Disability Resource Center

Note Taking Assistance

Notes from course lectures can be instrumental in obtaining course objectives. However, not all students record, receive or process verbal information in a manner that allows for note taking. Therefore, in some cases it is necessary to make notes from lectures available to students. Listed below are several methods from which faculty can choose to provide course notes to students.

Volunteer Note Taker

Faculty should announce the need for a volunteer note taker to the class without disclosing the student's identity. During the announcement, potential volunteers should be asked to identify themselves to faculty after class.  Interested volunteers should be directed by faculty to contact the DRC at 309-298-2512 or 143 Memoriall Hall. Students utilizing the note taker service will remain anonymous unless they wish to self-identify to the volunteer.The DRC will make a copy of the volunteer’s notes and keep them in a file for the student to pick up at the DRC.

If the student prefers, the DRC provides NCR notebook paper that produces an instant copy for volunteer note takers. Either the student with a disability or the volunteer note taker may get these notebooks from the DRC.

There are several ways to encourage students to volunteer: 1. Volunteerism is a part of the culture at WIU, and there are many student organizations that require volunteerism as a condition of membership.  The DRC will vouch for hours spent as a volunteer note taker; 2. Some faculty offer extra credit to those willing to volunteer; 3. Faculty may be comfortable with requesting a that a particular student in the class volunteer for this experience; 4. Faculty may offer this as an opportunity to fulfill a course participation requirement.

The DRC employs a graduate assistant who will notify:

  • Faculty when the volunteer note taker makes contact with DRC
  • Students when notes are available
  • Faculty and students receiving notes when problems arise (e.g., volunteer has not made contact with the DRC, volunteer stops bringing notes, volunteer's notes are illegible, etc.)

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.

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