Under the Button is part of a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.

Pennovation at Work? Student Saves Valuable Time and Energy By Photographing Lecture Slides Instead of Taking Notes

Credit: Seth Fein

It was in the middle of his sociology lecture that Joseph Cohen had a revelation.

“I was sitting there, listening intently, taking comprehensive notes—like a dweeb,” Cohen recounted. “And I thought, ’This is an elite institution. Why are we still learning like it’s the 19th century?’”

So, in an excited burst of creativity and laziness, Cohen whipped out his iPhone and took a sideways picture of the current lecture slide. “Boom. Just took half a page of notes in a millisecond. And they’re in the most convenient place: my camera roll.”

Scattered between screenshots of memes, Cohen’s notes are almost all blurry, half sideways, and taken from 100 feet away. And, he has no easy way to distinguish which pictures are from which lecture or which class. But that’s just the way he likes it.

“Why study for one class when you can study for all of them at once?” he argued, declining to comment on how often he actually looks at the pictures after taking them.

While researching this story, the sociology professor emailed us to mention that lecture slides are posted online, and that taking notes by hand has been shown to boost learning capacity. Cohen took a screenshot of this email.