Disability Services

Notetaking Services for Students with Disabilities

There are many reasons why students experience challenges with taking notes in classes. Disability & Testing Services offers accommodations to assist students with difficulties students experience with this necessary aspect of retaining information and studying for their classes. Students work with the staff in Disability & testing Services to determine which accommodations are most appropriate to meet the student’s needs.

Some students may not have the ability to take notes in an active classroom because of difficulties related to their disability. Peer notetaking services as well as a contracted service called Note-Taking Express are approved in some courses for students when being able to actively take notes by the student may not be successful or would create a significant barrier to their participation in the course. The differences between peer notes and Note-Taking Express are detailed below. The intent of these notetaking services is to provide the student a complete set of notes for the class sessions which they would use in combination with notes they take for other course materials.

Because note taking is an important skill for retention and studying, we do also approve accommodations to support and facilitate students being able to take their own notes. View the information about Notetaking Assistance Accommodations for more information. At times the Note Taking Assistance accommodations will be approved in tandem with Notetaking Services for students who do not need peer notes for every situation or as an alternative for when it is not possible to get a peer note taker.

Notetaking Services

This accommodation is often referred to as peer notes. The general process is

  1. Students request the Notetaking Services accommodation during their accommodation request for classes
  2. We review and approve the request
  3. Students need to confirm their request within 3 weeks of the beginning of the term or their request (which ever comes later
  4. The Notetaking team recruits a person in the class to share notes
  5. The notetaker uploads copies of their notes to the Disability Services Online System within 48 hours of the class session
  6. The student downloads the notes.

Below is the language that appears in faculty notification letters and the E-Form agreement that students acknowledge each term which gives further explanation.

Language in FNL for Notetaking Services

Complete access to courses includes the ability to leave class with a usable set of notes. Some disabilities hinder the ability to take one’s own notes, often because of hearing, processing speed, writing fluency, or a variety of other reasons. As a result, notetaking is considered a reasonable accommodation under Sec. 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. We will secure a volunteer student notetaker for this student as described below. We cannot require faculty notes. If, however, your notes are available and you do not object to sharing them, they may be very helpful to the student.

Our office will outreach to students in the course directly to recruit. However, if a student approaches you or you are aware of a student that would be an excellent candidate, please feel free to refer them to our office. We do provide compensation or a certificate of volunteer hours. The compensation is typically $50/credit hour for undergraduate course and $75/credit hour for graduate and professional courses.

In the event our recruiting efforts are unsuccessful, we may outreach to you to request an in-class announcement be made in-person or via BlackBoard. If making announcements to the class, do not name the student receiving notes. The student submitting notes also is not identified to the student receiving notes, unless consent is given to share their name.

Additional Information about Notetaking Services can be found at http://www.csuohio.edu/disability/notes.

If you are providing your notes for the student or are providing information via PowerPoints or other handouts that the student can use as a complete set of notes, please let Disability Services know by sending an e-mail to odsnotes@csuohio.edu. If your class is not a typical lecture course or notes for course material are not necessary for the class, please also let us know so we can make note and cancel the request.

If you have any questions, please contact Disability & Testing Services for assistance.

Statement for Faculty Assisting with Recruitment

If faculty are asked or wish to assist with finding a peer note taker for a course, we ask them to use the following language in their efforts. This is to avoid sharing too much information and to help maintain confidentiality of the student receiving notes and the student sharing notes.

You have a fellow student that is unable to take notes due to a disability. We need a student to volunteer to share their notes with this student. We need help from someone who takes legible and detailed notes and is not likely to miss many classes to assist us with this. If you are interested, please outreach to the Office of Disability Services at odsnotes@csuohio.edu
Disability Services is offering note takers $50 per credit hour for undergraduate courses, $75 per credit hour for graduate and professional school courses OR a volunteer certificate. Note takers must submit notes for the entire semester. The stipend is payable at the end of the semester.
Your assistance is appreciated.

If you identify a volunteer it is also helpful if you notify Disability Services at odsnotes@csuohio.edu. That way Disability Services follow up with the student regarding the process as soon as possible.

E-Form for Notetaking Services Agreement

Notetaking services is an accommodation approved by your disability specialist. There are a several interactive steps that must be taken for its implementation:

  • You must request notetaking accommodations each semester for each class you wish to receive them. This must be done at the beginning of the semester when requesting Faculty Notification Letters at https://andes.accessiblelearning.com/CSUOhio/.
  • After the start of the semester you must confirm your request for notes.
  • You will receive 2 e-mail notifications at the end of the first two weeks of the semester requesting that you confirm your notes request for each class. You must click on Yes in one of these notifications for each class or confirm the request via the Notetaking Services section of the Disability Services Online System linked above.
  • If you do not need notes, select "No" in one of the e-mail notifications or do not confirm the request for notes and it will be automatically cancelled.
  • If you do not confirm your notes request by the end of week three of the semester or 3 weeks after your request for accommodations your notes request will be automatically cancelled.
  • Notetakers are recruited after students confirm their notes request. When you confirm your request for notes in our system the Notetaking Team will send a mass mailing to students in your class to attempt to recruit a notetaker if one has not already been identified. If that effort does not yield results, we may contact the faculty to request they make an announcement or assist with recruitment.
  • We offer compensation for students submitting notes. For the notetaker to be compensated, they must submit notes through our online portal.
  • Notetakers assigned this role do not have the responsibility of submitting notes directly to students or providing any other role such as tutoring for students receiving the notes.
  • Students receiving notes will access those notes through the Disability Services Online System
  • https://andes.accessiblelearning.com/CSUOhio/.
  • It is assumed that both the student receiving notes and the notetaker wish to remain anonymous. We will not share your name with the notetaker unless they know of you through other student employment in our office. We also do not share the name of the notetaker with the students receiving notes unless we have permission from the notetaker.
  • Note-taking services are provided to augment notes that you take in class.
  • Notes may not be provided when you miss a class or if a student’s attendance exceeds of what can be covered by their attendance accommodation if applicable.
  • It is your responsibility to notify the Office of Disability Services, if there is a problem with receiving your notes at odsnotes@csuohio.edu.
  • If you are receiving notes and decide that you do not need them for a class, please contact odsnotes@csuohio.edu to request the accommodation for that class be cancelled.
  • If it is not possible for a notetaker to be identified, our staff will contact you to discuss alternatives.

The following considerations are made when determining if notes will be provided in a class.

  • Is the class in person or live streamed and lecture based?
  • If the class is asynchronous and lectures are recorded or there are no lectures do the functional limitations of your disability cause difficulties where you would still require notes?
  • Does the faculty provide adequate supports in place of notes?

Notetaking Services requests are set in our system as explicit approval. That means these considerations are looked at when approving the accommodation before the faculty notification letter is sent to the faculty. We may determine based on the information we have about your disability as well as the information we have about the class that some requests will be cancelled before the faculty notification letter is sent out. In the faculty notification letter, there is language directing faculty to contact us if notes are not required for the course or if they provide adequate supports like lecture notes, PowerPoints that are setup as notes, or aides like guided notes. Faculty would also contact us if notes are not required because the class is more hands on, experiential, or lab based so notes are not necessary for tasks like exams or quizzes. We may cancel the request for notetaking services after receiving such information from faculty. If you disagree with this determination, please contact your advisor in Disability Services or e-mail odsnotes@csuohio.edu.

Cancellation of Eligibility

If a student is requesting but not accessing the notes provided for a class, Disability Services may determine that notes are not a necessary accommodation any longer. We can see which notes a student has accessed in our system. If a student is not viewing the provided notes, we may determine that the provision of the service is no longer necessary based on the student not using the provided accommodation.

Note-Taking Express (NTE)

Students who are eligible for Notetaking Services are also eligible for this service. If a student is using Note-Taking Express, they would be using that service as an alternative to the peer notes service we have traditionally offered. Students would be responsible for attending classes and recording the lectures to upload to Note-Taking Express. If a student chooses to use NTE for a class, they would not also receive peer notes for the same class.

Students who use NTE would also need to abide by the terms of the lecture recording agreement that they acknowledge each term in the Disability Services Online System.

Visit the Note-Taking Express Channel on YouTube to find informational videos on the use of the service.

Description in Faculty Notification Letter

Note-Taking Express is an alternative option to the peer notetaking Services accommodation provided through Disability & Testing Services. Note Taking Express is a web-based, notetaking platform that provides written notes to students from audio or video recordings that they upload into the note-taking express system. Note-Taking Express then uses live human note-takers to produce summary notes from the recording. Students can organize their notes on the NTE platform. They can upload other files and materials to be incorporated into the notes if they wish. Students can choose to take their own notes within the platform or send the audio files to an NTE note-taker. This option provides students with the independence to take good quality notes, without having to rely on a peer.

Cleveland State University is contracting with this service and all materials uploaded are only available to our students approved for using this service. At the conclusion of a term students lose access to materials uploaded for the courses and this access is controlled by Disability & Testing Services. Materials are saved to a cloud service and only accessible to the student, and staff at NTE who are assisting with composing notes. After access to a course is closed by Disability & Testing Services the materials and recordings will be deleted from NTE servers.

Any recordings or materials generated from the use of this service are for the student’s personal study purposes only and are not to be distributed or shared with others. Students acknowledge their responsibilities for this each term in our Lecture Recording Agreement. It is important to note that the recording of classroom sessions as an accommodation for students with disabilities may not be restricted as specifically addressed under Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Difference Between Notetaking Services (peer notes) and Note-Taking Express

Notetaking Services uses a student who is recruited from the students who are in the classroom. NTE is a service where students record and add information for the class session and the notes that are created are by a person working for the contracted service and is not in the classroom. If the information is not captured in the classroom it cannot be included in the notes with NTE.

Students can use NTE as the recording function and aggregate location of information for a class. Students record audio, video, or take photos to add to their class session information. They can also use these recordings to be able to review the course as well. Instead of submitting for notes students can also use NTE as a more active platform for taking notes and reviewing class information. If students using Notetaking Services through peer notes are not taking down or recording this type of information, they are not able to review the information until the notes are uploaded and need to wait for a notetaker to be assigned.

It is often faster to get notes through NTE than through Notetaking Services. With NTE the wait for recruitment of a peer note taker is not necessary. This could get students access to notes in some cases weeks earlier.

Each form of the service has its benefits. Students who are eligible for Notetaking Services would also be eligible for NTE. Students may only choose to use one of the two services in a course. With questions please reach out to odsnotes@csuohio.edu.