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Using Outlines

Using Outlines

Tips for getting the most out of Kevin Patton’s Learning Outlines.

Study Tips & Tools


1. These outlines are not intended to be complete

They are just OUTLINES, silly!  See the items below for hints on how to make them complete.

The outlines tend to be more detailed where there is little back-up information in the textbook and more sketchy in areas where I know that you have resources to fill it in on your own.

2. Use the Learning Outline to take class notes

The most frequent use of the web-based Learning Outline is as a “skeleton outline” for your own note-taking in class.  To do this, use the how to print instructions below and print out your outline.  You may want to move it to your word processor first, so you can add spaces for notetaking.  If you save the file, you can go back after class and type in your notes for later study.  See my note on editing tips below.

3. Use the Learning Outline as a preview of the class

Many students find it saves them time in the long run to review the outline before reading the text and attending class.  This gives you a heads-up on how the information is organized and what to expect.

You will find that if you don’t preview the material, it will seem as if I am going way too fast for you!

4. Use the Learning Outline as a review of the class

You will want to use the outline to make sure that you’ve studied everything that you needed to in order to prepare for a test.  If you’ve added your own notes to the outline, then it will be an even more complete review.

FYI—Don’t forget to do a last minute check of the web-based outline to see if I’ve made any last-minute improvements!  The “Watch this page” button on each Learning Outline (at the bottom left) may come handy for that.

5. Use the Learning Outline as an active study tool

This is an often overlooked, but important, use of the web-based outline.  You can use either your saved version or the current web version to navigate to the links and assignments (for example, Mini Lessons) embedded in many of the Learning Outlines.  These links were placed with a great deal of thought in mind because I believe that they will help you learn the concepts.  Some, especially the animations, are just plain fun besides!

IMPORTANT!  All the information in the Learning Outlines is copyrighted  by Kevin Patton and/or others and it is against the law (not to mention  a violation of every school’s academic honesty policy) to use them unfairly.

“Fair use” is to print them or save them for your own personal use or use in your study group or lab group.

“Unlawful use” is to use anything other than short (cited) quotes in your own papers, presentations, courses you teach, web pages, publications, recordings, or musical scores.  If want to use any of my material outside this course, then simply ask for permission.

Most images are mine or are used with permission.  Some images in the Learning Outlines belong to others; most of these link back to their original sources.  If you feel I am using your material unfairly please notify me.  If you would like to contribute material, especially images or animations, send me a note.

How to print the Learning Outline

Simply print out the page and bring it to class with you

  • Click Print or the printer icon printer icon in the toolbar of your browser.
  • OR click the printer icon among the “share icons” in the Share This button panel (at the left edge, if available).
  • OR click File on your browser, then select Print
  • FYI—I recommend a color printer if you have one, so that the figures and other features will show up the way that they were intended.
  • If you are having trouble with tables or graphics in the outlines running over the edge of the paper, select “Landscape” instead of “Portrait” under “Orientation” in the “Page Setup” box in the File menu on your browser.
    • Another way to fix this problem is to change the margins to a narrower (smaller) width: go to the File menu of your browser and select “Page Setup” and you will see where you can change the margin values to a smaller number.
    • Yet another approach is to use an alternate browser that doesn’t cut off the margin.
      • Try the browsers called Chrome or Firefox, each available as a free download
    • Another fix is to convert the page to Adobe Acrobat format (that is, convert it to a .pdf file)
      • You may instead choose to convert the page to PDF by “printing” and choose “Save as PDF” as your printer
      • Print out the .pdf file
        • Select “shrink oversize pages to paper size” or “fit to page” option
      • If you are using PDF files, you can edit them (add your own notes) by using the free program Adobe Reader
        • In Adobe Reader, use the Tools > Typewriter feature to add your own notes
      • NOTE that converting a page to PDF will usually produce a document that has the same color background as the web page. When you print this out, it will use up a lot of ink/toner and may be somewhat difficult to read.
        • You may be able to set your printer or PDF reader to not print background colors.
        • Using the “print” button in your browser usually avoids this problem

Select the content of the page and move it into a blank page on your word processor or HTML editor

  • To select the content, right-click on the page and then choose Select All
    • If you only want SOME of the page, instead highlight the part you want by holding down the left mouse button as you move it across the material you want to select
  • Now you can use your mouse to drag the selection to a window containing a blank page in your word processor
    • OR, you can right-click on the selection and choose Copy or click the copy icon copy icon then open a blank page in your word processor and either right-click and choose Paste or click the paste icon paste icon in the Edit toolbar of your word processor
  • FYI—The format of these pages copies most easily to Microsoft Word, but any word processor should work fine.  You may want to adjust the format to make it work best for you.

Save the Learning Outline

Save the outline page and then print it later

  • Click on File in your browser toolbar, then select Save As
  • In the dialog box, make sure you are saving the file to a location on your disk that you can find later and then click Save
  • Later, find the file in Explorer (or “My Computer”) and right-click on the highlighted file name and choose “Print.”
  • OR, open your word processor or HTML editor, click on Open under File or on the open file icon on the toolbar and select your saved file to open in the word processor or HTML editor.
    • Most word processors will open a web page (HTML format) easily.
    • A dialog box may ask you whether to open the file as an HTML (web page) or as a regular word-processing file.  You can select either option.
  • Print the page as you would any other file

Edit the Learning Outline for your own use

Once it’s in a file on our disk (either as a web page or a word-processing file) you can use your browser, HTML editor, or your word processor to edit the outline to suit your needs

  • Add spaces to give you room to take notes after it’s printed out
  • Add a blank table (with or without lines) in one or both margins to write your own notes
  • Change the size of the font to read it more easily
  • Highlight, underline, or bold different areas to help you study
  • Add notes from the textbook
  • Add sample questions for later study
  • Add your own links to other web pages that relate to the contents of the outline
  • Add your own images or add labels or explanations to existing images
  • Add contents of the links to the outline itself
  • Put page breaks where you want them

Of course the easiest way to get a copy of the outline formatted and printed out is try and get your best friend in class to print out an extra copy of their outline for you!

Last updated: December 14, 2023 at 16:21 pm