I want to set the context for me asking this question before stating it properly.
I teach at college/university level. This question deals with first-year students, fresh from school. So think calculus, but with some vectors and proof by induction etc. to keep them on their toes.
I provide my students with almost-complete notes, which they can find online (on the course VLE). The notes have no proofs or examples in them. Instead, they have big, blank boxes where the students are expected to write down the proofs and the solutions to examples. This is meant to be a compromise between giving them the complete notes and helping them to pay attention in lectures.
I try my best at the start of term to make sure the students understand their responsibility in lectures is to copy down proofs and examples (and, of course, understand them etc. etc.).
Recently, I had the following conversation with a student.
Student: How do I do question X?
Me: Look at example Y in the notes. It is basically identical.
Student: Okay....its blank.
Me: I know. Did you take notes?
So I didn't know how to respond (thus the "....."), and upon reflection still don't know how to respond.
Giving them the notes will undermine the concept of bullet point (2), above - it will undermine the concept of the lecture! It will also give them unrealistic expectation of their later years at university.
Not giving them the notes will ensure they fail the course. (The "almost-complete notes" might suffice for a good student, but a poor student would likely need more.)
Telling them how to do this one question will not help - the issue runs much deeper. (We can assume that they have not been taking notes since week 1.)
Telling them to "find a friend" is just slightly cheap...
How to deal with poor students who don't take notes? What should I have said in the above conversation, when I discovered they had no notes?