Notetaking Services

Notetaking Services include one or more of the following:

  • Evaluation of current note taking skills
  • Notetaking tips or training
  • Recording lectures
  • Echo Smart pen to write out your notes with audio
  • Use of an AlphaSmart to type notes
  • A notetaker


A DSS Counselor or Leaning Specialist will authorize notetaking services for students who have a verified disability that prevents them from taking notes during class. Attendance during class is required to receive any notes provided by a DSS Notetaker. Students are encouraged to buddy up with a classmate early each term to borrow notes for all missed classes.


Board/Lecture notes

Whenever possible, students will be asked to take notes and/or self advocate for a notetaker (when needed). Where appropriate, students are encouraged to use a recorder and/or an AlphaSmart to get both board and lecture notes.

AlphaSmart Keyboards

Students with good typing skills have found that using an AlphaSmart keyboard allows them to take notes independently. AlphaSmart s may be available to DSS Students that are eligible for Notetaking Services. It is a great tool; quiet, easy to use, and it’s both PC and Mac friendly.


Recording lectures is highly recommended and may be used in addition to other notetaking service options. Use of a recorder for most class lectures is the best way to capture important information that might be lost because of undeveloped notetaking skills or a disability.

Digital or tape recording allows students to improve their comprehension and understanding of course lectures at a pace of their choosing. Additionally, recording lectures allows for taking general outline notes during the class and listening, while filling in the details of the lecture at a later time.

Echo Smart pen

Smart pen are a combination of taking your own notes on special dot paper and recording of the class all in one unit.  Record everything you write and hear so you'll never miss a word.

Notetaking Resources 

The following are resources that students may find helpful for developing notetaking skills:

Check out our DVD, “Study and Note Taking Skills,” presented by Bill Oye, Dean of Student Life


Notetaking services may be provided for eligible students with disabilities in the instructional setting and, in most cases, will be delivered in one of the following manners:

  • acquisition of lecture notes, either through an in-class peer, from a DSS employee, or from the instructor
  • the loan of an AlphaSmart notetaking keyboard
  • tape recording the lectures-Highly Recommended
  • Students will be required to complete, sign, and comply with the notetaking services contract, for each term notes are needed.
  • Students are required to be in class to receive notes from that day.
  • Students are responsible for informing the Notetaking Services Coordinator (NSC) whenever changes occur that affect the students' need for notetaking services.
  • All notes are emailed to the recipient (DSS student) from the notetaker.


1. Visit Notetaking Services to determine assistance needed for notes.

2. Complete Notetaking Services contract for each term at the time of registration, identifying the course(s) for which notetaking is requested. You will be requested to choose one of the following options:

  • First level of independence: student is encouraged to find someone in the class to be a notetaker or to take a letter to the instructor of the class so an anonymous announcement can be made; or student may mail announcement to the instructor via campus mail in order to remain anonymous.
  • DSS will compare all prospective notetakers' schedules for possible matches.

3. A notetaker will be assigned by DSS for individuals who have notetaking accommodation.

Lecture Notes

If lecture notes are required, students are encouraged to discuss their needs with their instructors and find someone in the class willing to photocopy their notes. Another option is taking a pre-written letter from DSS to the instructor of the class so an anonymous announcement can be made that duplicate notes are needed. Duplicate notetaking paper is available, free of charge, from SSC DSS office 248. When notetakers have been found, have them contact the NSC to discuss their compensation options.

If students' efforts are unsuccessful, or if students are not comfortable discussing their accommodations with their instructor or classmates, the NSC can facilitate and model this process, by speaking with the instructor and/or making the announcement in class.

DSS Notetakers

Returning notetakers should submit applications, including sit-in times, before each term begins or within the first two weeks of each term and within one week of each summer session. Students who have not been a notetaker for our office should submit applications as soon as possible for consideration.

If you are contacted by phone or email, you should respond as quickly as possible.


Notetakers compensation will be either early registration for the next term or a certificate of volunteerism showing twenty hours of service. Some instructors offer extra points towards an assignment or the final grade for students who volunteer on campus as well.

NOTE: Notetakers must follow through with their commitment to receive compensation of any kind.