Handbook for Notetakers - Interpreting and Accommodation Services, Disabled Students Programs and Services

Introduction

This handbook has been designed to help you be a successful notetaker at Ohlone College. You are expected to know and follow the information presented here.  Doing so will ensure a successful semester for you and the student.  At the end of the semester, you will receive priority registration for the following semester.

A Notetaker is a student peer who assumes the responsibility to take notes for students registered with DSPS who cannot take notes for themselves.  Notetakers are a vital link in providing accommodations at Ohlone College. Your services are greatly appreciated. 

This handbook outlines the policies and procedures to which you are expected to adhere.  Doing so will ensure a successful semester for you and the student.  At the end of the semester, you will receive priority registration for the following semester. Priority registration letters, giving instructions for how to register, will be sent to you at the address you have provided (email or home address) at the end of the semester.

Failure to follow all policies in the handbook can result in forfeiture of priority registration.

You may not be a notetaker if any of the following apply to you:

  • If you are currently qualified to receive notetaking services yourself
  • If you have 100 or more lifetime units
  • If you are on academic probation

You may qualify to be a notetaker but may not receive priority registration if you are a high school student; however, we will provide you with a letter of recommendation at the end of the semester.

View the Being a Notetaker video (MP4).

How to Become a Notetaker

Usually, if a notetaker is required in the class, the instructor will make an announcement the first day. When this happens, notify the instructor that you are interested; most classes require only one notetaker, regardless of the number of students who need the service. In the case that there are multiple volunteers, it is up to the student and the instructor to choose.

  • If you are selected, you must complete and sign the Notetaker Contract.
    • Please note this is a binding contract that explains your responsibilities. Read the entire document before you sign it.
  • When the contract is completed and signed, you must meet with the Accommodation Services Specialist in the Interpreting and Accommodation Services Department upon accepting the role of Notetaker.
    • Fremont Campus: go to the Interpreting and Accommodation Services Office, Room 7122, Building 7, first floor. (JoyDawn Olla; (510) 659-6513; jolla@ohlone.edu)
    • Newark Campus:
      • the contract may be signed and faxed to the Interpreting and Accommodation Services Office at Fax (510) 659-6290
      • the contract can be sent to the above noted office by interoffice mail
  • During the first week, ask the instructor to introduce you to the students for whom you will be providing notes. At this meeting (usually before or after class) it will be determined how the notes will be taken and passed along to the student(s).
  • If the student prefers to remain anonymous, contact the Accommodation Services Specialist for instructions on how to deliver the notes.

Policies and Procedures for Taking Notes

First Week

  • In the meeting described above, determine how and when the notes will be exchanged (some considerations: daily or weekly; emailed or left in the class folder at Accommodations office; etc.).
  • Check with the student to be sure he or she understands your notes and handwriting.
  • Ask if the student has any other needs or changes concerning the way notes are taken.
  • Determine how you will take the notes: plain paper, carbon paper, or electronic. 
    • Electronic notes: you must exchange email addresses with the student.  This option is only available if the student agrees and has access to email.  If email access is an issue, the notes could be sent to the Interpreting and Accommodation Services Specialist JoyDawn Olla at jolla@ohlone.edu.
    • Carbon Paper: This is special paper for notetaking.  You write on the top sheet and it makes a copy on the sheet underneath.  Right after class, you can separate the two sheets, keeping one and giving the other to the student.  This paper is recommended for use at Newark because copier availability is limited.  If you want to use this paper, you can pick it up in the Accommodations office in Fremont, or if don’t want to come to the Fremont campus to pick it up, the paper can be sent to your teacher via interoffice mail.
    • Plain Paper: This is regular notebook paper.  It is recommended for use in classes with multiple students requesting copies. If you choose to do this, you must make special arrangements to have the notes copied.
  • You must establish a process for exchanging notes and follow it.
    • Know when and where you will copy and exchange notes.  Pick a specific date and time to do it. (e.g. immediately after class in the Interpreting and Accommodation Services Office, every Tuesday at 10:00am near the Library, emailed on Thursday nights at 7:30pm, etc.)

Appearance of Notes

If you decide to transmit a copy (photo copy or from camera phone), please make sure the transmitted copy is sufficiently clear and dark to be easily read. Remember, many students you will be taking notes for will have visual problems in addition to any other considerations.

  • Write legibly whether handwriting or printing. 
  • Use dark ink to ensure clear copying.
  • If using carbon paper, apply enough pressure on the surface to ensure a clean copy. 
  • Do not use text abbreviations or slang.

Quality of Notes Taken

  • At the top of each page please include the instructor of the class, the date, and chapters/topics discussed.
  • Don’t be the judge of what information should or shouldn’t be included in the notes.  Let the student be the judge.  Write down as much information as possible.
  • Copy all information written on the board.
  • Record all assignments, references and special notices accurately.  Note all due dates, room numbers, addresses, page numbers, and book titles.
  • Identify and record all principal points.  This will be the core of the teacher’s lecture.
  • If unsure of a word’s spelling, write "(sp?)" next to or above the word.

Failure to follow these policies may result in forfeiture of priority registration.

Responsibilities of Notetakers

  • Be on-time for class.
  • Be consistent. Take notes during each class period.
  • Follow the Policies and Procedures for Taking Notes.
  • You are encouraged to ask questions when you cannot hear the teacher or have difficulty following the discussion.
  • See the Accommodation Services Specialist for special concerns or needs that arise in any notetaking assignment.  No problem is too small.  Please don’t try to “ride it out” or wait until it becomes a bigger issue.  The Interpreting and Accommodation Services Office is here to help you.
  • Read the Notetaker Handbook thoroughly and follow all policies and procedures. Failure to do so may result in forfeiture of priority registration.

Copying Notes

  • Do not pay to copy notes!!! Copies of plain paper notes can be made for free.
    • Fremont Campus: Interpreting and Accommodation Services Office, Room 7112, Building 7, first floor. Any staff member can assist you.
    • Newark Campus: Newark Student Services Center, Room NC1312, first floor, Wing 3 (speak with staff at the counter)
    • The libraries of both campuses allow free scanning to PDF email.
    • If you have a problem making copies, contact the Interpreting and Accommodation Services Specialist immediately.

Absence Policy

  • Student Absences:
    • If a student is absent You are not required to provide copies of your notes for the class period during the absence.
  • Notetaker Absences or Drops:
      • If you know that you will be absent for a long period of time, it is your responsibility to notify the Accommodation Services Specialist as soon as possible.
      • If you know that you will be dropping the class it is your responsibility to notify the Interpreting and Accommodation Services Supervisor immediately.
      • As a courtesy to the students, you should inform them and the instructor as well so they can make alternative arrangements.

Miscellaneous

  • If the student doesn’t want the notes or you notice that notes are not being picked up from the Notetaker Mailboxes/Student Services Center, contact the Accommodation Services Specialist.
  • If you need help and the Supervisor is not available, any staff member in Interpreting and Accommodation Services can answer your questions or help with any problems.
  • If no one is available to help you, please leave a note on the Supervisor's desk with the time you stopped by and your contact information. As soon as the Supervisor returns, you will be contacted. You may also email the Supervisor at interpreting@ohlone.edu.

A Final Note

This handbook has been designed to help you be a successful notetaker at Ohlone College. You are expected to know and follow the information presented here. Doing so will ensure a successful semester for you and the student. At the end of the semester, you will receive priority registration for the following semester.

Failure to follow the handbook may result in forfeiture of priority registration.

Contact Information

See Contact Information for the Interpreting and Accommodation Services Office.

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