Disability Resource Center

Note Taking Assistance

While lecture notes are an important part of the classroom experience, the process of taking notes is not accessible to all students. When this is the case, DRC may facilitate note taking assistance via a student volunteer system. Once a student identifies courses where this service is necessary and communicates with the instructors, instructors will make an announcement that a volunteer is needed to share a copy of her/his notes. Volunteers who respond to instructors’ announcements are directed to DRC. DRC will make a copy of the notes and keep them in a file for the student. Students utilizing this service remain anonymous unless they wish to self identify to the volunteer note taker. DRC employs a graduate assistant who works with faculty and the student to coordinate note taking assistance.

Other Note Taking Assistance Methods


Alternating Note Taker

As a part of the course participation grade, faculty can assign a new student each day, with the exception of the student requesting the note taking accommodation, to be the note taker.  With this method, the accommodation request can be satisfied in a couple of ways: 1. After each course, the assigned note taker would take a copy of their course notes to the DRC to be copied for the student requesting the note taking accommodation; or 2. After each course, the assigned note taker would type their notes and post them on the Western Online discussion board for the entire class (Universal Design Method).

Group Note Taking

This method of satisfying the note taking accommodation request was submitted by Rachel Smith, RPTA Faculty and Faculty Innovator, and is an example of Universal Design in the classroom.  As a part of the course design, students are assigned to note taking groups.  Each group is a assigned to take notes on a certain day(s) or week(s). Within those groups, students decide who will be the primary note taker(s).  After class, the students get together in their group to create a final draft of the notes to be posted on the Western Online discussion board.  As a part of class participation, students are encourage to comment on the notes.  The faculty member can monitor and lead the discussion, as needed.

Faculty Notes

Faculty may provide the student requesting the note taking accommodation with copies of PowerPoint slides or overheads. This will work for some students, but not others.  Please defer to judgment of the student requesting the accommodation on this matter.

Faculty may also create notes for students.  While these need not be the detailed notes that faculty may consider their intellectual property, they should adequately summarize the information communicated in course lectures.

Graduate Student Note Taker

Faculty may choose to have a graduate assistant sit in on the course and take notes to share with students requesting the note-taking accommodation.

Tape Recording the Lecture

In certain cases, this may be an appropriate alternative to the note taking accommodation.  This alternative should be discussed with the student and the DRC before implementation.

Student Responsibility

It is critical that students understand the importance of communicating their needs regarding note-taking assistance. The DRC staff relies on students to advocate for themselves, and to work with their faculty members to set up note-taking assistance.

It is equally important that students, if they are using the volunteer note-taker method, maintain a consistent schedule for picking up notes from the DRC office. Not only do students ensure that they have supplementary notes, the DRC staff can be made aware if the volunteer hasn't brought in notes in a timely manner. If a student isn't receiving notes in a timely manner, or if note-taking assistance has not been arranged, he or she needs to let the DRC staff know as soon as possible. There are specific steps the DRC staff will take to remedy these situations.

As always, open communication and a willingness to partner between all parties will help to make this accommodation work.

Hours of Operation

Monday - Friday
8:00am to 4:30pm

Contact Info

Disability Resource Center
Memorial Hall 143
1 University Circle
Macomb, IL 61455

Email: disability@wiu.edu
Phone: (309) 298-2512
Fax: (309) 298-2361