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Note Taking

Student Disability Services (SDS)reviews requests for accommodations on an individualized, interactive, case-by-case basis.  Depending on the nature and functional limitations of a student’s documented disability, the student may be eligible for note taking support.

SDS note taking assistance is an accommodation that provides access to course lectures for students whose documented disability affects their ability to take notes. Notetaking assistance is offered in several ways based on the nature of your access needs.  Requests are assessed on a class-by-class basis, a review of course modality, how the student’s disability affects their ability to capture the lecture material, how note taking supports the course learning objectives and course materials provided by the instructor.

Note Taking Tools

SDS provides a variety of note taking tools to assist students in their classrooms.  These technology-based tools provide agency over student’s learning, enhanced access to course content, and valuable skill development.

Glean for Education

Glean is a Google Chrome browser-based app that can be used online or offline to help you take better notes, pinpoint important information, and keep a recording of class meetings.  Glean visualizes audio and allows students to annotate different parts of the recording either while they’re participating the first time or listening back after the class meeting so that they can come back to those most essential pieces of information. Watch the Get started with Glean video to learn more about the app and its features. You may also refer to the Glean User Guide for more information on the most popular questions and to access how-to videos.

LiveScribe™ Pens

LiveScribe pens record the audio of lectures and the student’s written notes, and then syncs the two for convenient playback. Notes are stored and can be played back in various applications, including Evernote and Google Docs. You may find more information on the Livescribe website.

The Front Office Staff will train you to use the Smart Pen and complete the SDS Equipment Loan Form and Agreement for Recording Lectures at UT. You may check out a Smart Pen every semester, but you must return the Smart Pen and supplies to SDS at the end of each semester. Video tutorials are available for Windows and Mac products.

Note Taking Express

Note Taking Express is a service that provides notes from lecture recordings. The student uploads a recording from either their smartphone or computer. Place the recorder at the front of the room close to the presenter to limit background noise.

Notes are available within 48 hours. Students can also upload PowerPoint slides, syllabi, and other course materials to help the note taker with context, vocabulary, or references. Arrangements for this service are made through SDS. Click on the link for more information about NTE. 

Other Note Taking Options

Notes from Faculty (if appropriate)

Some professors provide comprehensive notes for each class, eliminating the need for additional note taking assistance. These notes may take the form of PowerPoint slides, Canvas notes, or other formats. SDS may determine that note taking services may not be necessary if the instructor-provided notes meet the note taking need. If we determine from the professor that additional notes are not necessary, then the instructor-provided notes will suffice for this class.

Notes from an Identified Note Taker

An in-class note taker may be assigned to your class to record notes.  In nearly all cases, the note taker will be a student enrolled in the class, and the identity of students receiving notes is confidential. This accommodation is generally approved for students who are unable to utilize the note taking tools listed above.

The note taker will upload notes within 24 hours of the conclusion of each class to the SDS Portal. SDS provides a payment to the note taker for sharing a copy of the notes with our office.

When a Note Taker May Not be Needed

There are times when note-taking services may not be a reasonable accommodation based on the course format or environment.  In the cases where professors have made notes available to students, asynchronous or heavy discussion courses, or hands-on lab; the note-taking accommodation may not be necessary due to curricular support already built into those classes.

Note taking assistance is not considered a substitute for attending class or taking notes, if physically able. Supplemental notes are only for lectures, so a note taker is not provided for reading or other non-lecture assignments.

Note taking services are typically approved for in-person and synchronous online classes, not recorded and provided to students.  Students may use recorded lectures to take notes at their own pace.

Faculty Responsibilities

Discuss this accommodation with the student and assess if a note taker is necessary for your course. To assure confidentiality, please do not reveal the student’s name in any way to others in the class.

  • Assist SDS in identifying other alternatives if a note taker is not available.
  • Allow the note taker to use a laptop in class to take electronic notes.

Instructor Notification and Cooperation

Once note-taking accommodations have been approved, several methods may be employed to identify a suitable note taker.

  • An announcement to the class is usually the first step in recruiting a note taker. The instructor may make this announcement in class or through an email to the class roster, indicating a need for a person willing to serve as the note taker.
  • Instructors may be asked to facilitate the identification of potential note takers based on previous interaction with other students who perform more successfully than others and or who appear to take productive notes.
  • SDS may also request instructors to share copies of lecture notes and or presentation slides. Student Disability Services understands that there may be limits to this support option depending upon the availability of lecture notes and or copyright restrictions.
  • GTAs are often a potential resource as a note taker.

Notetaking assistance is offered in several ways based on the nature of your access needs. You and your assigned SDS coordinator will determine the appropriate notetaking option for each course.