Note-Taking Assistance

There are several options for obtaining lecture or classroom notes as an approved accommodation.

Recording Lectures

Students with disabilities may record instructor lectures, as stated in the De Anza College Academic Senate Policy on Recording Lectures (April 13, 1987). Digital audio recording to save audio files on a computer or regular tape recording may be alternatives. If students are going to record the lectures, as a courtesy, inform your instructor.

Note Taking Technology

  • Sonocent Audio Notetaker: Capture, annotate, and review customize able note-taking options
  • Livescribe Smartpens: Capture and replay searchable notes, pair with android or iOS app
  • NotabilityCombine handwriting, photos and typing in a single note. Use a wide range of note-taking and sketching tools to capture every detail. Add and annotate PDFs in Notability.
  • OneNote:Type, write or draw with the free form feel of pen to paper. Search and clip from the web to picture ideas. Access your notes anywhere, on any device or platform.

Instructor Copies

  • Instructors who have lecture notes, overheads, or power-point presentations may be able to share these for use as a note-taking template. Arrangements can be made to copy these through DSS. Instructors may post notes our lecture outlines on their web- sites which can be downloaded and printed
  • Instructors may lecture from power point presentations and may be able to provide these on request as an accommodation.

NOTE: When students use instructor materials or tapes, they may be asked to sign a Restricted Use Agreement.

Classmate Copies

A peer volunteer can be solicited from the class to provide a copy of the course notes. Non-carbon reproduction (NCR) paper is available without charge in the DSS office. Classmates who take notes may receive an hourly wage as long as they:

  • Have properly registered with DSS in a timely manner
  • Return a signed Note-Taker Contract form
  • Provide the note-taking service through the end of the quarter.
  • Complete and submit an employment packet
  • To be authorized for this service, students must meet with their DSS Counselor or LD Specialist, who will assist the student with the process to solicit the note-taker and properly document the service.

Many students find that learning a note-taking system such as the one taught in the college’s student success and study skills classes is invaluable. It helps you produce more efficient notes when you take them yourself or helps you organize for study more efficiently using the notes from a volunteer note-taker.

Steps to Receive Note-Taking Assistance

  • Review the class requirements with your DSS Counselor or LD Specialist, discussing the alternatives and deciding what would work best.
  • Once you meet with your DSS counselor or LD Specialist, bring the Yellow Note Taking Service Contract to the Instructional Associate in LCW 110
  • Provide the appropriate materials to the instructor and volunteer note-taker, including the Note- taker Contract, if appropriate.
  • Inform the volunteer note-taker that they may receive a stipend at the end of the quarter if they turn in the Note-taker Contract to DSS or ask the instructor to do so.
  • Pick up note-taking paper at the reception area of Testing and Tutorial Center, (LCW 110).
  • Report any problems finding note-takers or with their performance to your DSS Counselor, LD Specialist, or Instructional Associate immediately.
  • In case your note-taker is absent, have a back-up plan. This might include recruiting a secondary note-taker, or requesting that the teacher assist in locating an emergency note-taker for the day.

*Make sure to submit your request and syllabus for each class you request notes for within three weeks from the request date.

Note-Taker Guidelines

  1. Attend all class meetings on time, make sure to be ready to take notes when class starts.
  2. Give your student advance notice if you will be absent or notify the instructor if the student is anonymous. Exchange phone numbers.
  3. Record date, course name and number, and page number on the top of each page of notes.
  4. Use dark blue or black ink. Write legibly and concisely. When using abbreviations, keep them the same all quarter. Keep them someplace for reference. If notes are being typed, please check with the student for any preferred format.
  5. Make a special effort to record all topics covered during lecture, even if some information seems unimportant or obvious to you. Record all homework assignments, test dates, board notes, and any optional study information. Identify key words or concepts that by the instructor’s voice inflection or repetition seems to be especially important with an asterisk.
  6. Be available to meet with the student briefly after class or before class the next session to answer specific questions regarding your notes, if requested by the student.
  7. If copying notes for multiple students, do so promptly. Deliver as soon as possible.
  8. If the student is anonymous, promptly deliver notes to the designated person.
  9. Do not take notes for an absent student unless you have permission to do so from DSS.
  10. If you attend a Skills Center workshop on Note Taking this quarter, you will be compensated for your time. You must provide verification to DSS of attendance.
  11. To register as a note-taker you must return this signed contract and completed employment packet to Disability Support Services in Learning Center West (LCW) Room 110 within one week of assignment.
  12. Time cards are due promptly on the last day of each month, please make sure to submit your time card within two days of the due date. If you turn in your time card late this will cause a delay in your paycheck.
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