I don't recommend recording your class if you are not going to take notes along with it. You miss so much if you don't pay attention and rely on audio only. Plus, you would have to set aside 1-2 hours to basically sit through the class again with out visual aids. Please trust me on this note.
  6. iBookG4user macrumors 604


    Jun 27, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    Yes, I do. I find it to be a lot faster than writing the notes by hand and the notes are searchable so it makes them more handy when I need to find specific information. That, and I do need to keep myself occupied during class, as it does get pretty dull in there sometimes. (I actually have an excellent GPA, but to be honest the computer keeps me sane during the three hour lectures :p)

    Usually about three or four other students in a class of thirty or so. I don't feel out of place though.
  7. instaxgirl macrumors 65816


    Mar 11, 2009
    Edinburgh, UK
    I had a bit of a weird degree where most classes weren't bigger than 25/35 pupils and no one used their laptop. Apart from anything else we were working translating between languages and 1. weren't meant to be using dictionaries or online aides and 2. foreign characters are easier to write than locate on a keyboard.

    The very occasional full on 100-200+ people lectures I attended usually involved a lot of laptops though. Saying that, it was rare that someone wasn't just playing farmville.

    I always took notes by hand anyway - but I write fast, and prefer physical folders to files.
  8. ethical macrumors 68000

    Dec 22, 2007
    Don't feel out of place. Even if you're the only one it's still a very normal thing to do. I tried it once or twice but much prefer taking notes by hand. It's a lot quicker to write by hand if you like to mix up the colours, highlight things or make diagrams (that was the main thing for me). I like to cascade my notes, with sub-sections and find it a lot easier and quicker to do that by hand. I also hate reading off a computer screen. If I need to learn from what I'm reading I find it much easier to have a paper copy.
  9. eawmp1 macrumors 601


    Feb 19, 2008
  10. R94N macrumors 68020


    May 30, 2010
    I lol'd at that picture.

    Personally, I'd be like '******* them'. It's just a different brand of computer. If they don't like it, they'll just have to ignore it.
  11. DoFoT9 macrumors P6


    Jun 11, 2007
    i take my laptop (and ipad) to all lectures and tutes. quite often my lecturer will say a bunch of stuff, then will hint that they might be in the final exam. its good to add in a note in my study notes for later on!

    there is a fail picture of a lecture theatre where everybody has a laptops - all of them are a Mac, there is 1xPC
  12. 0098386 Suspended


    Jan 18, 2005
    I graduated in 2007 but yea, I used to take my Powerbook in. For the harder lectures (or if I was just tired :p) I would record the whole thing in Quicktime or Audacity. But normally because of the speed of lectures I'd just leave Google search tabs open with what I was making notes of and just make notes in my sketchbook.
  13. 0098386 Suspended


    Jan 18, 2005
  14. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Oct 9, 2006
    It depends on the class if I would do it. For things like math class the laptop stayed in the bag but for things like history I would use my laptop to take notes on it. It really just depends on the class if the laptop is good for taking notes or not.

    I would recommend if you do use you laptop to turn off wifi while you are in class because it makes it to easy to surf the net and not pay attention.
  15. danielcox macrumors member

    Apr 19, 2010
    Absolutely not - for one it's a big distraction, secondly you can't do equations and mathematics quickly enough.
  16. XnavxeMiyyep macrumors 65816


    Mar 27, 2003
    I always use my laptop for notes, except in the classes which don't allow it or I don't feel the need to take notes in.

    At my school, most others do this as well, particularly in computer science courses.

    Back when I was still taking math courses, I wrote all my math notes with, which made it really easy to write elaborate formulas. I would always show it to the math teachers though; I think I was the only person who used a laptop for notes in the Calculus classes.
  17. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Oct 9, 2006
    Yeah I am back in school now studing computer science and I find myself taking my laptop to my CS classes but then again it is easier for me to do the examples on my laptop than on the school's computers.
    I still do not think I could use a computer for my math classes though but that I think is more how I take notes in math and how I like them to work. A computer just does not do arrows diagrams as well.
    Either way like I said before it really depends on the classes. When I was working my my Constuction Engineering degree after my core classes were done I more or less stop taking my laptop to classes because most of my notes had become pretty diagram and formal heavy which computer keyboard just do not work out well form. Now my last year in college on that degree I took my laptop to classes but I was taking my last core credit and my estimating classes had a type of notes that were really good for typing on a computer. But it rare.

    It really comes down to what the classes is and if you do take a laptop to class turn off your wifi because it makes it really easy to surf the net. I find that is my largest struggle now working on my 2nd degree. When I was working on my 1st degree wifi was a pretty new thing and the colleges were just starting to put up wifi and it was more limited to areas like the library.
  18. heesey1010 macrumors member

    Jan 6, 2006
    I think it not only depends on the type of class you're attempting to take notes in (example: history is much better to use a computer than in math), but sometimes the type of computer you have. If you have a tablet, for instance, math notes are much easier to take because of the pen input.

    I have a netbook which I'll probably bring around campus...but I don't know if I really will take it out in class; it'll just be for use in the library. I usually write notes and then type them up again later.
  19. Spool de Master macrumors newbie

    Spool de Master

    Aug 8, 2010
    Boulder, CO
    do you guys any certain apps to take notes at all... i know word as a pretty good template... anything else?
  20. 3lionsbecks Suspended


    Jul 19, 2010
    Ontario, Canada
    I notice that students in high school are slowly but surely starting to use laptops in class more and more for taking notes and working on classwork etc....

    I think that it is more and more common to use laptops at university and it is quite common place nowadays.

    No need to feel uncomfortable or out of place. Do what is best for your education (remember in College/university learning and doing well is what is important unlike high school where fitting in and being cool is more important)

    Good luck on he upcoming semester.
  21. kernkraft macrumors 68020


    Jun 25, 2009
    What a plastic laptop will give you!

    Brian: Look, you've got it all wrong. You don't need to follow me. You don't need to follow anybody! You've got to think for yourselves! You're all individuals!
    The Crowd: Yes! We're all individuals!
    Brian: You're all different!
    The Crowd: Yes! We're all different!
    Man in crowd: I'm not...
    Man in crowd: Shhh!

    Attached Files:

  22. OutThere macrumors 603


    Dec 19, 2002
    I only took my laptop when I felt like tuning things out for the day. I went to a small liberal arts college so generally the classes were small and discussion-oriented so there wasn't as much opportunity for laptop use. Generally you could gauge a class's opinion of a professor over the course of the term by the number of laptops in class...

    A boring professor:
    Day #1: 1 laptop (the kid with a learning disability), professor asks people to try not to bring computers to encourage discussion
    Day #2: 2 laptops (1 kid is playing balloon tower defense, one is facebooking)
    Day #10: 15 laptops (50% facebook, 25% games, 25% blank word document + iChat)
    Day #30: 25 laptops (the one kid without a laptop is asleep in the back row)

    I usually sat in the back so I know how these things work. ;) Even the most dedicated note-taking laptop users would break down a few times and check facebook.

    I did appreciate people who actually took notes on their laptops because I'd always ask them to email me the notes if I missed class!
  23. kidwithdimples macrumors 6502a

    Jun 17, 2007
    The only reason I bring a laptop to lectures is to keep me occupied by surfing the interwebs. :)

    Notes are usually uploaded to online by professor.
  24. Chris 123 macrumors regular

    Chris 123

    Jun 28, 2008
    U.S. (New England)
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; Teleca Q7; Brew 3.1.5; U; en) 240X400 LGE VX9700)

    I never use my laptop in class. So i bought an imac and now never use my mb. But in general most kids who use laptops in class use them for facebook
  25. XnavxeMiyyep macrumors 65816


    Mar 27, 2003
    Yeah, wifi can be distracting sometimes. I've actually found that a lot of times, I just leave my laptop closed and don't take notes at all, especially if the teacher provides downloadable slides. I can just listen in class and look up the details later.

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