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Making notes online

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This article tells you about making notes in browsers and PDFs, and describes some of the software that can help you. Also see the Notetaking techniques area, which will give you further guidance on notetaking in general.

Now so much OU material is delivered online and in formats such as PDF it’s important to know how to make the most of taking notes on your computer.

  • Electronic notes have the distinct advantage of being searchable, something that’s very useful at revision time.
  • If you print out the material and annotate on paper you will lose the live connections with video and other resources and you won’t be able to search your notes (not to mention the cost in paper and ink).
  • Don’t fall into the habit of copying and pasting chunks of the document into another file and calling them notes. Active reading, with active note taking, is critical to understanding and retention. Try to rewrite the text in your own words so you’re sure you understand it and are more likely to remember it.
  • Some people find that audio recordings of their notes are useful. Read Making recordings as part of your study for some tips and techniques.

Important note on support

Only Adobe Reader is supported by the OU Computing Helpdesk. With the other software mentioned in the following pages you’ll be dependent on support offered by the vendors (or perhaps your fellow students). You should investigate the support available before choosing to rely on a particular tool.

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