Accommodation Solutions Online

Note Taker

A note taker is someone, generally another student in the class, that provides copies of notes for a student with a disability.

Characteristics of some students' disabilities may make it unreasonable for them to take class notes for themselves. A note taker is someone, often a student classmate, who agrees to provide copies of their own lecture notes on a regular basis to be made available to qualifying students. A note taker can be recruited by the faculty member or by the services for students with disabilities office, depending on an institution's procedures. Note taker accommodations may be granted to students in order to accommodate difficulties with: executive processing functions, focus of attention, fixation on detail, organization, visual processing, abstracting critical from non-critical information, visual impairments, hearing impairments, and motor impairments.

Responsibilities


Student

Students are responsible for contacting the services for students with disabilities office to request note takers, for getting the notes from the services office as they are available, and for alerting the services office if there are any problems with the notes students receive. Attendance requirements remain for students with note taker accommodations. Having the use of a note taker should not be considered an excuse for missing class. Some, but not all students who receive notes from note takers may be capable of taking limited notes for themselves in addition to those provided by a note taker. If a student is able, taking some of their own notes, even if incomplete, in addition to the notes taken by the note taker, may be helpful in learning for some students due to more direct engagement with class material.

Faculty

In institutions where faculty are responsible for assisting in recruitment, this must be done without revealing their identity or disability to other students. It would be helpful for faculty to be willing to review notes taken by a note taker for completeness and accuracy if asked to do so by a student receiving notes taken by a note taker.

Administration

The services for students with disabilities office is responsible for notifying faculty members of the student's right to have note takers, and facilitating communication between faculty and the student. When the services office is responsible for recruiting note takers for students, the services office will transfer the notes from the note taker to the student who needs them.

Resources

Related Functional Characteristics

Motor Skill (Fine) : Written notes allow students to have a written record of class information when they are physically unable to take notes.

Visual Tracking Problem : Having written notes ensures that the student has an accurate representation of visual information presented in class on the board or on the overhead.

Visual Field Function : Notes from a note takes allows students with gaps or narrowing in their field of vision to obtain an accurate representation of visual information presented in class on the board or on the overhead.

Low Vision : Written notes provide a written record of class information including visual diagrams and information from the board allowing students to review information or to use assistive technology to enlarge the diagrams or print.

Hearing Loss : Written notes provide a written record of class information for students who are unable to take notes because they must visually focus on the sign language interpreter or lip read the instructor.

Deafness : Written notes provide a written record of class information for students must visually focus on the sign language interpreter, lip reading the instructor, or captions on video presentations.

Working / Short Term Memory Deficit : Written notes provide students with working memory deficits the ability to check their own notes for accuracy and to fill in missed information.

Sequencing Deficit : Written notes are often important in mathematics or science classes where step by step processes are described for students with sequencing difficulties.

Sensory Distractibility : Written notes provide information that may have been missed by a student who cannot concentrate as a result of background noise or other sights or sounds in the classroom.

Processing Deficit (Visual) : Written notes ensure that any diagrams or visuals presented are preserved for the student to review later and to relate to their notes.

Processing Deficit (Language) : Written notes can provide the student with a language processing deficit with accurate notes if they have missed or misunderstood what the instructor has said.

Processing Deficit (Auditory) : Written notes can provide the student with an auditory processing deficit with accurate notes if they have missed or misunderstood what the instructor has said.

Information Processing Speed : Written notes provide information that may have been missed as a result of difficulty in quickly processing and writing down accurate information.

Fatigue (Cognitive) : Written notes provide information that may have been missed when a student is unable to concentrate as a result of cognitive fatigue.

Attentional Underfocus : Written notes provide information that may have been missed if a student's attention has consistently shifted away from the lecture.

Attentional Overfocus : Written notes provide information that may have been missed as a result of difficulty in transitioning from one task to another, or if a student's attention is focused on specific details to the exclusion of other information.

Production (Written) : Written notes allow students to ignore their own spelling or difficulty in physically writing because they will have another set of notes with which to verify their own.

Perseveration : Written notes allow students to review information missed while perseverating on something the instructor said.

Impulsivity : Written notes are necessary for impulsive students because they often anticipate what is going to be said by the instructor (instead of what is actually said), and notes can provide them the opportunity to correct their own notes.

Inability to Comprehend Social Cues : Written notes provide students the opportunity to make sure that they have caught the important information when they are unable to read the instructors body language or respond to other social cues that other students would catch.

Obsessive Behavior : Written notes allow students to review information missed while they were distracted by obsessive behaviors.

The Building Accepting Campus Communities (BACC) project was funded by the US Department of Education Office of Secondary Education grant #P333A080070-09. The University of Nebraska does not discriminate based on gender, age, disability, race, color, religion, marital status, veteran's status, national or ethnic origin, or sexual orientation.