There are several reasons why taking detailed notes may be problematic for students with disabilities. Students with disabilities that impact their ability to take notes need to develop and utilize alternative strategies in the classroom. If taking class lecture notes is difficult for you based on your disability, the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities (RCPD) can help you discover and implement such alternative strategies.
Accommodation: Faculty facilitated Notetaking assistance by shared lecture notes or established partnership between students
Note taking assistance is intended to be a supplement to student notes, assisting a student to retrieve missed information or further clarification on concepts discussed in class. Students must request this in advance of when notes are needed.
- Receiving note-taking assistance does NOT relieve students from the responsibility of attending and actively participating in class.
- Students who are granted this accommodation understand these notes are for personal use and are not to be shared with others. If notes are used inappropriately, instructors can refer the matter to the student conduct system for review.
- The MSU Dean of Students Office offers resources and processes for handling code of conduct concerns: https://deanofstudents.msu.edu/
No matter how you access your notes, one important point to remember is that receiving note-taking assistance does NOT relieve you from the responsibility of attending and actively participating in class.
Request note taking assistance from your professor by distributing your VISA and having a meeting as outlined in the “VISA Distribution” process above
Discuss how, when, and in what format notes will be shared
Tip: discuss assistive technology that can enhance independent note taking with your Ability Access Specialist
To implement this accommodation, you may share PowerPoint slides or other lecture notes directly with the student or confidentially connect the student with supplemental class notes via a peer or TA/GA/etc. note taker.
For example, you may find a student in the class who is willing to share notes, have that student email the notes to you after each class, and then send the notes to students who have a note taking assistance accommodation (use a blind copy if there are multiple students). In cases where a call for volunteer notetakers is made in class, please avoid identifying the specific student(s) who need the notes in order to maintain confidentiality.
Technology to Assist with Note-Taking
Learn more about technology solutions that can help with note taking on the Assistive Technology page.
Faculty Considerations for Online Learning
Generally, students should be sharing their VISA and specifically requesting the note taking assistance accommodation for the classes it's needed. It is the joint responsibility of the student and instructor to make a plan for how and when notes should be distributed.
When course content is posted for students to review at their own pace and as often as needed throughout the semester, the note taking assistance accommodation may be irrelevant. When students are able to access the material and lectures and pause/rewind/re-watch as needed, they can take better control of their own note taking skills.
When a course meets at a specific day/time via live lecture and content is not recorded/posted, students may still need to request note taking assistance. This can be facilitated in a variety of ways:
- Sharing PowerPoint slides or other lecture notes directly with the student
- Confidentially connecting the student with supplemental class notes via a peer or TA/GA/etc. note taker
- Allowing the student to record the live lecture for their own use, by recording via Zoom or an audio recorder (if audio quality allows)*
- Recording the lecture and sharing with the student*
*Typically, students will have VISA differentiation between whether they utilize "faculty facilitated note taking assistance", "student may audio record lectures", or both. Sharing or allowing the student to record the lecture would usually fulfill "student may audio record lectures" and students with note taking assistance may ask for physical or electronic written materials. To meet the unique needs of online classes, there can be many solutions to both of these accommodations. We ask that students and faculty work together to find the best solution for both parties. RCPD specialists are available to assist.