Students seem to understand how to take notes from a professor who lectures from an outline and often writes points on the board or power points.

It seems like a more challenging process to take notes from a class discussion.   Of course each discussion can go in a different direction, but there are some basic points to keep in mind regarding discussion notes.

  1. Pay attention to your faculty member.  If there are points that they hear a student share and then elaborate upon, that means they probably thought there was something "meaty" there; take notes on it and look it up after class if you didn't recall that section of material.
  2. Try to keep track of trends in the discussion; points or aspects of the work that are repeatedly brought up in different ways.  It might be indicating the importance of a section of work and if you had not focused on it previously, you might want to review it.
  3. Make a mark in your notes beside those comments that come from a professor vs. a peer.   That might be helpful when you are studying.
  4. Take time after class to reorganize your thoughts, write out more complete sentences or look for  a pattern in the flow of material discussed.  Ideally this is done within an hour of class to help the memory process.