Here is my final update for the A1 workshop. As mentioned in my previous bogpost, I will talked about my experience in using the Cornell Method in an academic context which was different with what I have done prior to this. I applied the Cornell Method as I attended the same lectures as he students were attending, to really ‘put myself in their shoes’ and challenge myself to see if I can absorb and digest the information taught to them by my colleague. What I have been doing for my entire academic journey to date has been just writing bits and pieces of information on the lecture notes given and process them into linear notes. This method has been serving me well and I thought it is a good time to take a step out of my comfort zone and try something different for I may be surprised at how a new method may prove to be effective. As the saying goes ‘If you never try, you will never know’, it was worth a shot to see how things goes and I might employ the Cornell Method to make my notes in the new academic year if all goes well. Below is a description on how I went about writing in each of the different sections in the Cornell Method:
As I have said before, this is the simplest part of the entire process and it only involves writing down key information which I picked out from the lecture. This includes key phrases, ideas and concepts that highlight the guise of the topic in question. This is very much similar to what I have been always doing by writing, without much organisation, notes down on my lecture notes.
I think this is a very crucial step of the Cornell Method, in which it really encourages users to put the information in their own words. Sometimes I may be able topick out what the lecturer said and regurgitate them in examinations but with no firm understanding of the concepts underlying these ideas. However, if I were to be constantly condensing and rephrasing what I hear from lectures, it really forces me to have a good deep think about the concepts so that what I write down on my own notes is accurate. Going through such a summarisng and thinking process really helps me to be able to retain the information because it was not a ‘touch-and-go’ approach coupled with rigid memorising as examinations approach. In Economics, where causal relationships are very common in theories, I think the use of arrows really helps with the process. For example, this is a typical way I would condensed the content and put it in the cue column:
I was noting down the basic mechanism of an expansionary monetary policy.
Money Supply ↑ à Interest Rate ↑à interest sensitive consumption & investment ↑à Aggregate Demand curve shifts rightwards and output ↑ for every price level.
This puts a long paragraph of words into a simple two-liner which ensures that the essence of the concept remains intact.
With the Reduce step in place, it made the Recite step a breeze. Since I have already digested the concepts in the Reduce step and wrote them out in my own words, it really did not take much effort for me to be able to regurgitate the ideas from the lectures, and this time with very good understanding as well.
What I did for this step is that I would think about the implications and relevanceof the concepts that were taught in the lecture to the topic as whole. In other words, it was about how I connect this small pieces of puzzle given to me in this lecture and how I seeing them coming together with the other pieces to form the big picture. I would try to note down how the previous lecture connects with the current lecture to deepen my understanding of the entire topic. In addition, I think that mindmaps fit in perfectly in facilitating the Reflect step as it is very helpful in connecting ideas and allows one to trace back to the concepts taught previously. I would pen these down in the Summary Column along with some questions and expectations of what content I think would be delivered in the next lecture. This would also remind me to raise any misconceptions and gaps in understanding with the lecturer when the opportunity arises.
I think this particular step is best left to the night before the next lecture of the subject since it refreshes your mind as to what was taught in the previous lecture. This ensures that you are on the right thinking track and helps ease you into a lecture since you would have an expectation what would be taught in the lecture.
It has been a pleasant experience attempting the Cornell Method and I think it is worth a shot to try this out in the new academic year and see if it would increase the efficiency and effectiveness of my note-taking and revision.
As I conclude my blogposts for this workshop, I think I have learnt and experience a great deal of new approaches to note-making, something which I did not really make an effort to do as I was comfortable with what I have been doing. I thank you for the very helpful comments that you have been giving me and it really set me thinking of what I could possibly do to enhance this experience.
I look forward to attending my final workshop and completing the Warwick Skills Portfolio Award.