Notes For Sale

Local store makes a business from students in need of test-time help

By Rebecca Sweeney

Bethaney Martin had second thoughts when Kentucky Class Notes hired her to take notes in UK’s PSY 215 class, Experimental Psychology, to sell to other students.

“I was down for it because I needed the money,” said Martin, a cognitive science sophomore, “but something told me it wasn’t really right to make money off of slackers and to perpetuate laziness.”

After thinking about it, Martin decided not to work as a note-taker.

Kentucky Class Notes sells lecture notes and materials to students who missed class, who are not confident in their note-taking or who want to compare notes with another student, said Brennan Waters, creator of the business.

“We firmly believe that being able to listen and fully comprehend a professor’s lecture, instead of scrambling to write every last word down, will help improve a student’s comprehension of the material,” said Waters, who worked for a similar company while in school at Auburn University.

Packets of notes are sold at the company’s store on High Street and Woodland Avenue on a per-test basis. Packets cost between $13 and $15 per test, depending on the number of tests in a particular class throughout the semester, Waters said.

Throughout the semester, Kentucky Class Notes hires note-takers based on their GPA, classes they’re enrolled in and their year in school. Note-takers typically get a base fee and a percentage of sales per test, but pay varies depending on the class, Waters said.

“We monitor each test packet to ensure that the quality of the packet is the highest possible,” Waters said. “If we discover our notes are lacking in any way, we will replace our note taker, if necessary, to fix the problem.”

Kentucky Class Notes decides which classes to hire note-takers for by taking student suggestions on the company’s Web site ( Class size and the number of sections are also deciding factors, Waters said. Available classes are listed on the Web site.

Four to five days before an exam, the business makes the notes for the class available for students to buy and study from.

Jason Hans, who teaches FAM 252, Introduction to Family Science, was not aware that his course’s notes were available through Kentucky Class Notes and said he is curious who the note-taker in his class is.

“Yesterday I had a student ask for permission to take digital pictures of my PowerPoint slides due to her poor note-taking skills,” Hans said. “Now I wonder if she might be doing the notes for this company.”

Hans said he does not think the sale of his course notes will have an effect on attendance in his classes because students earn daily participation points, which add up to at least the value of an exam during a semester.

“I’m guessing that the type of students who may find this service appealing are not the brightest students,” Hans said, “and they are likely to spend their money and still do poorly on the exam.”

Political science professor Christopher Rice said while he sees nothing wrong with the store owner trying to make money, he would prefer for students to get the same benefits the note-taking service offers by attending class and sharing their notes with other students.

“I don’t like the idea of this company making money off of my class notes,” Rice said. “I’d rather students just share notes with each other.”

“By cooperating within the rules, students could get the same benefits and save some money,” he said.

Rice’s notes from a PS 101 course, American Government, he taught in a previous semester are available at the store, according to the Web site. But Rice often changes things up to keep his classes fresh, he said, and notes from one semester might not cover the same information as notes from the next.

Philosophy professor Robert Sandmeyer said he puts PowerPoint notes online before his lectures that students can print and write on during class. Notes for his PHI 120 class, Introductory Logic, from this semester and past semesters, are available at Kentucky Class Notes.

Using notes from the company ultimately encourages students not to attend class, Sandmeyer said.

On its Web site, Kentucky Class Notes has a disclaimer and study tips that encourage students to attend and participate in class.

“Our notes, although they can help in situations of missing class, are not intended to replace regular attendance,” the disclaimer reads. “Our notes, when used correctly and in association with individual participation, can increase your test scores.”

Kentucky Class Notes is still hiring for the spring 2008 semester and has an online application on its Web site. Call Kentucky Class Notes at (859) 252-NOTE for more information.

Staff writer Juliann Vachon

contributed to this report.