OSWD's Note Taking Services Program provides note-taking services for students with disabilities by placing Note Takers in requested classes.

Note Taking Services can take several forms, so long as the outcomes are consistent, reliable, and achieve the same results. The most common Note Taking Service involves a scribe, the person taking notes, placed in a classroom with the OSWD student. However, there are other effective means of accommodation; such tools include, but are not limited to:

  • copies of PowerPoint presentations
  • lecture notes
  • written handouts
  • Blackboard

This range of options ensures that the student's needs are met.

Students who request Note Taking assistance should complete a "Note Taking Services Request Form", including the affidavit at the end of the application. The completed form should be handed or e-mailed to the student's OSWD counselor, at least two weeks before the beginning of a semester. Upon approval of the request, the OSWD counselor turns the form and affidavit over to the Note Taking Services Program Coordinator so timely arrangements can be made.

Once the student's request form is received, OSWD will respond within 48 hours with a receipt. Requests will be completed in the order received. The Note Taking Services Program will assign an undergraduate student employed as a Note Taker to requested classes. It is preferable to use as a Note Taker a student who is enrolled in those classes, since this student Note Taker will already have access to the resources needed to take notes effectively.

Like all accommodations, Note Taking requests must be supported by medical, psychological, or psycho-educational documentation, approved and signed by the student's disability support services counselor. The student must inform the counselor of the desire for note Taking Services, and provide copies of his or her class schedule and a completed "Note Taking Services Form" to both the counselor and the Note Taking Services Coordinator.

The student must retrieve class notes by coming to OSWD and collecting them from the assigned personal folder, labeled with the Student's Identification number. Notes typically are placed in the folder within 24 hours after the end of a class meeting. The student must keep the Note Taking Services Coordinator informed of any difficulties. If there is any dissatisfaction with the quality of service, professionalism, or competence of the Note Taker, or missing class notes, the student should contact the Note Taking Services Coordinator.

Note Takers are not expected to attend classes when examinations or individual activities are scheduled, nor are they expected to take notes in the class if the student is absent.

Upon request from a registered graduate student, the Graduate School will provide a student Note Taker for on-campus, face-to-face graduate credit courses. Students who wish to have a Note Taker in a class should inform the professor who will attempt to solicit a Note Taker from among the other students. Once a Note Taker is identified, the requesting student will fill out a request form, available from each departmental office, and bring it to the office of the Graduate Program Specialist in Fowler Hall 202A. Note Takers then distribute a copy of their notes to any students who want them, not just OSWD clients. Note Takers are reimbursed by the Graduate School for their service. In order to receive maximum compensation, students who wish to serve as Note Takers in their classes should complete the free Note Taker training course offered before fall classes begin. For more information, contact Katherine Spiegel, Graduate Program Specialist for Graduate Student Support Services in Room 202A, Fowler Hall, (202) 250-2472 (VP).