TIPS FOR GOOD NOTETAKING

As a paid notetaker, you are responsible for providing class notes to a student with a disability that prevents them from taking their own notes. This means that if you are unable to attend a class session, you must obtain a copy of the class notes for the student. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you find a back-up notetaker in the class that you can call in case you can’t be in class to provide notes for the student.

  1. Be on time. Many professors give important information during the first five or ten minutes of the class.

  2. Ask for feedback. Talk with the student about the quality of your notes. Encourage the student to give you suggestions on how to improve the notes for his/her use.

  3. Be unbiased. Don’t interject your opinions in the notes.

  4. Clarify each page with a number, title and/or date.

  5. Write legibly. Ask the student if your writing is clear enough to understand. Many notetakers use a laptop to take notes in class, then email a copy to the student. Some notetakers type up their handwritten notes after class, then email a copy to the student. Either of these options provides more legible notes and is preferred.

  6. Leave blanks if you are unsure, or miss something the instructor says. Fill it in later or ask the instructor for clarification. If you are not sure of the spelling, write sp? above it and correct it later if possible. Note the important technical terms that may show up on an exam.

  7. Use white space effectively. If you space out the main ideas, the student will be able to process the notes more effectively.

  8. Make points for emphasis. Underline important words and phrases or use any marks such as asterisks, starts, circles, etc. Discuss different possible styles with the student.

  9. Use examples given by the instructor. Include diagrams and illustrations given on the blackboard or on charts brought in by the instructor. Be sure to indicate where the information was obtained.

  10. Organize the information in the best way for the student and you.

  11. Include as much as possible. If there is class participation, try to summarize the discussion in your notes.

  12. Use abbreviations only if the student is familiar with them. You may work out a system with the student to abbreviate commonly used terms. In any case, ask his/her preference.

  13. Rework the notes later, and make a typed copy if possible. Leave margin space as you are taking notes so that you may make additions or clarifications later.

  14. Be flexible. Continue to work with the student in determining the best way to include classroom information.


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