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Guidelines on Student Notetaking Accommodations

Some students registered with SSD are approved to receive a copy of class notes as an academic accommodation related to the student's disability. These notes are generally intended to be a supplement to the student's own notes and not a substitute for class attendance.

Many students are comfortable making arrangements for notetaking assistance on their own. Others will need the faculty member's assistance in securing a volunteer notetaker in the class. Students also have varying concerns about confidentiality and whether or not they are comfortable with the volunteers knowing who they are. These are the types of issues that are important to clarify with the student directly prior to any arrangements being made. If the student has not met with you to talk about accommodations, please encourage him/her to do so.

If the student does request your assistance in finding a notetaking volunteer, you can make the request via e-mail to the class roster or verbally in class. In either instance, you should keep the student with a disability's name confidential. The following statement may be helpful in making the request:

Suggested statement for asking for volunteers: Services for Students with Disabilities is seeking the assistance of students to serve as volunteer notetakers. If you are a good notetaker and interested in helping other students, please contact me after class. Serving as a volunteer will require no extra work or time. SSD can provide information on techniques to enhance notetaking upon request.

Different ways of working with a student to secure a copy of class notes are described below. If you have any questions about this process or difficulties with the options presented, please contact the student affairs administrator listed in the last paragraph of the student's accommodation letter at 471-6259. Once again, it is the student's responsibility to meet with you to discuss these options prior to notetaking assistance being arranged.


Ways to secure a copy of class notes:

  1. Carbonless paper—SSD provides carbonless (NCR) paper to students approved for notetaking to facilitate the notetaking process. The volunteer uses two sheets of NCR paper at a time. As the volunteer takes notes on the paper, a copy is automatically generated on the page behind it. The volunteer can then give the student with a disability or the instructor the copies immediately after class. When the student prefers to remain anonymous, the instructor can then give the notes to the student.
  2. Electronic notes—Some students take notes on their laptops and do not want to use carbonless paper. In these situations, the volunteers can e-mail their notes to the student. When the student prefers to remain anonymous, the volunteer can e-mail the notes to the professor or the appropriate SSD administrator.
  3. Blackboard/Classroom resources—Some instructors put their own notes on Blackboard and these may be sufficient for the student with a disability. In other instances, the teaching assistant takes notes, which can be made available after class. It is important to remember that copies of power point presentations may not include additional information that was discussed in class and may not be sufficient. In addition, power point presentations are typically not accessible to students with visual disabilities who are using screen reading software. In these instances, they should be converted into an accessible format (e.g., Word or PDF). Please contact SSD if you need assistance.

Important Reminders:

  • The student with a disability is responsible for discussing notetaking as an accommodation with you and presenting the accommodation letter prior to notetaking assistance being arranged. This is an appropriate time to discuss some of the options listed above and to develop a plan for your course.
  • If the student asks for your assistance in soliciting a volunteer, keep his/her name confidential.
  • The student is responsible for providing carbonless paper. This paper is available at SSD.
  • If you have trouble finding a volunteer after meeting with the student, contact SSD for assistance and suggestions.

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