Lessons learned from rewriting class notes

I always take notes when I am doing tutorials. I usually have a text editor open and I’ll switch between the video and the text editor to write interesting things down for later. That is good, but after you do one or two classes you start to end up with a lot of similar text files, and that defeats the point of keeping notes(since it is difficult to actually find the info again.)

The important part of my learning process is actually going back in and rewriting the notes into one main document. This will probably end up as a massive text file with everything I know about python in it, but I’m ok with that. The process of rewriting (not copying – as tempting as that is) helps to cement the concepts into my head, and brings a critical eye to check if I really wrote everything down right. It also gives a great chance to dig into the official docs if I have any questions.

This process is similar to the mind mapping one that Alex Krupp advocated for. I want to fit into that framework, but I get stuck in the non-portability of the mind map files, picking a mapping software, and a host of other snags. Text files are simple, portable, and could even be publicly hosted ‘in case of coding-emergency’ or easily accessed on a phone / tablet.

One ancillary to this is that I have found when I am doing udacity quizzes I really should be commenting and saving my quiz programs. It is often just a single function in a bigger program but still it helps to show syntax and serves as a good reminder of how to set up more complicated things. Commenting (or over-commenting) helps to ‘make it mine’  and explain things to my future self in terms I understand.

Tell me what you think.

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