In some circumstances, a student may require the use of a note taker in class. This would be officially requested through a Student Accommodation Letters. Note takers are needed for a number of reasons:
Deaf or Hard of Hearing Students: Due to the nature of the accommodations needed for a student with hearing loss, it is very difficult to take notes themselves. Working with a Captionist or an Interpreter requires constant visual contact, making the process of looking down to take notes nearly impossible.
Students with Learning Disorders: In some situations, students may have a learning disorder that affects either their receptive skills (listening, decoding, processing, etc.) or their expressive skills (processing, coding, writing, etc.) which make taking notes very difficult. These students are still encouraged to take their own notes in class but use the notes from a note taker to compare and ensure that they are getting the information correct.
Students with ADD/ADHD: For students with attention difficulties, it is very hard to maintain the necessary "split attention" required for note taking ("split attention" is the ability to listen to lecture, process the information, write out the information in the notes, all while still staying up with the material being spoken). For many students with attention difficulties, it is more common that they use "single focus attention" where they will listen to a portion of the lecture, then turn their focus entirely to their notes to write down as much as they can remember, meanwhile, all other lecture material presented while they write is lost.
Students with Mobility, Health, or Systemic Disorders: For a student with a Mobility, Health, or Systemic disorder, there may be accompanying fine motor skill loss which makes writing by hand either difficult or impossible. Having a note taker available allows the student to focus on the material as it is presented in class.
Suggested Procedure for Providing Note takers
Please read below for the suggested steps for providing a note taker:
After a student has requested a note taker through a Student Accommodation Letter, the Disability Services Office will contact the course roster and it is also recommended that the faculty member make an announcement to the class. A suggestion for how to phrase the request is as follows: "I would like to ask for a volunteer from the class who: takes good notes, has good attendance, and is willing to provide a copy of their class notes with a student in the class with a documented disability." Instructors should encourage interested students to contact the Disability Services Office at their earliest convenience. PLEASE DO NOT IDENTIFY THE STUDENT IN YOUR ANNOUNCEMENT.
Disability Services will hire and train peer note takers.
Note takers may come by the Disability Services Office in Room E-108 to have their notes photocopied or submit their notes via email. All notes will be sent to the student from the Disability Services Office to maintain the students' confidentiality.
Note taking assistance is intended for a student's personal study use only and is not to be shared with other individuals.
This accommodation is not considered a substitute for a student taking their own set of notes.
Students are responsible for notifying the Disability Services Office if they do not receive notes in a timely manner or if they have questions or concerns.
Students must contact Disability Services if they withdraw from the course.
Main Campus Building Room E108
300 The Fenway
Boston, MA 02115
For more information regarding Disability Services, please contact:
Director of Disability Services
Coordinator, Disability Services
For appointments, call 617-521-2474.