Notetaking Accommodation - Disabled Students Programs and Services

Can't Find a Notetaker?

There could be many reasons why a student may be reluctant to volunteer to be a notetaker. The most common reasons we find are; not feeling confident about one's own notetaking skills, feeling like one will be graded/judged on their notetaking skills, unfamiliarity with the structure/difficulty of the class or not wanting to take on a time-consuming burden.

Sometimes an instructor's acknowledgement of these thoughts may help to alleviate these concerns. If students are told that sharing notes is a kind thing to do and they will not be judged, but rather rewarded with priority registration (some students do not understand what or how valuable priority registration is…) they may be quicker to volunteer. Being a notetaker is easy, it is a great study tool, and DSPS is always here to assist with making free copies of the notes, helping the notetaker to come up with easy ways to exchange notes and stepping in if there are any problems.

We also give the notetaker a tutorial on how to be a DSPS notetaker

It is also ok to wait a week or two and observe students in your class who might be good potential notetakers. To reduce and calm the anxiety of a DSPS student who has not received any notes in class, in private, please let the DSPS student know you are aware of the need for a notetaker and want to take the time to choose the right student. For the student you see as a good potential notetaker, you may talk to that student privately and tell them you have noticed they are diligent about taking notes in class and ask them to share their notes. It is always important to emphasize that the notetaker need not to do anything special or different than they would normally do for themselves.

The structure of the class also plays a large part in this process. Often students will request a notetaker before the semester has begun. If the class structure, lecture style, or class activities do not lend themselves to taking notes in class, the DSPS student can be asked what it is they expect from a notetkaer which may bring to light other struggles the student may be having which have nothing to do with notetaking. In which case they would need to instructor’s advice as to how they have more success in class or be referred to their DSPS Counselor or DSPS Director for support.

If you, as the instructor, can provide any materials to the DSPS student – such as copies of the PowerPoint slides, copies from a textbook, or allow extra time to give students a chance to copy information from the board during class are all very helpful strategies.

If, ultimately, a notetaker is badly needed, a volunteer cannot be found, and all creative ideas have been exhausted, let us know right away.  Please refer the DSPS student to the DSPS office so that we can make sure to keep the interactive process with the student active and make sure our legal obligations to meet this accommodation are met as quickly as possible.

Please feel free to contact JoyDawn Olla 510-659-6513 or jolla@ohlone.edu for more information about the notetaking process or creative ideas on how to select a notetaker.