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Studying Sharing class notes

  1. Jul 23, 2017 #1
    I have developed a pet peeve relating to un-reasonable note sharing requests from class mates and I don't know how to handle the problem of saying 'No' or about handling the situation.

    By un-reasonable , it means a friend asking for 5 lectures worth of notes, not 1 or 2 and for no apparent reason at all other than wanting my notes or for not attending the lectures because they choose to.

    I feel like it is really unfair to me as I have put the effort to take relatively good notes and at the same time I dislike freeloaders. Also, I feel like I am being taken advantage of...

    What would you do in my place if a friend asked you for such notes, or a classmate? I don't want to become the bad guy, but at the same time it really bothers me to share notes with someone with no reasonable reason at all. I mean i have no problem sharing my notes with some one who mentions a genuine reason for wanting them, like being sick, having to work etc...
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  3. Jul 23, 2017 #2


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    You have to decide who's your friend and what you are willing to put up with and then do that without rancor (or DON'T do it and do THAT without rancor). Personally, I'd be just as annoyed as you and would likely not share the notes with someone so lackadaisical, and be willing to end the friendship if it came to that. The guys I hung out with in college would have been appalled by such lackadaisicalness.
  4. Jul 23, 2017 #3
    I would sell the notes and make extra cash. This cash can be used for beer, pizza, or a new science book!
  5. Jul 23, 2017 #4
    You're not helping them in the long run by spoon feeding them what they were too lazy to acquire. Even if you did it now and said this shouldn't ever happen again, students who are already skipping 5 lectures a semester aren't going to suddenly change, and they'll likely just skip more and ask again.

    Tell whoever it is to go to class.
  6. Jul 24, 2017 #5
    I like the idea of selling copies of your notes. There is no need to give away what took you work to produce.
  7. Jul 24, 2017 #6


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    For me, it depends if they want to make manual copies of your work or if they just want to photocopy them.

    To make manual copies take time and they risk losing your work so for me, it is definitely a 'no'. If they just want to use a copy machine and give me back my work directly, I don't see why I should refuse the request. You don't help them but that's their choice, you shouldn't babysit them.

    I am a professional programmer and I study physics on my free time so I am not in your situation but I love open source software, if the work that I share for free is helpful to others, I am happy, whatever they do with it.
  8. Jul 24, 2017 #7


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    It's reasonable to refuse such a request, but I understand that can be difficult, particularly if those making such requests are your friends, or people you may have to rely on for help in other classes.

    In having this conversation you can point out that you don't feel like you're getting anything out of the deal, and/or that you're being taken advantage of.
  9. Jul 24, 2017 #8

    Vanadium 50

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    I'd be asking my friend, "is this a one-time thing, or are you asking me to take notes for you all the time?"

    My note taking style has been to take notes in class, and then to re-do them out of class, making them neater, filling in blanks, etc. I think about them differently - the "raw notes", sure I'd copy them. But they are scribbly and hard to read, and wouldn't do anyone any good. The cleaned-up version I would consider something very different than class notes, as there is a lot of value added.
  10. Jul 24, 2017 #9
    Kind of off-topic regarding class notes, but still "skipping class" brought back a memory from some 40 years ago. I was a junior and after lunch one day I stopped by the dorm room of some friends, so we could walk to class together. They weren't physics majors, but we shared an elective class, maybe art history. Anyway, when I got to their room they were smoking weed, with the stereo blasting ("Sweet Emotion" by Aerosmith). I said, "I can't believe you guys are getting high before class." They told me they weren't going to class. I was stunned, like I didn't know you could do that. I guess I was naïve -- never skipped a class in my life. I remember this so clearly even now. The realization that some people are a lot less serious about things.
  11. Jul 25, 2017 #10


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    To the people who don't want to share their neat work, what do you gain from that ? (honest and totally not aggressive question :) )

    The extra work you do is for you because you want it and need it to strengthen your understanding of the material. I honestly don't understand why you would have a problem with sharing what you have, provided that you are 100% sure that you will get it back fast and without damage.

    When I create a library or scripts to help me for a particular task and a colleague asks me for it, I will gladly share it with him.
    Maybe the scenario is different and I don't seem to understand the difference?
  12. Jul 25, 2017 #11


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    This was (and probably is) standard practice when I was a student and was organized by the student union. Basically, people with neat handwriting (i.e. not me) could make some extra money by selling their notes via the university bookshop. This was actively encouraged by the lecturers.
    This was a great resource for me and I always bought the notes. I still took notes occasionally but I have terrible handwriting and I've never felt writing something helped me learn better; this also meant that I could focus on understanding what was going on rather than writing during the lectures (the same reason I pretty much never make notes when I go to conferences, talks etc).
  13. Jul 25, 2017 #12
    The old grumpy gray-haired dinosaur in me would take a much harsher approach. You're being mooched by lazy and parasitic people. Tell them "no" in any way that suits you, and let academic Darwinism follow its natural course. Those are people who do not deserve your friendship nor your support.

    Fast-forward 20+ years when you're in the prime of your career. A stranger asks you to do significant work for him at no cost. Would you? I certainly would not. I have been freelancing long enough, putting food on my table and supporting my family, that I wouldn't even say "goodbye" as I hung up the phone.
  14. Jul 25, 2017 #13
    My experience is that even though someone may be assuming they are asking me to do something for free, they seldom say so explicitly. Since I'm a consultant, it is fairly common for me to close a call or email with something like, "I'll be able to get a quote out for that in a couple days." Stuff I'd rather not do always costs more than stuff I'm more interested in or stuff that adds value to my base of experience. Unless it is illegal, dishonest, or dangerous, I try and never say no, I just quote the work high enough that it'll be worth my while if I have to do it.

    This approach keeps me from being mooched too much by lazy and parasitic people. I don't think I've ever been asked for a freebie once I've said I'll provide a quote. I do perform deeply discounted work on occasion, and I do some free work. But these are projects I truly believe in, approved by the co-owners of my consulting business, and usually related to indigent defendants we believe are being mistreated by the criminal justice system (Innocence Project type of work).

    I take a different approach to sharing work I've already done (usually raw data). Often, our data is covered by non-disclosure agreements, and I always discuss data sharing with co-authors. If allowed under agreements, our approach is to ask for some data we are interested in exchange for the data the other party wants from us. "Free data" can be very valuable both to us and to the other party receiving our data.
  15. Jul 25, 2017 #14
    This is exactly the term I was looking for , "mooched". Like mosquitoes just buzzing around me for the sole purpose of obtaining my notes and then leaving. That I do not appreciate or like.

    I don't really like the idea of selling my notes because it doesn't feel authentic or true to myself... (if that makes sense).

    My point of view is that I feel academics are a bit competitive ( Civil Engineering major) and I feel like if you don't put in the effort, it is not fair to the other students including me who do put in the effort to take good notes. Also my opinion coincides with tygerdawg's and Dr. Courtney's post above.
  16. Jul 25, 2017 #15
    Sure, don't do it if you are not comfortable with it. I've mentored other students with different experiences: they got paid to provide copies of their notes to disabled students. Being a fan of capitalism, nothing wrong with a payday as long as it was honest work.
  17. Jul 26, 2017 #16
    For anyone reading this topic. Taking notes for people with disabilities is a great way to expand your job experience, resume, and upgrade your pay. Most universities offer jobs for people to sit in a class and take notes for people with disabilities. You get a free class, you help someone out, and you get payed for it!
  18. Jul 26, 2017 #17


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    Interesting question.

    Keep in mind that the OP was asking about a large amount of notes, not just one or two lectures. The distinction is an important one because we're not talking about someone who missed a class or two because she or he was sick and needs help catching up. It sounds a lot more like a scenario where the person asking for the notes simply didn't bother to take his or her own notes (possibly didn't even attend class - and for no apparent legitimate reason) and is now asking to piggy back on a student who did.

    First, no one likes being taken advantage of, and it sounds like that's what we're talking about here. Some people are just mooches.

    Second, it's different when someone asks you to give something up compared to when you decide on your own to do something. If I feel like I want to help out my peers and "publish" my lecture notes, or at least pass them around, that's one thing. But when someone asks for my work when I hadn't intended to make it available, I might feel that I first need to tidy it up, or spend time making it more presentable. That's time that I hadn't intended on allocating to such tasks.

    The work is also "exposed." As a student you're learning. You might not fully understand a topic and may have a mistake in your notes - sometimes an embarrassing one. I might feel that I need time to digest the material myself before I share it with my peers. Along these lines, I may not want to feel responsible for propagating my own misunderstanding out to my peers. Or what if someone else doesn't understand something and attempts to make a correction on them that's wrong?

    It may not take an insignificant amount of time to copy out 5 lectures worth of notes too. I realize they could be photocopied or pictures could be taken of them with a phone, but even then there's still time when my notes wouldn't be available to me. For some students, even losing an hour of study time can throw them off track.

    Anyway - I'm not against sharing notes. I just support someone's right not to share if they don't want to.
  19. Jul 26, 2017 #18
    If they are really your friends, then of course give them your notes; it costs you nothing. And nobody cares if you put in effort or not or feel it is unfair; again, it costs you nothing to share. Breaking up a friendship over something as trivial as this is quite silly IMO.

    If these are classmates who only care about you because of your notes, then sure ignore them if you like.
  20. Jul 26, 2017 #19


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    Suggestion on sharing class lecture notes:
    Make copies, first - just in case you need them and not have them returned.

    Best situation for notes-sharing: student just needs isolated one or two session days of notes.

    Otherwise, judgement is for the person whose notes were requested.
  21. Jul 26, 2017 #20

    George Jones

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    Like much in this thread, this is subjective.

    When I was student, I ignored my second-year course in statistics. After lectures ended, but before the final exam, a good friend let me borrow and photocopy her notes, which saved me. Decades later, we are still good friends. She came to my wedding, and my wife, daughter, and I visited her at her place when we were in Toronto a couple of weeks ago.
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