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Students' note taking habits and engagement with learning

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Thursday, June 25, 2020
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

Lecturing is the most common way of teaching in higher education and in mathematics this often takes the form of the lecturer writing on the board while the students take notes (Chalk and Talk, Artemeva and Fox, 2011). Indeed taking ‘good’ lecture notes is one of the most useful skills a student can have when starting a university degree. Recently there have been some small changes in the teaching of mathematics at university and some lecturers are starting to use guided notes for their lectures.

Recent research has investigated the content of the lecture notes students take during mathematics lectures both in traditional lectures (e.g. Lew et al., 2016) and when using guided notes (Iannone and Miller, 2019; Cardetti et al., 2018). Early findings show that when students use guided notes, they tend to write more informal comments than when they take notes in traditional chalk and talk classes. This project aims to investigate the nature and frequency of the informal comments that students take on guided notes, together with the link between engagement, attainment and the nature of the comments written in the notes.

Some questions which may be useful to think about are: how does what appear in the students’ lecture notes compare with what the lecturer said in class? How do students act (if at all) on the notes taken in class once class is over? What role do the notes have (if any) in revising for final exams?

How to apply

All applications are made online, please select the school/department name under the programme name section and include the quote reference number.

Entry Requirements

Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in mathematics or mathematics education.

Funding Notes

This is an open call for candidates who are sponsored or who have their own funding. If you do not have funding, you may still apply, however Institutional funding is not guaranteed. Outstanding candidates (UK/EU/International) without funding will be considered for funding opportunities which may become available in the School.

UK/EU Fee band: Research Band 1 Classroom Based (£4,327)
International Fee band: Research Band 1 Classroom Based (£16,900)


Artemeva, N., & Fox, J. (2011). The writing’s on the board: The global and the local in teaching undergraduate mathematics through chalk talk. Written Communication, 28(4), 345–379.

Cardetti, F., Khamsemanan, N., & Orgnero, M. C. (2010). Insights regarding the usefulness of partial notes in mathematics courses. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 80–92.

Iannone, P. and Miller, D. (2019) Guided notes for university mathematics and their impact on students’ note taking behaviour. Educational Studies in Mathematics. 3, 387–404.

Lew, K., Fukawa-Connelly, T. P., Mejia-Ramos, J. P., & Weber, K. (2016). Lectures in advanced mathematics: Why students might not understand what the mathematics professor is trying to convey. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 47(2), 162–198.

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