Ruben Cardenas

Photo Credit: Lydia Thron | Daily Texan Staff

Although use of computers for note-taking purposes at the University is up to each professor’s discretion, research shows that students who take handwritten notes typically perform better than those who use a computer.

According to a study, which the Chronicle of Higher Education released last week, out of 95 students who responded, 86 percent of them said they paid the same or more attention in class without using a laptop. 

Management Information Systems professor Clint Tuttle said test results in his Business System Development class showed that students fared better on exams when they wrote their reference sheets by hand as opposed to digitally making and printing them.

“I let them bring in a resource sheet … but they have to write it,” Tuttle said. “One semester, I allowed people to copy-paste from my notes and stuff like that, and a bunch of people brought digital sheets. [Students] did a little worse because they didn’t force themselves to write it all out.”

At the beginning of each semester, Tuttle used to employ a no-technology policy, only allowing students to use laptops after the first exam. 

“By not giving them the crutch of the laptop, like, they had to work a little harder to focus,” Tuttle said. “Once they did it … they just stuck with it.”

Note-taking style depends on individual students, said Ruben Cardenas, government and communication studies junior. He said using printed versions of the professors’ PowerPoint slides and writing alongside each slide is his method for both note-taking and studying.

“That’s how I learned how to study — just writing out my notes because it reinforces what I’m learning and I’m seeing it again in my mind,” Cardenas said. “I get better grades doing that, but to someone else, it may be different.”

Journalism professor Robert Jensen said using technology for notes can be useful in lab-based classes.

“The laptop and the smartphone is a tool we use in journalism, so they’re incorporated much more easily [in class],” Jensen said.

Jensen also said using laptops in lectures may distract other students.

“Using a laptop in the classroom is not only frequently undermining [one] particular student’s ability to focus, but it also undermines other students,” Jensen said. “It’s an effect on the atmosphere of the class, [which is] a collective experience.”

Editor’s Note: The college-specific representatives were judged based on their responses to the Daily Texan Candidate Questionnaire. The response rate for each college is included below. We have not endorsed contests in which the candidates were uncontested.


Architecture —  Uncontested


Business — 3 spots, 100 percent responded

Business sophomore Sapan Patel demonstrated an impressive and in-depth understanding of the issues affecting campus, including the University’s Shared Services plan. His interest in serving on the Legislative Affairs committee demonstrates that he knows his own strengths and is interested in doing the best by the assembly. Strongly recommended.

Business honors freshman John Falke has experience both in UBC and internal Senate, indicating that he can serve as an effective bridge between the two organizations. His legislative ideas are not terribly exciting, but his resume is impressive and indicative of his ability to do the job.

Business sophomore Jackson Clifford is attuned to the needs of the business school and has innovative ideas for involving minority students in Student Government, including the creation of an external position in black student groups. His answers demonstrated a clear grasp of SG’s jurisdiction and mentioned concerns about late-night dining options and parking availability, both of which have appeal beyond the business school.


Communication — 2 spots, 66 percent responded

Public relations freshman Ruben Cardenas demonstrated an understanding of Student Government’s jurisdiction and mentioned several pressing student issues, including pedestrian safety, stealth dorms and the need for a longer Thanksgiving break.


Education — Uncontested 


Engineering — 3 spots, 50 percent responded

Architectural engineering senior Jamie Nalley has been involved in more than four engineering student organizations, making him a strong representative of his college. His answers were well-reasoned, eloquent and specific. Issues he is interested in pursuing include Campus Climate and the Urban Rail. Strongly recommended.


Fine arts — Uncontested 

Geoscience — 1 spot, 50 percent responded

Geological sciences senior Jessica Sherman was well spoken and seemed to understand the issues affecting her college.


Liberal Arts — 4 spots, 66 percent responded 

Government junior Tanner Long has the experience with on-campus organizations, including Hook the Vote and University Democrats, to serve as a student leader. His idea for a “civics week” on campus, which would highlight civic engagement, was particularly engaging.


Natural Science — 5 spots, 50 percent responded

Biology junior Anish Patel is involved in several Natural Science student groups, including Alpha Epsilon Delta Pre-Health Honor Society and SURGE (Science Undergraduate Research Group). His answers were well-phrased and demonstrated an understanding of and an interest in Student Government. 


Social Work — Uncontested


School of Undergraduate Studies — 1 spot, 50 percent responded

Undeclared sophomore Sachin Chandiramani, the only candidate for this position to respond to the Texan, understands that the primary goal of UGS students is to transfer into another college and will work to ease that transition.


Co-op Board of Directors — 2 spots, 50 percent responded

Accounting senior Alex Bryan shows an impressive understanding of the problems facing the Co-op today and hopes to increase funding for student organizations from its current allocation of just $20,000. He brings key experience to the position, having served as the scholarship chair of the Inter-Fraternity Council.

Business sophomore Garrett Neville wants to make the most of the UT relationship with the Co-op by looking for ways to increase the student rebate program a well as pushing for more affordable course materials.


University Unions — 2 spots, 33 percent responded

Communication studies junior Vicky Nguyen, although the only University Union candidate to respond to the Texan, is interested in better utilizing the union spaces as well making it an appealing place for student to spend their study time.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly used feminine pronouns to refer to Jamie Nalley. Nalley is actually a male.