Digital / Multimedia Notetaking

From E-Learning Faculty Modules


Contents

Module Summary

Digital / multimedia notetaking refers to a fairly new capability of recording text, still imagery, audio, and video in both in-world and online contexts…using software, mobile applications, mobile devices, and other technology tools. This module explores some aspects of digital / multimedia notetaking: some of the implications of these capabilities, some common applications, how such notes may be transcoded for broader usability, and how to handle such notes for long-term use.

Takeaways

Learners will...

  • explore digital / multimedia notetaking
  • consider some of the implications of the multimodality capabilities of digital notetaking
  • list some common notetaking applications for screenshots, image capture, audio recording, and video recording
  • consider how to transcode digital notes for broader usability (as well as some common transcoding paths)
  • review how to name and handle digital notes for long-term usage

Module Pretest

1. What is digital or multimedia notetaking? Why is digital / multimedia notetaking multi-modal?

2. What are the implications of the multimodality capabilities of digital notetaking? What can be done with these enhanced capabilities (in terms of accessibility, in terms of consumption, in terms of accuracy, in terms of annotation, in terms of storage and findability, and others)?

3. What are some common notetaking apps for screenshots? Image capture? Audio recording? Video recording? (On various platforms? On mobile devices?)

4. How can digital notes be transcoded for broader usability? What are some common paths of transcoding?

5. How may digital (multimedia) notes be handled for long-term use? What are informative file names?


Main Contents

1. What is digital or multimedia notetaking? Why is digital / multimedia notetaking multi-modal?

In a traditional context, notetaking involves paper and a writing instrument…or a laptop…and the notetaker uses words and doodles to capture the ideas being conveyed by the main presenter(s) / speaker(s). That approach was limited in accuracy because the resulting notes would come through the human notetaker, with the limits of attention and focus…and the limits to the speed of writing, drawing, and typing / word-processing. Also, what is captured often has to be observed and seen as relevant by the notetaker. Distractions, fatigue, lack of sufficient sleep, lack of sufficient calories…may all affect the quality of the notetaking.

“Digital” or “multimedia” notetaking involves technological means to record an event with much higher fidelity…and more senses than 2D writing and visuals. (3D includes the capture of images on three axes, and the 4D involves changes over time, such as the enablement of capturing video and simulation movements.)

“Digital” notetaking refers to the many tools that enable the capture of text, still imagery, audio files, video files, and some multimedia, such as from live contexts as well as online ones. (These modalities help explain why digital notetaking is multi-modal.) “Notetaking” refers to the recording of others’ ideas as well as one’s own. (It is possible to annotate over a recording after the capture; in some cases, the annotation may occur live in real time…such as annotating over a video capture using a screen capture tool…and using a stylus or drawing feature of the tool or another tool—as long as the annotations are seeable on the screen.)


2. What are the implications of the multimodality capabilities of digital notetaking? What can be done with these enhanced capabilities (in terms of accessibility, in terms of consumption, in terms of accuracy, in terms of annotation, in terms of storage and findability, and others)?


Besides the higher fidelity of auto-note-taking along a number of communications channels and modalities, the multi-dimensional methods for capturing digital “notes” can enrich the data capture. These multimodal enablements are broad:

Accessibility: Digital contents may be made more accessible to a wider range of learners. For example, videos and audio files may be auto-scripted from voice-to-text and so transcoded. Images may be annotated with alternative text (alt text). The contents may be made more accessible for a wider range of people with differing levels of perceptual and symbolic processing capabilities.

Consumption: Multimodal notes and recordings are highly accessible and portable (able to be shared and movable to other contexts for usage). They can be replayed and re-experienced by the person conducting the recording. Or the event may have been auto-recorded, and people may experience the event in total with full fidelity and accuracy to the original, in other contexts.

Accuracy: Recorded contents, if handled correctly and protected against tampering, can be high-fidelity.

Annotation : Digital captures in their various forms may be augmented with annotations. In other words, they may be value-added.

Storage and findability: In terms of storage and findability, such files may be named in informative ways, and based on their contents, they can be searched and found by text…and sometimes by visual characteristics (depending on how they are stored). High-resolution videos and high-resolution imagery do take up more space than other file types, but in general, many of these are store-able and accessible over time.


3. What are some common notetaking apps for screenshots? Image capture? Audio recording? Video recording? (On various platforms? On mobile devices?)

The inclusion of the named applications here are not an indicator of endorsement although the author has used many of these products and has had very positive experiences with these. The challenge here is that the list is not comprehensive, and inclusion or lack of inclusion should not be read-into.

Note-taking Apps:

There are a number of free note-taking apps for iPad:

  • Evernote
  • Microsoft OneNote
  • Paper by Fifty Three

For Windows 10, there are a number of free note-taking apps:

  • Notepad
  • Sticky Notes 8
  • Scrble

For Mac, there are free notetaking apps:

  • EverNote
  • OneNote
  • Dropbox Paper

Screenshots: Screenshots are still images captured from a computer monitor (or several monitors). Anything viewable on a computer screen may be captured as a “still,” including a frame in a video.

The following tools here are free or have a free version:

  • Gadwin (Windows)
  • Snipping Tool (Windows, built-in)
  • Jing (Windows / Mac), by TechSmith
  • Skitch (Mac), by Evernote

The following are commercial tools:

  • Snagit (Windows), by TechSmith

Drawing and diagramming : Another form of notetaking involves drawing. There can be freeform drawing using a pen and stylus and software…or it can be more diagrammatic.

The following is a commercial tool:

  • Visio, by Microsoft

Whiteboards:

Online whiteboards enable the sharing of visuals, manual drawing, annotations and markups, and so on.

Still Cameras:

There are a range of digital cameras for the capturing of still images.

Camcorders Cameras:

There are a range of camcorders for the capturing of digital video.

Scanners:

Scanners enable the capturing of both 2D and 3D objects. Some are flatbed scanners, and other high-end commercial ones are portable and movable.

Webcam:

Webcams are small devices attached to personal computers to capture speakers or a physical space or other locales near the computer.

Portable cameras:

There are sporty portable cameras worn by the photographers to capture their experienced views of the world. (Some of these may be used with drones with light payloads.)

Audio Recording / Capture:

The following is a free software for digital audio recording:

  • Audacity

Screen Recording / Video-Recording

The following are commercial products:

  • Mediasite
  • Camtasia (by TechSmith)
  • Captivate (by Adobe)


SnippingToolinWindows10.jpg


4. How can digital notes be transcoded for broader usability? What are some common paths of transcoding?

With the advent of artificial intelligence and machine learning, it is now possible to take sound signals of human speech and to transcode these into words…in a number of languages…and with some fairly-impressive level of accuracy. Google’s YouTube enables this for video files, for example. So video can be transcoded into text. So audio can be transcoded into text.

Video files may be transcoded into audio files (like .mp4 to .mp3).

Audio files may be augmented with images and turned into video files.

Slideshows may be recorded with sound and turned into video files (like .pptx to .mp4).


5. How may digital (multimedia) notes be handled for long-term use? What are informative file names?

Digital files should be versioned in the optimal way for “digital preservation.” This means that the contents should be in universal formatting…and should generally not require proprietary software (where possible).

Files should be named correctly in an informational way. There should be sufficient metadata labeling where contents have come from and the context in which the information was captured.

Digitally captured notes should be captured and maintained in a legal way (without contravening privacy rights or intellectual property rights). Nothing should be swiped from behind paywalls…

Examples

There are various types of available digital / multimedia notes available online. These may be from various live-recorded conferences, interviews, and other contexts.


How To

The “how to” depends on how the various tools are designed. Most tools include directions for their use.


Possible Pitfalls

Some possible pitfalls of having devices to help record all sorts of multimodal notes may be problematic in a few ways.

One is that everything may be recorded, enough content that is not relevant and will not be referred to again.

Another limit is that people may improve their engagement with contents if they are taking notes manually instead of using technology to do the recording. In other words, human notes are inherently somewhat annotated and framed and linked to a perspective, and that extra layer of information collection (while subjective) may be missing…and the linked information may be gone.


Module Post-Test

1. What is digital or multimedia notetaking? Why is digital / multimedia notetaking multi-modal?

2. What are the implications of the multimodality capabilities of digital notetaking? What can be done with these enhanced capabilities (in terms of accessibility, in terms of consumption, in terms of accuracy, in terms of annotation, in terms of storage and findability, and others)?

3. What are some common notetaking apps for screenshots? Image capture? Audio recording? Video recording? (On various platforms? On mobile devices?)

4. How can digital notes be transcoded for broader usability? What are some common paths of transcoding?

5. How may digital (multimedia) notes be handled for long-term use? What are informative file names?


References

Extra Resources