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After leaving school I set myself the goal of completely digitalizing my note-system. Because of this I now scan all hand-written notes and make digital notes while in lectures and keep them nicely ordered on my laptop.

After a couple of days I realized, I could as well share these notes with my co-students having the same courses, which is what I am doing right now.

I've now (sometimes) observed an attitude among them along the lines of "I don't need to go the lectures, X will take notes anyways and I understand them better than the actual lecture". This also resulted in most of them taking (nearly) no notes on their own at all, however I'm not 100% certain they would have without my notes.

So I'm no longer sure this is the right thing to do, so I wanted to ask here:

Should I share my course notes with my co-students having the same courses?

A few notes on what they have access to: They have basically everything (e.g. notes on the lecture, public lecture slides, lab notes, assignment solutions, assignment corrections) where I enforce the policy of not sharing assignment solutions before the end of the admission period.
The notes in question are current, e.g. they are not ahead of the courses and we all have the courses (largely) together. Everything is shared via the university-run OwnCloud service from and the actual process of uploading / sharing is no more than doing one addition conversion and making a bunch of copies.
If it matters: I study computer science in Germany.

1 Answer 1

You have just discovered some of the seemingly irrational ways in which students sabotage themselves and behave contrary to their own interests, and how they sometimes do this precisely in response to an attempt to help them by offering them useful resources.

Professors constantly struggle with this issue: do I offer my students lecture notes? A practice exam? Homework solutions? A detailed outline of the topics I covered in each lecture with precise references to the textbook? Etc. What one observes is that sometimes by the very act of offering such resources you paradoxically hurt the students by reducing their incentive to come to class or take other action that is important for their educational success.

What makes these decisions especially tricky is that almost always, offering these resources does in fact help many students while at he same time hurting others who have the inclination to respond in this counterintuitive and self-defeating way. So it is a real dilemma about whether you insist on helping the "deserving" students who are not tempted to slack off because you made their lives a bit easier, or take a more "social engineering" approach that tries to optimize the success of the class as a whole without getting drawn into moralistic judgments about which students' needs are more deserving of being addressed.

To summarize, I don't have a good answer to your question. All I can say is that you need to think what goal exactly you are trying to achieve by sharing your notes, and then consider (keeping in mind my analysis above) whether the sharing actually helps or hinders that goal.