Note Taking Provisions

A common practice in college and university courses is for instructors to deliver content verbally through a traditional lecture format. This information is often delivered only in this format and is available for later review only if the student captures that content in some manner. Ideally, this content would also be provided in a less transient format by the course instructor. The absence of such an alternative places the responsibility upon students to find an effective way to capture that content. Taking handwritten notes has been the traditional approach to resolving this problem. Other students may record the lecture and summarize the content after class for their later review. The use of laptops for taking notes has more recently emerged as an option. Finally there are other technologies which combine the audio recording with the act of note-taking, allowing students to fill in content they may have missed the first time without listening to the entire lecture again. All of these methods are ways of accommodating the traditional design which is based on the idea that learning is compromised when students do not "engage actively" during class by writing notes. While active engagement with course content is clearly correlated with performance, there is no clear evidence that this active engagement has to occur during the lecture itself or that note-taking represents engagement for all students.

In the event that the course design does not include the provision of salient points of the lecture in another format, an accommodation will need to be established which responds to this design.

Note taking provisions may include copies of lecture notes, overheads, power point presentations (provided prior to lecture), and access to notes provided by a volunteer. Assistive Technology may be used to facilitate note-taking. See also: Note Taking Instructions.

Instructor
  • If Lecture Notes are available:
    • Place class notes in the learning management system (course shell) for all students or for the student for whom the barrier is created.
    • Provide notes via email to all students or to the individual student. 
    • Provide a copy of overheads, power point presentations (prior to lecture), or access to notes provided by a volunteer.
  • If required, you may have the student sign an Agreement for Receiving Course Lecture Materials before receiving copies of your lecture notes.
  • Only make an announcement for a volunteer if it is requested by the student. Please keep the student's identity confidential. During the announcement, you can ask students that you need someone to share their notes to come to the front of the room after class. At that time, the student can self identify to the volunteers, discuss needs, select a volunteer, and determine the process to get the notes copied in a format that works for the student.
  • If a volunteer cannot be found after two announcements, please ask the student to contact DSO.
  • The Assistive Technology staff may also implement technology, such as a recording device, to facilitate note-taking.
Student
  • Inform your instructor if you would like an anonymous announcement made to recruit a volunteer, or if you are using audio recording technology.
  • Obtain assistive technology and/or carbonless notebooks and note taker instructions from the DSO front desk to give to your volunteer note takers. 
  • Meet with volunteer note takers after class to determine the process to get the notes copied or provide a carbonless notebook, instructions for note taking, and contact information (exchange email addresses). Provide additional note-taking paper to the volunteer as needed.
  • In the event of notetaker absense, always carry back up methods such as note taking paper, recorder, etc.
  • If requested, sign a DSO Agreement for Receiving Course Lecture Materials and bring the form to the Instructor.
  • If requested by the instructor, sign a DSO Agreement for Recording Lectures and Discussions for any course in which a recording device will be utilized and return it to the instructor.
  • Contact your instructor and the DSO if you have any questions or concerns.
  • The note-takers notes should be used to supplement your own notes for the class. Note-taker services are only available for students who are in attendance or for those who have a disability-related absence.
DSO
  • Supply carbonless notebooks and instructions for the student to give to the volunteer.
  • Supply assistive technology and training