The Gift of Notes
A Guide for OSD Students
Seeking Notetaking Assistance
at Florida Atlantic University
An Informational Brochure from the
Office for Students with Disabilities
Division of Student Affairs
NOTETAKING AS AN ACCOMMODATION
Some students registered with the OSD are approved for notetaking assistance. Some students ask classmates for copies of their notes. Others, however, are uncomfortable doing this and prefer to request notes through the OSD and their professors. Following are the steps to request and receive notes through the OSD:
- Before the semester begins, or during the first week of class, complete and submit:
- OSD Semester Request for Services form
- Notetaker Request Form
- Copy of your schedule
- Pick up Letters of Notification
- Meet with your professors
- During the meeting with your professors, discuss notetaking needs, e.g., you have a friend or classmate who will take notes; you want the professor to make an announcement; find out if notetaking is even needed.
- If the professor assists in finding a notetaker, the process involves him/her making an announcement in class.
- Return completed yellow copy of Notetaker Request Form to the OSD within 2 weeks of receiving your Letter(s) of Notification.
- After hearing announcement, a classmate contacts OSD to provide notes by using copier, fax or emails.
- It is the student’s responsibility to inform OSD of any difficulties in obtaining a notetaker. OSD staff will not know if there is a problem unless notified by the student.
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
Q : I have given my professor my Letter of Notification and have talked to him/her about my accommodations, but no notetaker has been found. What can I do?
A: Here are some suggestions:
- Your professor should have received a Memo along with your Letter of Notification. This Memorandum included an announcement the professor is to read aloud. If your professor has forgotten to read the announcement aloud, remind the professor to read the announcement the next class.
- If the professor forgets to make the announcement a second time, contact OSD immediately. OSD staff will contact the professor and offer assistance in locating a notetaker.
- If your professor refuses to assist you in locating a notetaker, contact OSD immediately.
- If you have followed the above steps and you still do not have a notetaker, submit the carbon copy of your Notetaker Request Form indicating “B” and contact your OSD Notetaking Coordinator immediately.
Q : How often should I pick up my notes?
A: Pick up your notes from OSD throughout the week. You need your notes to study for your upcoming lectures! A full mailbox implies you do not need the notes; the notes are not appreciated; you are not attending class; or you may have withdrawn from the class. If your notes pile up, your OSD counselor will be notified and the possible withdrawal of notetaking assistance may result.
Q: Now that I have a notetaker, do I still need to take my own notes?
A: Absolutely! Keep taking notes, unless your disability physically prevents you from being able to do so. At a minimum, write down the key words. Later, you can look for the key words in the notetaker’s notes. The extra notes you receive are considered supplemental to your own. Remember that you may use an audio recorder throughout the semester.
Q: My notetaker’s notes are perfect: why do I need to go to class?
A: Receiving great notes does not relieve you of your responsibility to go to class, actively participate, and learn. If you stop attending class, OSD may suspend your notetaking services until you resume.
Q: What happens if I do not pick up my Letters of Notification?
A: You will not be ensured of receiving accommodations if you do not submit an OSD Letter of Notification (LON) to the professor. OSD will not initiate contact with professors on your behalf regarding accommodations, such as testing and notetaking assistance unless you have returned a signed LON from that professor.
Q: Can I introduce myself to my notetakers?
A: Yes, but it is not mandatory. Some students prefer that their notetakers know who they are; and some notetakers want to meet the person they are helping. If you have met your notetakers, be polite and appreciative of their help throughout the semester. For example, after an exam, say: “That list of terms in the notes was a lifesaver” or “I am really glad you marked ___.” These comments express that the efforts are appreciated and should be continued. If you are using volunteer notetakers, expressions of appreciation encourage the students to volunteer again in the future.
Q : If a classmate asks me for a copy of my notes, can I give them out?
A: No. The notes are provided for your use only and should not be shared.
Q: What happens if I have problems with my notetaker?
A: If your notetaker does not bring notes to OSD, or the notes are incomplete or illegible, notify the Notetaking Coordinator immediately. You may need another notetaker.
Q: Does the staff at OSD discuss my disability with my notetakers?
A: No. Your confidentiality is respected.
Q: I want to find my own notetaker. How do I do this?
A: Tell your professor you want to find a notetaker on your own. Remember, the best student in class may not be the best person for taking notes. Students who are very familiar with class material are less likely to take detailed notes. They could leave out examples that may be crucial to your understanding. Find a notetaker who is a good student and is as new to the material as you are. Help your classmate understand WHY you are asking for copies of the notes and how you will be using them. Give the notetaker the brochure Helpful Hints for Notetakers. The brochure provides helpful information on how to best take notes and gives credibility to your request which can make it easier for you to approach classmates. The brochure also describes how the student can earn Volunteer Hours orService Points