Students with disabilities that affect things such as concentration, auditory processing, symbol decoding, and physical use of the hands may use a notetaker. This accommodation allows the student to have access to the same material as other students. Most of these students will take some notes of their own, and supplement with the notes provided by the notetaker.
Why do some students with this accommodation NOT request a notetaker?
Disabilities vary in type and scope. While the disability may affect the student in one subject, the student may have no trouble in another. Curriculum design has a great influence on the need for notetakers. Handing out outlines of the class lecture or posting notes or outlines on Blackboard often eliminates the need for a notetaker; teaching style is often a factor, as well. As students develop relationships with their peers, they may ask a friend to take notes for them, thus eliminating the need for an announcement to the class. Some students have not learned to advocate effectively for themselves, and may avoid asking you to make a notetaking announcement. If you think this is the case, please feel free to privately ask the student if they would like you to make a notetaking announcement.
Tips for securing notetakers:
We recognize that asking for a volunteer notetaker is difficult. The DREAM office is working toward modifying this system in a manner that may make the process of securing notetakers much easier. We understand that due to the fact that at this time we cannot pay notetakers, securing one may be complicated. Sometimes teachers call me in to make an announcement if they cannot get anyone to volunteer. Here are some ways I attempt to recruit volunteer notetakers:
"I am looking for someone to volunteer to take notes for a student with a disability in this class. We have special notebooks that allow you to take notes and then simply tear out the page behind to give to the student that requires this academic adjustment. This is a great service for a Gonzaga student and the Gonzaga community that you can put on a resume or graduate school application. One of the best features of your assistance is that you can do volunteer service with no extra work - you are already taking your own notes. So, would anyone like to volunteer? (hopefully, someone will raise their hand at this point.)
Thank you. Could you stop by my office to get the paper, connect with the student you will be working with and work out the details after class?"
Always wait for the student with a disability to talk to you and let you know that they do want notes. Many times, students realize that your teaching style is such that they can successfully take their own notes, or use outlines disseminated in class or posted on Blackboard to help them study.
It is the student's responsibility to pick up notetaking paper from the DREAM office and provide it to the notetaker, or to you if they prefer to remain anonymous.
Some students like to meet their notetaker (and we encourage this interaction). They can do that after class back at your office, and exchange notetaking paper. Please remember: do not say the student's name when asking the class for a volunteer. The only person that needs to know the student's identity is the student providing them with notes.