Note-taker Handbook

Introduction

Thank you for agreeing to provide note-taker services for a student with a disability. Some students have disabilities that prevent them from being able to take effective and complete notes during class. These disabilities may or may not be readily apparent to another person, but their eligibility to receive note-taking services has been documented and authorized by the Center for Educational Access (CEA). 

This handbook was written to provide note-takers with information about the importance of their role, as well as the details as to how it should be performed. Note-takers should be familiar with all of the material and University policies covered in this handbook. This handbook, revised in August 2016, supersedes ALL previously published note-taker handbooks.

If you have questions, comments, or concerns after reviewing this handbook, please contact the CEA at 479/575-3104, or e-mail ceanotes@uark.edu.  The CEA office is located in the Arkansas Union, room 209 and our office hours are Monday through Friday 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.  Additional information is available on our website:  http://cea.uark.edu .

Thank you again, The CEA Staff

The Role of the Note-taker

  • The role of the note-taker is to provide a student(s) with a disability class notes via regular uploads into CEA Online Student Services.  In doing so, the note-taker facilitates equivalent access to class information available to all students, with or without disabilities.  It is not acceptable to refer a student with a disability to NoteHall or any other paid service for a copy of your notes.
  • Note-taking services are supplemental and are not meant to be instructional. Students with disabilities should not use note-taking services as their sole means of study for the course. Class attendance, participation in class discussions, course readings, handouts, a student’s own class notes, and discussions with the instructor of the course together constitute essential elements of study for a course.
  • Students with disabilities should not request the note-taker to engage in roles that are unrelated to note-taking. For example:
    • Note-takers are not an additional professor or instructor of the class. Students should not ask the note-taker to repeat information from the instructor of the class, nor should they ask the note-taker to meet after class to explain concepts, information, or other class material from the day. Students should not ask the note-taker to clarify the syllabus, classroom policies, assignments, exam material, and related classroom issues. For each of the above-mentioned situations, the student should consult the instructor for the course.
    • Note-takers and students with disabilities should not engage in extraneous relationships with each other. While the CEA understands that some students with disabilities have friends who provide note-taking services, it is imperative to keep social relationships separate from the responsibility to provide notes. Students should not ask the note-taker to meet outside of class except to discuss the exchange of notes, if needed. Furthermore, for these purposes students should not ask the note-taker to engage in activities or behavior not related to the provision of notes. 

 The Process of Note-taking

Note-takers are recruited from classes in which the student(s) with a disability who uses note-taking services enrolls.  A note-taking announcement will be read in class by the instructor and/or the announcement will be posted on Blackboard or emailed to the class roster. Any individual who is willing to accept the responsibility of being a note-taker should sign up through the CEA Online Student Services on the CEA homepage. Log in using your UARK user name and password, then click the “Sign Up as a Note-taker” icon in the log in box. The system may ask for the CRN (class registration number) for each class, which is the number in parenthesis by each of your classes when you first log into ISIS. You could be assigned to be the note-taker for another section of the same class in some instances. You may have to email ceanotes@uark.edu to let the CEA know which form of compensation you are seeking if the selection isn’t made when signing up. Choices are 50 hours of community service, a letter of commendation, a $50 gift card or no compensation.

Once the CEA selects a note-taker for a specific class, the note-taker will receive an email asking them to confirm the assignment by clicking a link connected to CEA Online Student Services. The note-taker may choose to decline the assignment at that time if they want. Once the note-taker has confirmed their assignment they should immediately start uploading their notes into CEA Online Student Services. 

To upload class notes, log in to the CEA Online Student Services on the CEA hompeage. Within your CEA Online Student Services profile, in the navigation links on the left, click on "Upload and View Notes" to upload notes for each class assigned. To upload, each file must be less than 2 MB. We encourage note-takers to upload notes as DOC, DOCX, or RTF to help ensure accessibility. However, PDF format can also be uploaded. Name the file according to the class and date and be sure the format is compatible; not all students have the latest version of MS Word. If you are scanning your notes please be sure the scan resolution isn’t set too high; typically 150 dpi is good for the scan resolution. PowerPoints are typically too big and will need to be converted into a PDF.

It is vital for students with disabilities to receive their notes as soon as possible.  The same day is preferred so they can have equal access to class materials to study for exams and quizzes.  For example, if you take notes in a MWF class and there is a quiz on Monday, the student with a disability will need the Friday's class notes ON Friday to have equal access.

This means typed or scanned notes should be uploaded as soon after class as possible. If the note-taker fails to provide notes in a timely manner, the note-taker will be terminated and no compensation will be provided. Note-takers who are terminated may be blocked from signing up in the future.

  • Typed notes are the preferred method for most lectures.
  • Include class title, call number, and section number in the top left corner of every page of notes (e.g., College Algebra, 1023-21).
  • Include the date next to the class title, etc. (e.g., College Algebra, 1023-21 8/25/14). The date should appear on every page of notes.
  • Include the page number on the right comer of every page of notes.
  • Include notes on any assignments given or dates for upcoming exams, papers, or other evaluative material on the first or last page of notes.
  • Include information on the board, from overheads, and PowerPoint presentations. Although the slides may seem complete, all additional lecture information and class discussion should be included.
  • Include notes from videos or other media outlets that contain information for which students will be evaluated.
  • Listen for repeated details from the instructor.
  • Listen for sentences containing the following words: results, cause, characteristics, purpose, criticisms, contrasts, similarities, and summary.
  • Include any information the instructor indicates will be on the exam.
  • If there were no notes for a particular class meeting, write the following: "No Notes for the class meeting on 00/00/0000". If known, please write the reason no class notes were given, e.g., instructor dismissed class for library research.
  • Use a black or blue pen when taking handwritten notes so the scan will be clear.
  • For a clear scan, only use the front side of the paper, do not write on the back .

Any compensation for sharing notes will occur at the end of each term: approximately early December for Fall, early May for Spring, and early August for Summer sessions and intersessions unless prior arrangements have been made with the CEA.

A note-taker can elect to provide note-taking services in return for confirmation of 50 hours of community service per class, or choose a letter of commendation. If a note-taker chooses this method, the CEA will supply a letter confirming the number of community service hours, or a letter of commendation for the student to attach to a resume when seeking employment following graduation. The note-taker must email ceanotes@uark.edu to inform the CEA if they would like a paper copy on letterhead (pick up at the CEA office) or a PDF copy emailed to them. These will not be sent automatically.

Students who choose either of these methods are also encouraged to log their service hours on the Center for Leadership and Community Engagement’s Volunteer Action Center website (http://volunteer.uark.edu). Students must create a username and password and each time they volunteer they can easily log their hours for their service opportunity or under the Center for Educational Outreach’s Organization. The hours are confirmed by the agency/program the student serves (in this case the CEA) so they have a record of their service that they can easily print. Students who log over 100 hours will be nominated for the Presidential Service Award. The Center for Community Engagement is now a certifying program for a national recognition program, The President's Volunteer Service Award. Students with more than 100 confirmed service hours will receive a signed letter of recognition from the President of the United States along with a lapel pin. For more information or questions regarding logging hours contact: Angela Oxford afoxford@uark.edu or by calling 575-4365.

Note-takers can choose monetary compensation, consisting of a $50 gift card per class however; preference may be given to volunteers who choose community service or a letter of commendation. Non-permanent resident international students will receive a check in lieu of a gift card if they choose monetary compensation due to a difference in tax status.

Those who chose a gift card will have to come by the CEA office IN PERSON to sign for the card as required by the business office. You must come by within 30 days of prior service for tax reporting and business reasons. The CEA is located in the Arkansas Student Union room 209. You must show a photo ID when signing for the card. Remember, the cards will be available approximately early December for Fall, early May for Spring, and early August for Summer sessions and intersessions unless prior arrangements have been made with the CEA.

It is the responsibility of the note-taker to take clear, complete and legible (if hand written and scanned) notes that convey the context of information available to all students in the class.

Note-taking is critical to the mission of the CEA in providing access for qualified students with disabilities, and note-taker class attendance is imperative to that end. The CEA expects the note-taker to attend class on a regular basis. If the note-taker is absent or is going to be absent, it is the responsibility of the note-taker to locate and secure a substitute note-taker for those days absent and upload the notes taken by the substitute. The note-taker should also inform the CEA of any absences by phone, 575-3104 or e-mail, ceanotes@uark.edu.  Three or more absences by the note-taker will result in immediate termination as a note-taker for the CEA, and no compensation will be provided.

Likewise the CEA expects students with disabilities to regularly attend class. Class notes are supplemental in nature and do not replace actual class attendance. Students with disabilities may forfeit the right to receive notes from classes missed unless approved by the CEA, or if prior arrangements have not been made between the student with a disability and the note-taker. In the case of a student missing three or more classes, the note-taker should continue to take notes, but should contact the CEA to find out if he/she should upload the notes. 

The CEA expects the note-taker to arrive to class on time. Excessive tardiness will result in immediate termination as a note-taker for the CEA, and no compensation will be provided.

Likewise the CEA expects the student with a disability to be prompt; nonetheless, the CEA realizes that some students with disabilities will be late to class due to the functional limitations of their condition. If, however, the note-taker is concerned about the student with a disability's tardiness, please contact the CEA as soon as possible.  Excessive tardiness may result in forfeiture of note-taking services except when advance notice has been given by the student with a disability to the CEA.

Note-takers who have concerns about some aspect of the note-taking process and/or the student they are taking notes for should contact the CEA at 575-3104 or ceanotes@uark.edu immediately.  The CEA staff members will ascertain the appropriate course of action based on information gathering and discussions with the student with a disability, the instructor of the course, and the note-taker.