• For students requesting note-taking services
  • For professors meeting Section 504 Accommodation legal requirements
  • For students volunteering to be a note-taker for a student with a disability
Why would a student need a note-taker?
A student may not be able to take complete or accurate notes due to a number of reasons, some of which are visible such as having a paralyzed hand. Or the reason may not be visible, such as having an auditory or language processing problem, or maybe a vision or hearing impairment. Many students with these kinds of problems find a classmate who will share their notes. But sometimes it is embarrassing for the student to reveal the disability, or the student may just not know anyone well enough to ask. In this case, if the student has a documented medical report that indicates their disability interferes with their ability to take notes, and other students are allowed to take notes for study purposes, then the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of The Rehabilitation Act indicates that Westminster College must find someone to assist in taking notes.
What should I do if I need a note-taker?
You should contact the Director of the Office of Disability Support Services to see if you are eligible for the note-taker program.
If I am the class instructor, what are my legal obligations if a note-taker is checked on the Section 504 Accommodation letter?
Unless otherwise noted on the letter, the qualified student (one who has been declared eligible for disability support services and has a documented need for a note-taker) is to first try to find a classmate to share notes. If the student is unable to find someone who can take adequate notes, he or she is to contact you. It is then your legal obligation to find a student who will take notes and to supply the qualified student with notes until a peer has volunteered for those dates that the student with the disability is in class. You should ask the student if he/she would like you to give the volunteer their name, or just their box number. Some students feel comfortable in having the volunteer know who is taking the notes, and others want it to be kept secret. You should give the volunteer a copy of this letter, especially page 2.
If I am the class instructor, how do I find the volunteer?
You can tell the class that you are in need of a volunteer to share notes with a classmate who experiences a disability. Or you can privately contact students that you know have good hand-writing and appear to be taking notes during class. You can then speak to the volunteer in private to give them the appropriate information (name or box number) on how to get the notes to the qualified student. The Office of Disability Support Services provides an attractive certificate of appreciation at the end of the semester for note-takers. This certificate helps document community service for college or resume purposes. Therefore the name of the volunteer should be sent to the Disability Support Services Director. Also contact the Disability Support Services Director if you are having difficulties obtaining a volunteer.
How can the notes be copied?
The DSS Office has plenty of note-taker lined carbonless copy paper. Also the volunteer can come to the DSS Office to be given a secret code that will allow him/her to copy on the copy machine in McKelvey or on the second floor of Thompson-Clark.
What obligations do I have if I volunteer to be a note-taker?
  • Take notes of the lectures, and write down all relevant information about the tests, quiz dates, assignments, and important vocabulary.
  • If you can not attend class please let the professor know so that a substitute can be obtained.
  • Arrange with the professor (or student if you know who he/she is) on how and when the copies of the notes will be delivered. Please get notes to the student quickly.
  • Obtain the duplicating code or the specialized copy paper from the Director of Disability Support Services in 209 Thompson-Clark Hall for free copying.
  • You are not functioning as a tutor, nor are you responsible for missing writing down some information in your notes. Just take the best notes you can.  
What obligations do I have if I am the student receiving the notes?
  • Attend class in accordance with the policies in the student catalog and handbook. There is no obligation to supply notes to you for dates you are not in attendance.
  • Supply paper for the note-taker if you have made the arrangements yourself. A free supply of special copy paper is available in the Disability Support Services office.
  • Arrange with the note-taker (or the professor if you do not know the note-taker) how and when the copies will be delivered.
  • You remain responsible for knowing the deadlines, assignments, and other course information delivered in lecture or in the syllabus, regardless if the information is or is not in your notes. The volunteer note-taker has no more obligation than would any friend that was sharing notes with you. Therefore check your notes over when you receive them in case you have any questions or think there is missing information.
  • Let the Disability Support Services Director know the name of any volunteer you find so that the volunteer can receive the Certificate of Appreciation that is given to all note-taker volunteers.