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USF alumnus creates note-taking software

A USF alumnus is responsible for a recent invention for alternative note-taking. 

Peter Rehm, who has both a bachelor’s and master’s degree from USF in computer engineering, recently released software that allows students to record audio along with their notes.

His invention — PerfectNotes — was made to help students enhance their learning.

“PerfectNotes is software that is meant for taking notes in a classroom or other situations like that,” Rehm said.

The software creates an audio recording that allows students to section their notes so they can easily navigate the audio to find segments they found confusing in class, he said.

“The thing that is most unique about it is that as you are taking this audio recording, any time you feel a little bit overwhelmed — like you know that you missed something or you know you are going to want to come back and hear something again — you have the opportunity to make a time stamp or a bookmark,” Rehm said. “At the end of class, you can go back and you know exactly the information you want to hear again.”

In addition to the bookmark function, students can label sections of their notes, he said.

“These markers can have labels. So, for example, if you think something is important there is a button that says ‘important,'” Rehm said. “If you think something is going to be on a test, you can press a button that says ‘test.’ Or you can just type your own labels.”

Rehm said he came up with the idea for the note-taking software when he entered law school.

“I came up with it because I was frustrated. In law school, they use something called the Socratic method to teach. There is a lot of discussion throughout the class, but the ideas that are being discussed are not necessarily the correct thing that you’re supposed to be learning,” Rehm said. “At the end of the class — a minute or two before the bell rings — the professor would summarize and say what it was that we were supposed to get out of today’s lecture.”

The atmosphere of the room would then become frantic as students typed away on their laptops, trying to record all the important material, he said.

His idea took years to process, as the technology wasn’t available for such a concept.

“I remember trying to describe it to people and they would just get this look on their face,” Rehm said. “Computers back than couldn’t even hold that much audio. Now it’s not a question with all these iPods and things.”

PerfectNotes is the latest in the line of alternative note-taking products targeting college students, he said.

“Right now we are focusing on college students, but others can benefit as well,” Rehm said.

According to the PerfectNotes  Web site, the software also makes a great tool for journalists, people in business or anyone who attends a lot of meetings.

“I know that there is a program called OneNote, and it’s quite similar,” said freshman biology major Ashley Garringer. “I think any method that can help should be utilized.”