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Some websites will provide class notes on common topics or class notes from a particular instructor’s class. Context matters here.
- If instructors assume that you are taking your own notes and studying from them, using outside notes that have been obtained without your instructor’s knowledge could be considered cheating. (If the notes are on common topics, they may also not be particularly helpful.)
- However, some universities are well aware of notetaking services, like Black Lightning at U.C. Berkeley, that have notetakers who produce notes that the service then charges students for. This is controversial because not all students can afford to buy notes, so websites that provide class notes may claim to be “leveling the playing field.”
- If you need help with notetaking, it is better to contact your instructor rather than ask a fellow student for their notes or go on a website that provides notes. Your question may prompt your instructor to provide presentation slides that aid students in taking notes, ask strong students to take notes and post them, or provide instruction on how to best take notes for their class. Taking psychology counseling courses on study skills or using library materials that teach notetaking will be more helpful to you than obtaining someone else’s notes, whether in the old fashion way or from a website.
- If your learning accommodations provide for a notetaker, talking to your instructor is particularly important.