Skip to content

How do I stay engaged in class?

icon cell phone with microphone on screen

Record lecture

If allowed, record your lectures. Write timestamps (h:min:sec) in your notes to indicate things you want to go back to. You can listen and process more in class if you aren’t worrying about writing everything down.

icon Powerpoint slide

If a professor is writing a problem on the board or speaking about a visual in a Powerpoint slide, it’s hard to note keywords or write down the problem AND pay attention to the explanations. If you record your lectures, you can do this when you process your notes after class.


icon white exclamation point within black eight-pointed starCreate memory triggers

Use your margin (or if you are typing notes, a different font color) to keep a “running commentary” of things that are important or noteworthy.  Indicate places where you felt lost, got distracted, or maybe zoned out. This space creates good memory triggers!


icon face with thumb and forefinger on chinBe a thinker

Give yourself the time to capture questions, thoughts, comments, or feelings that are useful to speak about with your instructor(s) after class or during office hours. It’s an important part of becoming more of a “thinker” and not solely a “recorder”. Take a timestamp or compare notes with peers to process what you missed in these moments.


icon lightbulb with checkmark in bulb

Being engaged means being prepared, developing a metacognitive note-taking strategy and adapting the way you process your notes to include additional resources (classmates, office hours, etc.)


    Focus on Faculty
  • Consider recording your classes (for tips on creating videos, check out this page on Duke’s Flexible Teaching resource) so students can return later and be more engaged in the moment.
  • If you plan to use slides, share them with your students before class.
  • Add in occasional breaks for students to compare notes.