Helpful Hints for Notetakers
Florida Atlantic University
An Informational Brochure from the
Student Accessibility Services
Division of Student Affairs
WHY DOES THE STUDENT NEED MY NOTES?
You have been asked to provide a copy of your notes to a student with a disability who is in your class. The nature of the disability makes it difficult for the student to take notes. For your information:
- Has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits at least one major life activity, including (but not limited to) walking, seeing, speaking, hearing, breathing, learning, care for one’s self, and interacting with others.
- Has a record of such impairment or
- Is regarded by others as having such an impairment.
Your notes are a valuable aid for the student with a disability. You may find that by taking careful notes and using the following suggestions, your notes will be better, clearer and more useful to you personally.
WHAT EXACTLY AM I VOLUNTEERING?
You are only volunteering your notes. If you are registered with the Volunteer Center, you will be amassing hours just by taking notes in class. It’s that easy!
You are not volunteering your time in any other way. You are not expected to meet with the student for study sessions. You are not expected to tutor. You are not expected to sit together in class. You are only providing notes which the student with a disability can use. If you decide you want to help the student in any other capacity that is your decision alone.
HELPFUL HINTS FOR NOTETAKING
Below are some helpful hints to make your notes more useful for someone else and maybe for you too!
Provide backdated notes of lectures given before you began notetaking. Label each set of notes with the lecture title, date, and number of pages.
Write as many meaningful facts and details as you can:
- Write down everything the professor writes on the board. The professor must think that information is important.
- Record all technical facts, names, dates, equations, diagrams and examples.
- Note clues the professor gives indicating that something is important, such as the repetition of a definition or point of information, change of voice, body language, verbal cues, etc.
Listen intently from the beginning of the lecture. The professor may outline the lecture in the first few minutes and often will make sure that important details that have not been explained are covered in the last 5-10 minutes.
Plan ahead for future absences. Please ask a friend or classmate ahead of time to assist you in this any regard.
Circle or star (*) assignments & announcements, such as test dates.
Reading the text and reviewing your notes before class will improve your understanding of the lecture.
Make the notes easier to read and more effective as a study aid by:
- Using one side of the paper only
- Using dark, ball point pen
- Writing legibly
- Leaving blanks when you are unsure (get clarification from the professor after class)
- Using correct spelling (if unsure of a word, write “sp” above the word and correct it later)
- Using white space effectively (separate main ideas and other topics from the supporting details with a line or two)
- Marking points of emphasis (change the print, circle, underline, use stars, etc.)
- Underlining definitions and including them verbatim
- Using abbreviations carefully (make a list at the beginning or end of your notes as to unusual abbreviations you used and what they represent)
HOW MAY I KNOW MORE ABOUT THE STUDENT?
In Student Accessibility Services (SAS), we strive to keep our students anonymous. Due to certain federal laws which protect the student’s anonymity and other facts, the student’s full name and disability are not disclosed. Many students with disabilities choose to remain anonymous and don’t identify themselves to their notetakers. However, some students with disabilities want their notetakers to know who they are. If the student is okay with disclosing their identity, the Notetaking Coordinator will contact you via email.
HOW DO I SHARE MY NOTES?
As of summer 2017, the note sharing process is now paperless. Once the Notetaking Coordinator has added you in our online database as a volunteer, you will be able to upload your notes through the SAS Clockwork Online Portal. It takes 24 hours for volunteer accounts to become active. After 24 hours, log in at https://clockwork.fau.edu/ClockWork/user/misc/login.aspx
Once you are able to sign in, click on the "course notes" tab and then click on "courses/notes" in the upper left corner. You will see a tab that says, “add a potential course.” When you click on the tab, you will then be able to select each course in which you are willing to provide notetaking services. After you add your courses, please upload sample notes so that our students can see what kind of notetaker you are. You will receive an automatic email from SAS when a student selects you as their notetaker for their class.
After a student selects you as a volunteer notetaker, we highly encourage volunteers to upload their notes no longer than 24 hours after each lecture. To upload your notes, click on the link that says, “upload lecture notes” right next to your courses. You will need to select a lecture date for each upload. Additionally, you will have an option to add comments if necessary.
DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE IMPORTANCE OF YOUR CONTRIBUTION TO THE SUCCESS OF THE STUDENT WITH A DISABILITY!
YOUR HELP IS SINCERELY APPRECIATED!
With your cooperation in sharing your notes through the SAS Clockwork Online Portal, the student has a chance to concentrate on the content of the information presented in class instead of on the mechanics for getting the lecture down on paper. This shifts the emphasis back to what is to be learned instead of how to learn it and this may make all the difference for that student when it comes to grades and tests. Your notes may make the difference in the student’s ability to demonstrate what she or he knows.