I find two very interesting courses that were offered in the Spring 2019 semester at ETH Zürich. Unfortunately, their class lecture notes are not shared publically. I wonder if it is appropriate to email the professors and ask them for class notes.

  • Will they want to give their work for free? Will you give away your work for free in the future?
    – Solar Mike
    Sep 11, 2020 at 5:02

1 Answer 1


You can always ask as long as you are polite. There are many reasons that an instructor wouldn't want to release their notes, though. Among them (there are others):

  • Their notes are copyrighted and don't belong to them, either because THEY are using another person's notes or because their notes are part of a textbook that they wrote and signed copyright over to.
  • Their notes include important assignment information for assignments that are given every year, so they don't want them in the wild
  • They want to protect their copyright and just straight up don't want to give you the notes

I, personally, would have no issue giving my notes out to anyone who asks, but I'd give the big caveat that you can probably find better resources. Other instructors may just ignore you. However, a polite query is fine.

  • Some people might be more willing to share them with another professor than with a student, I think. But there is no harm in asking.
    – Buffy
    Sep 10, 2020 at 20:39
  • Another possibility is that there simply aren't any notes! In a class where I know the material well enough, I frequently lecture extemporaneously at the blackboard. I might have written down an outline for the lecture (if it's too complicated to remember or I'm worried I'll forget about a key point) or the specifics of a couple good examples (say some specific matrices to find the eigenvectors for), but that's it. Sep 10, 2020 at 21:50

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .