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Notebooks: The writing-in kind


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This may sound like a really odd question, but do people ever use REAL notebooks in grad school?

I really hate using computers. Staring at the screen for so long hurts my eyes and my fingers get sore from typing. Not to mention, i have finger tendonitis and wrist arthritis.

No, I'm not 60 years old.

:) Thanks!

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I use notebooks for grad school classes all the time. I hate taking notes with my laptop and I don't learn the material as well that way. I'm sometimes the only student in my cohort taking notes with a notebook, but that is what works for me so that is what I use.

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My husband actually wasn't allowed to use his new laptop for most of his MCSC program, the professors felt everyone spent too much time on the internet and would pay better attention writing (his loss, my gain- a huge step up from my old one).

In the few grad classes I took in ug, almost everyone was using notebooks. I'm planning on doing the same- I know I would get distracted by any other functions or files on the laptop. My hand will cramp up either way (multiple broken fingers from a clumsy childhood) but the lesser evil means I'll be less distracted.

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I've taken notes on a laptop before; it does help to keep things nice and tidy. But this was only for classes were that made any real sense. Quantitative courses, where equations and what not are being tossed at you, don't really facilitate their use very well.

I think the internet issue is less a problem (or should be) for graduate students; but I suppose it probably depends on the overall maturity of the student (I've seen folks on their cell phone Angry Birding'ing it up in grad courses).

Edited by ANDS!
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This may sound like a really odd question, but do people ever use REAL notebooks in grad school?

We're a small university, but I don't remember anyone taking notes on a laptop in any of my grad courses. As ANDS! wrote, that's pretty hard to do in physics/astrophysics, where you're dealing with a lot of equations. Even in my research, although I can't avoid working on a computer, I use regular notebooks to write down ideas, keep a to-do list, record my daily progress (or, more often, lack of it, lol)...

Edited by go3187
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I rarely use my laptop in my classes. For me, it's too tempting to check my email (especially while waiting to hear back from schools...), and I generally just find I get distracted more easily. I also remember things better if I hand-write it during class. If I'm concerned about organization or the neatness of my notes, I'll type up my notes at a later time, which also gives me another opportunity to review them.

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I think I would go with the notebook. However, I think I would use a voice recorder to record the lectures, which I can play back later if I miss something on my notes.

English is not my first language and I think the voice recorder is going to help A LOT. I just hope that there's no rules against the use of it in grad school.

Get a good one and sit near a side board, or window. Place it on a ledge before class starts, and you will be good to go.

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A note on using voice recorders: MAKE SURE YOU ASK THE PROFESSOR'S PERMISSION BEFORE RECORDING, Even if you're only doing it for your own personal use, it's important to ask first. Apparently, recording without asking can be some kind of violation of intellectual property rights. One of the profs in my department got very upset when she found out that a grad student was doing this and threatened to have the student expelled (not kidding, wish I were!)

As for the notebook question: yes, I use a notebook. I only use one, with different sections, for all my courses and meetings; I find that it's much easier than carrying a bunch of different notebooks. Having my laptop open in class usually creates too much distraction for me, so I try to avoid it.

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I still use paper for notes, for the most part. I think it just depends on the class format, the lecturer and so on. I have one lecturer to talks REALLY SUPER fast and I just can't keep up so I record the lectures. @far_to_go - thanks for the tip about asking if it's OK. I never really thought about it being NOT ok, but it does make sense when you think about the legality of it... Do you have any insight into the issue where the prof wanted the grad student expelled? Were there extenuating circumstances? It seems like a small thing to get THAT worked up over... I mean, unless the student was selling the lectures or posting them on youtube or something.. If you could update us, I'd appreciate it!

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Actually, I've used a sketchbook a lot, which has been using for practicing coding concepts in isolation and for also planning design stuff. Great investment and gives me flexibility that line-paper notebooks annoying lack.

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One of the profs in my department got very upset when she found out that a grad student was doing this and threatened to have the student expelled (not kidding, wish I were!)

That instructor is blowing smoke out of their ass and should be ashamed for having such a reaction. Theres no way they wouldn't get laughed out of the Presidents office if they even tried such a thing.

If the instructor says "no", just get a Livescribe pen, or find a spot where the instructor can not see.

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That instructor is blowing smoke out of their ass and should be ashamed for having such a reaction. Theres no way they wouldn't get laughed out of the Presidents office if they even tried such a thing.

If the instructor says "no", just get a Livescribe pen, or find a spot where the instructor can not see.

Like far_to_go, I had several professors who were very much against being recorded, and my school took this matter VERY seriously. I would never recommend that anyone try to hide or otherwise conceal recording devices from professors. You run the risk of getting caught and landing in some serious trouble, for one thing. But it's also just downright disrespectful to go against a professor's legal right to not be recorded.

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I love notebooks. I have been using a sketchbook with a hardcover for the class I'm auditing right now. The grad class (at Berkeley) is about 60/40 notebooks/laptops. I find that I make much more eye contact with the professor than students using the laptops. Also - isn't a nice notebook so much more aesthetically pleasing? One hint for all notebooks - to keep your mind feeling clear and focused every time you open the notebook, always leave a few blank pages at the front of it. Learned this from an art student. A good pen makes me take better, neater notes, too!

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You run the risk of getting caught and landing in some serious trouble, for one thing. But it's also just downright disrespectful to go against a professor's legal right to not be recorded.

Where have you seen this enumerated; I would be very curious.

And it has nothing to do with disrespect/respect so lets please not get into histrionics on this issue. There is ZERO credible reason an instructor has to not allowing his or her course to be recorded by a student for private/personal use and as a study aid.

They can take the matter as "seriously" as they want; at maximum we get to have a discussion about protected intellectual property and allowable reproductions of - garauntee the student comes out on the winning end of that conversation.

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