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“NoNote” taking, just listening

Sometimes, taking notes in class causes students to miss important lecture information. NoNotes.com is a new Web site designed to help college students avoid this problem.

According to its Web site, the goal of NoNotes.com is to “help you focus on learning while in class without having to divide your attention to take notes.” It allows you to “sit back, learn, ask questions and make the most of your class time.”

NoNotes.com founder Matt Whitteker wanted to ease the strain of note-heavy courses on students.

“Transcription services are widely used in the medical and legal field. Since students are the largest demographic of ‘note takers,’ I decided to offer the same service used by doctors and lawyers to students,” he said.

Meagan Daly, a senior in the College of Nursing, said she plans to use NoNotes.com.

“In (the College of Nursing), a majority of us record lectures because so much material is given at one time,” Daly said. “Then we spend hours listening to it over and over writing things down. That would give us more time to actually focus on the material.”

The Web site is essentially a transcription service aimed for college students. Typed notes are made from class recordings. A student records a class, uploads the audio file to the Web site and then waits for an e-mail of the transcription in 1-3 business days. Files need to be in either MP3 or Windows Media format.

The price is based on the uploaded file’s duration per hour.

Transcribing one hour of class costs $11.75. The more you buy, the more you save. There are discounted rates for five – and 10 – hour class time transcription. Five hours will save you $5 and 10 hours will save you a little over $20.

There are no policies in place to prevent sharing notes. The company actually encourages it.

“Cognitively speaking, everyone only has so much mental bandwidth,” Whitteker said. “You can’t listen to two people speak to you at the same time with 100 percent attention. Think of when you write notes. There’s a little voice in your head trying to play back what you just heard, then there is your professor speaking as well. Those two voices conflict.”

“Our service lets you focus 100 percent on audio when it’s delivered, then 100 percent as you read and review and pick out whatis
meaningful,” he said.

The Web site says that the transcription service can be used for anything from class lectures to study groups and meetings.

Whitteker said that Students with Disabilities Services at USF has registered on the Web site.

“We have several centers for students with learning disabilities that use the service as well,” he said. “It’s a great tool for students with hearing impairments and other cognitive disorders.”

He also said he has nine USF accounts registered on the site for either students or teachers.

One draw back is that the service is only useful for some classes. A transcription for a math class, where most of the instruction is visual, may pale in comparison to handwritten notes.

“Depending on the type of lecture, the transcript may be more or less useful,” Whitteker said. “The majority of the teachers and students that use our service fall under the art majors: English, history, law,
socio, etc.”

Another problem may arise if students use the service as a crutch rather than an enhancing tool. The intention to “sit back and learn” could become “sit back and check your Facebook during the entire class” for students who think the Web site can handle everything.

Joe Cole, a senior majoring in criminology and pitcher for USF’s baseball team, said he also plans to use NoNotes.com when he misses a class because of a game, but he also feels that the cost is too high to use the service for every class.

While NoNotes.com makes it easy for college students to skip class and have a friend record without consequence of missing a lecture, it could also save the grades of students who have to miss class for emergencies.

“Students often feel pressured to go to class when ill because they don’t trust other students’ note taking ability,” said Christina Hill, a senior biomedical science major. “I think that this Web site would be very useful, especially this semester. There have been a lot of cases of swine flu. I would rather a classmate have someone record the lecture than come to class.”