Verbal to Visual Classroom, forum posts so far

March 10th :

I’m logging in while waiting for my Skype meeting to begin. ;)

I am a university professor looking to revitalize my course notes and course presentations. I have had some success incorporating sketchnotes and similar visual components in the last few years, but I want to take it to the next level, develop a system possibly, at the very least a workflow that would mitigate the length of time it take to prepare such notes. I want the developpe a better technique as well, in terms if layout especially.

See you all in here and maybe during the webinar,

— Tournevis

March 10th :

I don’t know what Doug would say, but I understand context as both the place and the circumstances in which the note taking will take place. For me, this means in the classroom (both the physical classroom and the online classroom) where the class notes/presentations I make allow my students to better grasp, understand, learn and (most importantly) feel engaged by the material I am teaching. My context, therefore, is the transmission of information from my brain to the students.

March 13th :

I have tried so many things over the last few years, but I have found what I hate using, what I dislike to use, and what I like in what I use.

I prefer to use fountain pens to write, but it’s difficult to sketchnote with those, obviously. What I like about fountain pens is the fact that they are not hard on the hands. I suffer from a chronic condition that causes a lot of pain in the extremities and fountain pens don’t make things worse. But for sketchnoting, I found that using Sharpie Pens are a good compromise. They are not so hard on the hands because I don’t have to press hard to make a mark on paper. I have a large variety of colour. I use black as the base, the ancor, and colours from emphasis and symbols. For shading, if I’m doing that kind of sketchnote, I use Crayola PipSkeaks, because they are cheap, easy to find, the colour does not bleed through and my son can steal them without me crying over a 20$ marker. As such, the writing implements I use in sketchnoting are inexpensive.

The paper I use is expensive however. This comes out of using fountain pens for so many years. Fountain pens need a particular quality of paper and it means price is usually high and availability is hard. Over the years I have used a large variety of notebooks, from Europe and Japan, some VERY expensive, but I have stopped using almost all of them. I have settled in the moderately priced Moleskine sketchbooks, which are not the cheapest, but the paper is stiff, there is almost never any bleed through. I would prefer it to be white rather than cream, but I can fix that on the computer after scanning.

I am currently trying a new product, the SketchyNotebook, which has very white paper, but it is somewhat transparent. I normally don’t like that, but the note book comes with a number of PVC templates (lined, grid, projection, etc.) that show through the paper. This is great for me, because I suck at layout. Everything is crooked so help with layout is wonderful. Even if I never buy another SketchyNotebook, I plan to use the template a lot in the future. Maybe using blank notebooks?

Things are evolving.

March 22nd :

I’ve just started doing the exercises for the Text Module, but I do have something to contribute now, which I have found useful in creating visual class notes on my computer.*

I have been using visual classnotes in my teaching at university for a while now. So far, these notes have taken three forms:
a) using the chalk board to direct class reflection (classic teaching method)
b) creating discussion prompts in seminars
c) creating slide presentation for lectures

The latter two are almost always done directly on my computer. I have at times drawn them on paper, then scanned them, but I found that it’s faster and easier to make them on the computer directly. To make them still look like handwritten sketchnotes, I started using Mike Rohde’s sketchnote font, but since I have created fonts with my own handwriting. I have used manyservices, but the service I now prefer is here:

The first seminar discussion prompts I did used Mike Rohde’s font and icons bought on the internet:


I have now been using my own fonts and drawings:

So in both examples above, the writing is done with my handwriting fonts on my computer. The drawings are done by me. I have a large set of icons and basic figures that I have done, scanned and keep as png files on my computer for that very purpose. I do buy a few icons (usually from the Noun Project: but prefer to draw them if I have the time and access to my scanner.


* Yes, using a computer might be considered cheating…

March 22nd :

I use Cam Scanner, when on the road. I digitized the notes I took at a colloquium I attended Thursday-Friday with it. I think it does a good job overall. You can see my notes here:

But that it is not a perfect solution. When I have the time, I scan my notes on my flatbed scanner, an Epson Artisan 800, and I send them to Pixelmator (on a Mac). In it, I use the “Select color” function to select the background cream of the paper, then use the “Fill” function to replace it with white. I can then use the “Reverse selection” and “Fill” functions to change the color of the writing and drawing, or even use more granular functions to change only some of the text or images. You can see examples of my cleaned out notes (and some not cleaned out) here:


Why the hell is #Starbucks using "Boulange" as a new brand?

Uses of my own handwriting fonts

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