I am completing a year of postgraduate study in CS next semester. I am finishing a law degree this year, and I will use this to briefly explain what I mean when I refer to the 'structure' of University notes.
My preferred structure for authoring law notes:
- Two columns
- 0.5cm margins (top, right, bottom, middle, left)
- Body text (10pt, regular), 3 levels of headings (14/12/10pt, bold), 3 levels of bulleted lists
- Color A background for cases
- Color B background for legislation
I find that it's crucial to have a good structure from the outset. My key advice to a law student would be to ensure styles allows cases and legislation to be easily identified from supporting text, and not to include too much detail regarding the facts of cases. More than 3 levels of headings is too deep. More than 3 levels of a bulleted list is too deep.
In terms of CS, I am interested in similar advice; for example, any strategies that have been successfully employed regarding structure, and general advice regarding note taking. Has latex proved better than Word? Code would presumably need to be stylistically differentiated, and use a monospaced font - perhaps code could be written in TextMate so that it could be copied to retain syntax highlighting? (Are notes even that useful in a CS degree? I am tempted to simply use a textbook. They are crucial in law.)
I understand that different people may employ varying techniques and that people will have personal preferences, however I am interested in what these different techniques are.
Thank you for the responses so far. To clarify, I am not suggesting that the approach should be comparable to that I employ for law. I could have been clearer.
The consensus so far seems to be - just learn it. Structure of notes/notes themselves are not generally relevant. This is what I was alluding to when I said I was just tempted to use a textbook. Re the comment that said textbooks are generally useless - I strongly disagree. Sure, perhaps the recommended textbook is useless. But if I'm going to learn a programming language, I will (1) identify what I believe to be the best textbook, and (2) read it. I was unsure if the combination of theory with code meant that lecture notes may be a more efficient way to study for an exam. I imagine that would depend on the subject. A subject specifically on a programming language, reading a textbook and coding would be my preferred approach. But I was unsure if, given a subject containing substantive theory that may not be covered in a single textbook, people may have preferences regarding note taking and structure.