Answers to the questions often asked by colleges considering implementing our software

Find the answer to your question below.

(but if you’re still stumped, email us on hello@sonocent.com or call +1.202.657.4332)


What is Sonocent Audio Notetaker?

Better notes lead to improved productivity, organization, retention of course material, and, ultimately, better learning outcomes*.

Unfortunately, many students aren’t aware of the importance of note taking and fail to develop effective note-taking practices.

To provide a solution, we have developed Sonocent Audio Notetaker: software that enables ALL students to take effective notes.

Watch this short video to see how:


*Michael C. Friedman, Notes on Note-taking: Review of Research and Insights for Students and Instructors. Harvard Initiative for Learning and Teaching, Harvard University


Does it improve grades?

Our users believe overwhelmingly that it does.

In our 2015 user survey, only 7% of students said that they thought using Audio Notetaker hadn’t improved their grades. While 81% of educators agreed that the software could raise student attainment.


Our lectures are already recorded, so why do we need Sonocent?

Research shows that capturing information is only one aspect of effective note taking. Truly effective learning is active learning*, and this applies to note taking as much as to any other study strategy.

Synthesizing lecture material is the beneficial aspect of note taking. Engaging with the lecture content and summarizing it in note form creates connections in the brain, which aid with understanding and recall.

To see how our software supports learning, watch this short video:

*Department of Chemical Engineering Bucknell University White Paper, Does Active Learning Work? A Review of the Research, 2004


What do your existing users think about the software?

They love it! 94% of our users say that they would recommend Audio Notetaker to a friend or colleague.


Is it simple to use?

One of the great things about Audio Notetaker is that almost all students can use it to create brilliant notes.

At the most fundamental level, they can record the class they are attending and do nothing else. Then they can use the software’s innovative visual-audio display to easily navigate through the recording, color highlighting the parts that they want to remember.

Even this simple task is far more efficient and conducive to learning than having someone take notes for them. Moreover, they are actively engaging with the content, which has been shown to embed information in the long-term memory.


What accessibility features does it include?

Audio Notetaker can support students who have the following disabilities with note taking:

• Dyslexia




• Autism

• Dyspraxia

• Irlen Syndrome

• Certain physical impairments

The software is not an appropriate note-taking provision for students with visual or hearing impairments.

Audio Notetaker also includes a number of accessibility features, including customizable background colors, text-to-speech, integration with Dragon Naturally Speaking*, and tools for slowing the speed of audio on playback.

*Audio Notetaker for Windows features integration with Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 and above, Premium and Professional


Is the software secure and reliable?


When developing our software, we use system architecture that meets the standards applied in the development of large-scale high-reliability products.

These are the same architectural methods that Microsoft and Apple recommend and use when developing their products.

To ensure that no stone is left unturned, we put our software through three stages of rigorous testing before making any releases: programmers unit test, system/build tests, and independent user tests.


What about data privacy?

We would normally expect users with very sensitive files to protect their system at the file, disk, or system level with encryption, using 3rd-party products specifically designed for that purpose.

We do not offer any direct recording of encrypted files within the software itself. This is a very complex area, but we expect to tackle it at some stage in the future, by recording directly into encrypted files, regardless of whether disk encryption is in use.


Has the software received any industry recognition?

In addition to a number of positive reviews from software and education magazines, Sonocent has received several awards including an Education Resources Award in the ICT category in 2014, and a prestigious Bett Award for ‘ICT Company of the Year’ in 2015.


“Audio Notetaker from Sonocent is widening its appeal with every update. Plenty of potential users are likely to find annotating and visually organising audio a boost to productivity.” 
-PC Advisor magazine


How many people have used the software?

Since the launch of Version 1 of Audio Notetaker in 2007, nearly 100,000 students (and counting) have used the software to take better notes.

This number continues to grow as word spreads about how the software can improve learning outcomes for all students.


Is it worth it?

If you are considering implementing Audio Notetaker as a note-taking provision, you can be confident that the costs will be significantly lower than using paid peer note-takers for the task (not to mention the savings in man hours for your team).

Students can take notes completely independently with the software. It’s an all-encompassing note-taking solution.


Is it simple for colleges to administer and manage licenses?

We have gone to great lengths to ensure that administering and managing your Audio Notetaker license is as hassle-free as possible.

And the feedback we have received from institutions such as UC Davis, UC Berkeley, and the University of Central Florida is that it compares well to other educational technology from the perspective of administration.


How much training do students need to use the software?

Familiarizing students with the key features of Audio Notetaker should take no more than 30-minutes.

But we recommend that your team spend some extra time showing students the most effective way of using the software for a range of study strategies, including essay composition, revision, presentation practice, and taking Cornell notes. We demonstrate these in our regular training webinars. Email training@sonocent.com to register your interest.


Is the recording quality going to be good enough?

Sonocent are experts in audio processing. And there is a lot of technology under the hood to ensure students’ recordings are as intelligible as possible.

First, we boost the volume of any recording so that the speech is audible. This one feature will make the biggest difference to the intelligibility of a recording.

We have also included various audio clean-up tools within the software that can be used to remove many of the background noises common in lecture theatres.


What about the legality of recording lectures?

People often confuse an institution’s policy on recording with the legality of the practice.

Your institution may have a written policy regarding recording, either prohibiting it or allowing it with certain conditions. Disregarding this policy is likely to have consequences, even if recording itself isn’t actually illegal.

These are the facts on the legal issue:

• Copyright law protects things that are fixed in a tangible medium, such as the presenter writing something down or giving you a video of themselves. A speech delivered off the top of someone’s head, such as a lecture, wouldn't be covered by copyright law because it's not fixed in a tangible medium.

• Presentation slides are protected by copyright law, but their distribution is covered by ‘Fair Use’.

• Capturing audio or images for the purpose of better note taking would probably fall under Fair Use.

• If you are recording a private conversation then you should get consent, but classes and lectures are not considered private.

• However, if anyone in the class reveals personal information, then there is a Data Protection issue and you should get consent from the speaker.

The above only applies where a student only uses the recording for their own purposes, and not where they distribute it for any reason.

This is just a guide. It is not legal advice and is provided as general guidance only. The information covered is relevant for those living in the U.S. and EU only, as copyright laws will vary from country to country. This guide pertains ONLY to personal note taking and is not intended to cover questions concerning broader non-commercial or commercial distribution.


What is the background of your team?

Our team includes specialists in audio engineering, software development, study skills, and accessibility.


Do you have strong links with other institutions in ed tech?

We work closely with industry bodies and have formed partnerships with key industry organizations. These include:


Which other colleges have you worked with?

Some of the most-respected colleges in North America have implemented our software as a note-taking provision. They include:


Sonocent Ltd.
D1, Joseph's Well,
Leeds, LS3 1AB, United Kingdom.

Sonocent LLC,
4500 140th Ave North, Suite 101
Clearwater, Florida
33762, USA


UK: +44 (0) 113 815 0222

USA: +1 727 474 1118 

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