Notetaking support is provided to students whose documentation indicates that the disability impairs the students’ ability to take effective notes during in-person lecture or labs or during synchronous online classes. Notetaking support via a peer notetaker is generally considered supplemental, and students are expected to take responsibility for taking their own notes and/or for using additional methods, such as audio recording or smart pens, when appropriate. (Obvious exceptions may include students using sign language interpreters or students who do not have any use of their hands.) If faculty post their own notes or detailed PowerPoint slides to Canvas, it may be determined that peer notes are unnecessary. Regular attendance is necessary. Notes can be held if faculty report an excessive unexplained attendance issue. Notetaking support is provided due to difficulty taking one’s own notes, not to replace attendance to a class.
A student wishing to request a peer notetaker should request, via the DSS Student Portal, that a Faculty Notification Letter (Accommodation Letter) be sent by DSS and the student must specifically indicate the need for a notetaker in a specific class during follow-up with the professor. Students requesting a peer notetaker must confirm to DSS exactly which classes will require notetaking support. (It is very common for students to request notes in specific courses and not in others.)
Recruiting peer notetakers can be handled in various ways. Faculty can make a verbal announcement or email the class to seek a notetaker. A sample email/announcement will be provided, with a primary concern that a quality notetaker is selected and the identity of the student(s) receiving the notes not be disclosed to the class or to the notetaker. Students may ask someone in the class on their own if they wish, but they are not required to do so. The notetaker should be referred to the DSS office as soon as possible to complete the appropriate paperwork to receive payment. If notes are not received within 1-2 weeks of notifying faculty of the need for a notetaker, the student should contact DSS.
Notes will be regularly scanned by the notetaker, and emailed to DSSNotes@montevallo.edu. This may done on the scanning copiers in DSS, the library, residence halls, or other campus in many other campus offices, or at the student’s off-campus residence. The use of smart phone scanning apps are also encouraged. DSS staff will then forward notes to qualifying students via their university email account. Students should review these notes for any immediate problems, and should print or save them in at least one location other than their email. DSS should be notified of any concerns promptly. It can be extremely difficult for DSS staff to effectively address problems not brought to the attention of DSS in a timely manner (such as emailing DSS the day before a test about weeks of missing notes).
If notes are being delivered, but a student does not feel they are adequate, he or she should advise DSS that assistance is necessary. DSS staff will likely reach out to faculty for review and discussion before making a determination. Students who are not happy with their current notetaker arrangements should not “fire” the notetaker or select others without first contacting DSS. Other students may also be receiving notes coming from the first notetaker and the student’s action could impact the accommodations of another student.