Updated note taking policy will not have significant student impact

Updates to a UC Berkeley policy for note taking and distribution will likely not change the note-taking habits of students when the updated policy goes into effect at the beginning of the spring 2012 semester.

The policy’s changes — which were enacted by the Office of the Vice Provost for Teaching, Learning, Academic Planning & Facilities in order to keep up with students’ use of technology in the classroom — update stipulations on the ways students can share notes outside of class but will not have a significant impact on students, according to Assistant Vice Provost Cynthia Schrager.

The increased use of social media and other technology in classes prompted the office to enact a policy revision, Schrager said in an email.

“The use of campus-supported educational technologies, such as coursecasting and bSpace, has transformed the way students study, learn and access course materials,” she said in the email. “Students also make use of a host of other technologies, beyond those sponsored by the campus, from social networking sites to smart pens, which have further implications for how course content may be recorded and shared, even without the knowledge of the instructor.”

The changed policy – which was announced Monday by Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost George Breslauer in a campuswide email — continues to ensure the right of students to share material for the purpose of studying individually and in groups.  However, the policy also states that a student may not share notes outside of class purposes in order to protect the intellectual property of the instructor.

The revised policy also updated a stipulation that any person or organization other than ASUC Lecture Notes is prohibited from selling class notes for commercial profit. The stipulation previously referenced an outdated lecture notes service.

Dawn Trecker, interim marketing communications lecture notes manager for ASUC Lecture Notes, said she was not aware of any competing group that has also attempted to sell lecture notes to students.

“(The announcement) really hasn’t changed anything,” she said. “I think we will see what will happen from this next semester.”

UC Berkeley senior Sean Larson said he doubts the updated policy will have an effect on how students prepare for exams and finals.

“I have never traded notes for direct money and I don’t know anyone who has,” he said.  “If I’ve ever given notes and gotten something in return, it’s just been a friend doing me a favor — not a monetary exchange. I don’t think this policy is very relevant to most students.”