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Accommodations – Note Taking

Taking notes is often part of the classroom experience. Many times, students with disabilities have difficulty taking notes during class. Sometimes those difficulties are due to undeveloped study strategies/habits. Other times difficulty taking notes is a result of your particular disability. During your initial meeting with your Educational Access Coordinator, you will examine both your study habits and how your disability impacts you in the classroom to determine whether note-taking accommodations are reasonable and appropriate adjustments for you.

If your disability does not impact your ability to take notes, but you need to develop better note-taking skills, Advising and Academic Enhancement offers several skill-building opportunities.

If your disability directly impacts your ability to take notes, then specific note-taking accommodations will be available to you. There several different types of note-taking accommodations. Which type of accommodation is appropriate for you depends on your particular situation.

  • Livescribe Smart Pen
    • Most students who have note taking accommodations use smart pens. Smart pens are computerized pens that record the lecture and synch your notes with the recording. Students using this accommodation may borrow a pen and specialized notebook from the Educational Access Center, or if you have your own, you have permission to use it in class. Students new to using smart pens attend a short training/check out session at the beginning of the semester. Students who use the pens are very satisfied with the results. Smart pens allow you to determine what notes you need, are versatile study tools, and are technology that you can use when you graduate and enter the workforce.
  • Peer note taker
    • If your disability is such that you are unable to use a smart pen, peer note takers are recruited from the classes in which you are enrolled. Peer note takers share their class notes with you via the Access Portal. If your accommodation is for a peer note taker, there are several important things to remember:
      • You must attend class.
      • You must download the notes through the Access Portal. If you do not access the notes posted, then you are indicating that you do not need the accommodation in that particular class and note taking will be canceled.
      • You are encouraged to take your own notes to the best of your ability. Everyone has a different perspective on what is necessary to include in notes. Note takers are sharing their perspective with you and sometimes miss including points that you feel are important.
      • Note takers are not study aids, tutors, nor do they share homework with you. You are responsible for learning the material. Notes are a study aid.
      • Life happens to note takers. Note takers are students, too. They sometimes drop the class, get sick and miss a lecture, or opt out of being a note taker. Educational Access Center┬ásupervises all peer note takers and will make every effort to rectify problems that arise.
    • Note taking apps

There are many note taking apps for your electronic devices. Educational Access Center is able to help you explore the many options and find an app that best meets your note taking needs.