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Reducing Note-taking Barriers

For most students having access to quality notes is an integral part of learning. If writing notes in class is a barrier for you, you should explore other options:

  • Using a laptop for note-taking
  • Recording the class using a digital recorder or other recording device – consider the Livescribe Pen ( or an app downloaded to a tablet device
  • Using notes that your instructor posts on D2L or a course Website

If these options don’t work, talk with an Access Consultant. Your active engagement is essential in ensuring that the notes are effective.

Setting up Note-taking

For each class where notes will be useful, you can:

  • Ask a classmate directly to make copies or scan and email notes to share with you
  • Ask your instructor to make an announcement for a volunteer who is willing to share notes
    • Print the note-taking announcement for your instructor
    • Ask the instructor to read the announcement at the beginning of two classes
    • Discuss best ways to share notes with the note-taker
      • Copies of notes can be made at the DRC
      • The note-taker may choose to email you a scanned copy of the notes
      • Carbon (NCR) paper, which makes an immediate duplicate of the notes, can be picked up from DRC
  • Talk to an Access Consultant for assistance

Managing your Notes

If you are using notes from a classmate, you are the manager of your note-taking experience.

  • Be in class each day so that the notes are meaningful to you.
  • Don’t share a note-taker’s notes to others in class.  This disrespects the efforts the note-taker is making.
  • Give feedback to the note-taker so that the notes are as useful as possible.  If current notes don’t work for you, you can find a different note-taker at any time.
  • Let an Access Consultant know immediately if your notes are ineffective.

Note-Taker's Role

  • Attend class on a regular basis
  • Talk with the student about how to share notes:
    • Email notes that are taken on an electronic device or scan hand-written notes.
    • Use carbonless copy paper provided by the student.
    • Make copies at the Disability Resource Center  (DRC)
    • Be creative… what works for the two of you?
  • Share notes with student at least weekly.
  • Have a back-up plan in place with another student if you miss class.
  • Register with the DRC by completing the Note-taking Agreement Form as soon as you can.  The DRC will send you a letter to document your volunteer experience at the end of the semester.
  • As a general rule, it’s best to not broadcast that you are a class note-taker.  Students have a right to privacy and how their personal information is shared.
  • Let the DRC know if you have questions: (520) 621-3268 or

Terminating Services

Occasionally a student may have preferences for notes that do not match the note-taking style of the note-taker. If this happens with you, the student may let you know that he/she won’t need your notes any longer.

Likewise, if you find sharing your notes is not working out for you, please let the student know so that he or she can identify another volunteer.