Document class for writing class note

I would like to know the document class to write my lecture notes and assignments questions which I will be using for a course I am teaching.

I want your valuable suggestions in this regard.

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migrated from meta.tex.stackexchange.comAug 3 '13 at 8:32

This question came from our discussion, support, and feature requests site for users of TeX, LaTeX, ConTeXt, and related typesetting systems.

As the question stands now, I see no necessity for a special document class. For some inspiration you can look at »LaTeX Templates«. –  Thorsten Donig Aug 3 '13 at 8:43
The exam class might suit your needs for assignments. –  Robin Möller Aug 3 '13 at 8:57
Personally I'd use a simple scrartcl class (the KOMA-Script equivalent of article) and my exsheets package. –  clemens Aug 3 '13 at 9:13
Not to be the unpopular one here but, I'm not sure TeX is well-suited for class notes (without a good editor like Emacs). From personal experience, it becomes very difficult to keep up even with years of typing and TeX experience under my belt. (Emacs mostly solves this problem, though.) I would rather consider an alternative format (like Org or Markdown) that can be exported into TeX for sharing. –  Sean Allred Aug 3 '13 at 15:01
@SeanAllred The OP is teaching the course, not taking it. –  Torbjørn T. Aug 3 '13 at 19:12

It depends what you want your lecture notes to look like! Usually, I use the article document class with amsthm and other AMS-packages. When I type up notes I took from someone else's lectures, I also add the following macros to my document header:

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{amsthm}

\makeatletter
\def\lecture{\@ifnextchar[{\@lectureWith}{\@lectureWithout}}
\def\@lectureWith[#1]{\medbreak\refstepcounter{section}%
\renewcommand{\leftmark}{Lecture \thesection}
\def\@lectureWithout{\medbreak\refstepcounter{section}%
\renewcommand{\leftmark}{Lecture \thesection}
\sectionfont Lecture \thesection.}\medbreak}
\makeatother

\title{Long Boring Lectures on 0-dimensional Manifolds}
\author{Alex Nelson}
\begin{document}
\maketitle

\lecture % it's ok for it to not take any arguments
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod
tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam,
quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo
consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse
cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat
non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

\lecture[I'M BRILLIANT] % It can also take an argument
At vero eos et accusamus et iusto odio dignissimos ducimus qui blanditiis
praesentium voluptatum deleniti atque corrupti quos dolores et quas
molestias excepturi sint occaecati cupiditate non provident, similique sunt in
culpa qui officia deserunt mollitia animi, id est laborum et dolorum fuga. Et
harum quidem rerum facilis est et expedita distinctio. Nam libero tempore, cum
soluta nobis est eligendi optio cumque nihil impedit quo minus id quod maxime
placeat facere possimus, omnis voluptas assumenda est, omnis dolor repellendus.
Temporibus autem quibusdam et aut officiis debitis aut rerum necessitatibus
saepe eveniet ut et voluptates repudiandae sint et molestiae non recusandae.
Itaque earum rerum hic tenetur a sapiente delectus, ut aut reiciendis
voluptatibus maiores alias consequatur aut perferendis doloribus asperiores repellat.
\end{document}


These macros I'm going to share aren't the best, but it's the best I have thanks to the laziness I possess.

I use exercises and problems throughout my notes. "Problems" are usually "Motivating questions I ask myself to induce the reader to want to get to the next section, but first attempt to derive something themselves" --- kind of like an exercise with a "spoiler alert" that its solution will follow.

These I just use amsthm for:

\theoremstyle{theorem}
\newtheorem{xca}{Exercise}
\theoremstyle{definition}
\newtheorem{prob}{Problem}


I sometimes use Donald Knuth's macros, or adapt them to LaTeX, for exercises (which you may want). The following supposes you want to keep your answers together and shown at the end (if at all). Just add to your pre-amble:

\makeatletter
%%%%%%%%%%
% Exercise Macros
%%%%%%%%%%
\def\textindent#1{\indent \llap {#1\enspace }\ignorespaces}
\newcounter{exercise}[section]
\def\exercise [#1]{\refstepcounter{exercise}%
\ifnum\value{exercise}>1 \smallbreak\fi
\textindent{\textbf{\theexercise.}}[\textit{#1\/}]\kern6pt}
\def\suggestedExercise [#1]{\refstepcounter{exercise}%
\ifnum\value{exercise}>1 \smallbreak\fi
\textindent{\llap{\manual x\hskip3pt}\bf{\hbox to
\ifnum \value{exercise}>99 1.5em\else 1em\fi%
{\hfil\theexercise}}.}[\textit{#1\/}]\kern6pt}

\def\HM{H\kern-.1em M} % used for "higher math" exercise ratings
\def\MN{M\kern-.1em N} % used in Section 4.3.1 when $MN$ appears frequently

\newenvironment{exercises}{\medskip\noindent\ignorespaces\section*{Exercises}%
\parindent=0pt}{}

\newwrite\ans%
\def\ansSec#1{\immediate\write\ans{\detokenize{\section*}{#1}}}
\def\ansno#1:{\smallbreak\textindent{\textbf{#1.\enspace}}}
{\par\medbreak
\immediate\write\ans{}%
\immediate\write\ans{\string\ansno\arabic{exercise}:}%
\@bsphack
\let\do\@makeother\dospecials\catcode\^^M\active
\def\verbatim@processline{%
\immediate\write\ans{\the\verbatim@line}}%
\verbatim@start}%
{\@esphack}

%% Sometimes there's an alternate way to solve the problem
%% TODO: Make this include an optional argument specifying how it
%%       was done, so one can use the following code snippet
%% \begin{altAns}[Using Complex Analysis]
%% ...
%% \end{altAns}
\newenvironment{altAns}%
{\par\medbreak
\immediate\write\ans{}%
\immediate\write\ans{\string\ansno\theexercise (Alternate):}%
\@bsphack
\let\do\@makeother\dospecials\catcode\^^M\active
\def\verbatim@processline{%
\immediate\write\ans{\the\verbatim@line}}%
\verbatim@start}%
{\@esphack}
\makeatother


How to use them? Well, for example:

\begin{exercises}
\suggestedExercise [01\M] What's $\sqrt{2}$ to 12 digits?
We have $\sqrt{2}\approx 1.41421356237...$

The "suggested exercise" has a triangle in the left margin pointing to it, just as Knuth has in his TeXbook. To load the solutions, you just need to call the \loadAnswers{} macro.