The Office of Disability Resources (ODR) may determine that the provision of note-taking assistance is an effective auxiliary aid/service for a student with a disability. The determination of the specific type of note-taking assistance is determined on an individualized basis through an interactive process with an ODR Access Counselor.
Once a student has completed the Public Accommodation Request or a Supplemental Accommodation Request (for those students already registered with the Office of Disability Resources), ODR staff will schedule a meeting with the student to discuss the impact of the disability and their disability-related barriers in relation to note-taking. As a part of the interactive process that takes place during this meeting, ODR may determine that the provision of note-taking assistance is an effective auxiliary aid/service. This accommodation is designed to give students access to content reviewed in class. This access may be achieved in several ways.
Audio Recording Lectures
One common method is through audio recording class. An audio recording device may be loaned out from ODR to a student or a student may use their own device to audio record. ODR also loans out LiveScribe SmartPens, which syncs a recording of the class to notes taken so that it is easier to go back and listen to particular parts of class or review notes. ODR also provides licenses of Sonocent Audio Notetaker and Sonocent Glean, which are computer applications which record the audio from class onto the user’s computer or mobile phone with features that include easy audio navigation, audio highlighting, and slides/image importing. Please note: none of these audio recording technologies convert audio into written text transcripts. They merely audio record the class sessions and the user may add additional notes alongside the recordings. For more information about these technologies, please visit our Assistive Technology page.
As a part of the Audio Recording Technology accommodation, students sign ODR’s Recording Agreement. If a student is suspected or found to be in violation of the provisions within the ODR’s Recording Agreement, they may be reported to the Office of Community Standards.
Copy of Peer Notes
When it is determined that audio recording and note-taking technology do not prove to provide the access needed, students may request a copy of peer notes as an accommodation through ODR. ODR will attempt to recruit a notetaker who provides their notes to the student as a supplement to the student’s own notes. To obtain a notetaker, a student must request course notes each semester for each individual course they feel the accommodation is needed for. Students may request note-taking assistance at any time before or during the semester.
Copy of Class Notes is determined on a class-by-class basis and is dependent upon the nature of each course (e.g. lecture, studios, production, etc.) and the method of instruction as it relates to a student’s disability-related barriers. For non-lecture based classes, students approved for Copy of Class Notes may need to utilize Audio Recording Technology instead because it is generally more effective in capturing information expressed in class for later use.
Students approved for the accommodation of Copy of Class Notes are expected to follow each course specific attendance policy, as the accommodation is not a substitute for class attendance. Copy of class notes that are provided are not word-for-word transcripts of the lectures/class proceedings.
Some Faculty provide notes or PowerPoints to all students, such that a copy of peer notes is not needed. When a student requests a peer notetaker for a class, ODR will consult with the Faculty to determine the format of the course and if the Faculty provides notes or PowerPoints to all students; if so, peer note-taking services may not apply. If a class does not provide notes or PowerPoints, then ODR will begin the process of locating a peer notetaker for the student.
Recruiting Peer Notetakers
In some cases, ODR may ask the course instructor(s) if they can recommend a student in the course for the role of peer notetaker. In other cases, ODR will e-mail the class roster directly to request a peer to volunteer to share their class notes. When evaluating a potential peer notetaker, ODR considers the individual’s GPA, major, and method of note-taking as qualifications for serving in the role.
The identities of both the peer notetaker and the recipient of the notes are kept confidential. Peer notetakers upload their notes to Accommodate and the recipient of the notes access them via their Accommodate account. Notetakers are expected to upload their notes to Accommodate within 24 hours after a class session finishes.
Support for Note-Taking Skills
Sometimes it may be helpful to improve a student’s note-taking ability. This may be as simple as using a laptop or tablet to take notes. The Learning Center provides academic coaching in which students can work on developing note-taking skills or other important academic skills. Students may also review a list of note-taking assistance apps on our Assistive Technology page that some students have found to help them take notes independently and develop better note-taking skills. ODR does not officially endorse any of the apps listed.
If a student is unsure of the optimal type of note taking assistance and needs guidance, the student may schedule an Assistive Technology Consultation meeting with Scott Meshnick, Access Counselor and technology specialist at the ODR.
Students who receive note-taking assistance should contact ODR immediately to report any problems or issues.