About Notetaking

College courses may include lectures where the course material is presented verbally by the teacher. This learning environment may create barriers that notetaking helps address. For example:

Notes can be useful if you have difficulty with:

  • Maintaining your attention for the whole period
  • Processing what the teacher is saying as fast as they’re saying it
  • Listening and taking notes at the same time
  • Manually writing your own notes
  • Hearing everything the professor says

There really are many reasons why students with different types of disabilities need accommodations to level the playing field in this type of learning environment.

Often your teachers provide all students with a copy of their lecture notes and that may be enough for you. In situations where your teachers don’t provide notes or if the notes they provide aren’t detailed enough, you might need a set of notes provided to you.

Note taking is an accommodation you can request in your appointment with your counsellor.

You receive your notes after class within 24 hours.

Types of Notetaking

We provide two types of notetaking accommodations:

Peer notetaking provides a summary of the important points covered in class. A classmate will take notes and will upload notes to the Students Notes Shared Directory, where the notes will be housed for students to access. This is the most common type of notetaking and meets the needs of most students.

Computerized notetaking provides a word to word transcript of the lecture. An employee notetaker joins the class and types the lecture content nearly word for word. This is usually used as an alternative to ASL interpreting.

Your counsellor will include this accommodation in your Letter of Accommodation but how it gets arranged depends on when your accommodation appointment with your counsellor takes place.

If your accommodation appointment happens before the semester starts:

  • If you are getting computerized notetaking, your Letter of Accommodation will also list all of your courses.
  • If your accommodation is peer notetaking you probably won’t know which courses you will need a peer note taker for and which courses your teacher will provide all students with a copy of the lecture notes. In this case, the Letter of Accommodation will just indicate peer notetaking is an accommodation. Later, once you have been to your classes and know which ones you need a note taker for, you email your counsellor with the list of the courses and you counsellor will then add them to your accommodations and notify the Accessible Education facilitator who hires and schedules the note takers.

If your accommodations appointment happens after the semester starts:

  • If you are getting computerized notetaking, your Letter of Accommodation will also list all of your courses.
  • If you are getting peer notetaking, you will know which courses you do or don’t need a note taker for. Your counsellor will include on your Letter of Accommodation which courses you will need a note taker for.

If you decide you don’t need notetaking as an accommodation but then later discover that you actually do, you will need to book an appointment with your counsellor to update your Letter of Accommodation to include notetaking.