Student Handbook Chapter 14 - Volunteer Notetakers

Student Handbook Chapter 14 - Volunteer Notetakers

This page provides information specific to using a volunteer notetaker; for general information see the Service Providers Page.

Accommodations provided

The Center for Accessible Resources (CAR) facilitates the use of volunteer notetakers whenever possible. Students should take the steps listed below to identify a suitable volunteer notetaker in each of their classes.

How to find a volunteer notetaker

Ask someone in class to share notes. Students may provide no-carbon-required (NCR) paper for the volunteer notetaker (available in CAR).

If students are uncomfortable approaching classmates about sharing their notes, faculty members may help by identifying a suitable person. Faculty may also provide lecture notes, or make a general announcement to the class requesting volunteers to remain after class. Faculty may then assist with introductions, if time permits.

If a student and a faculty member are unable to identify a suitable person within a reasonable period of time (one week), the student should return to CAR and notify staff of the problem. CAR will work with students and faculty to explore other options.


At the beginning of the term:

  • Practice asking someone to be a notetaker. Think about how to approach the person, and what to say. Ask CAR staff or other students with disabilities.
  • If needed, ask faculty for help when discussing the Letter of Accommodation. Usually, faculty can recommend a student or ask for volunteers at the next class session.
  • Consider people who sit near the front and pay attention or students from other classes.
  • Select a notetaker(s) as soon as possible.
  • Find one regular notetaker and one or two substitute notetakers for each class is suggested.
  • Give each notetaker a PDF: Notetaker Tips Handout.
  • Exchange contact information with notetakers so any absences can be communicated. This partnership may also work into a study group.

During the term:

  • When using NCR paper: be sure to have a good supply handy at all times. Do not send notetakers to pick-up the NCR packets. Be sure to explain how to use it!
  • Remember to thank notetakers throughout the term, and let them know that their help is appreciated. For example, tell them their notes were a big help when studying for an exam, or that the information was well organized.
  • Even when using notetaker services, it is important to attend class regularly, take notes, and actively participate.
  • Occasionally, students have problems with their volunteer notetakers. The notetaker may not write down enough information, or their writing may be hard to read. This can be an uncomfortable situation. Students may wish to discuss the problem with CAR or other students with disabilities who have faced this same dilemma.

Near the end of the term:

  • Consider writing short "Thank You" notes to notetakers telling them how much their help is appreciated.
  • If a notetaker shares future classes, ask if they are willing to continue being a notetaker.

Please see the student agreement for using service providers, such as notetakers, on CAR's Student Agreement Page.

Questions or concerns? Students should immediately contact their CAR Accommodation Specialist from CAR's Contact page. If needed, visit CAR's Grievances Page for information on informal and formal complaint processes.