Firstly, I’d like to stress on the importance of attending lectures (especially, to my fellow international peers). I know that some of my peers don’t attend quite as many lectures as I do and still get a better grade than me (he-he, not hating!) so this may not apply to everyone.
I however, learn better when I listen to the content being spoken. To further the auditory benefits of lectures, I also tend to record my lectures. This has proven to be very useful for me as I can pause the lectures, rewind them in case I missed something and skip certain bits if I am comfortable and confident with the information. Recording lectures helps me understand the content without any distractions such as clicking pens, coughing, giggles and talking. I also tend to have lecture slides open on my laptop as I’m listening to the lectures. This helps me in a visual sense as my lecture slideshows tend to have vivid images.
The only disadvantage would be while explaining complicated images; in my case, some graphs. Obviously graphs are on the slide but as the lecturer explains it’s hard to follow and can be quite misleading and confusing. This problem can only be rectified by actually attending lectures to acquire a better understanding. The method of recording allows me to focus more on my lecture rather than writing down all the words being said.
Saying that, I find taking notes helpful as I digest facts and information better when I read my own hand writing. I am a little peculiar in the sense where I prefer to use blue ink instead of black ink. For some reason, I tend to retain more information when I use blue ink rather than black ink, but hey that’s just me. Maybe you too can find something weird and crazy that will help you.
The recording that I do is usually via my phone and one thing I bear in mind is to put it on silent mode because listening to phone noises and vibrations with your headphones can be horrendous. Some of my course mates use a recorder and tend to place them on the lecturers desk (I avoid that in the fear that I may forget my phone).
An important thing I do prior to recording is check with my lecturer has no objections.
Recording and writing together helps me organise my notes so when the time comes to revise, I have everything written in a concise manner. Attending lectures has also allowed me to make new friends who I tend to study and revise with before exams and also tend to do group related course work with them, and without them I wouldn’t have been able to get through my University years.