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Tips for Volunteer Note Takers and Successful Note-Taking for Students who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Some students with disabilities may have difficulty with the process of listening and/or writing. Students who are deaf or hard of hearing spend most of the time during the lecture either watching the interpreter or watching the lips of the professor if they are speech reading.  This can present a problem when it comes to taking comprehensive notes for any class.  If a student looks down at his or her paper, the next concept or point could be missed.  It is for this reason that the Office of Disability Services (ODS) may recommend that a student with a disability take the opportunity to have someone in the class share notes with them -- the volunteer note taker.

Serving as a volunteer note taker will require little to no additional time.  The student with a disability will provide their note taker with carbon-less NCR paper that allows the volunteer note taker to take notes on one piece of paper and make a duplicate set of notes at the same time.

NCR Paper Tips

  • Make sure you have enough NCR paper for the lecture.
  • Use only two sheets of NCR paper at a time and place on a hard surface -- preferably your desk or table.
  • As you write, press firmly enough to make the duplicate set of notes (not a lot of pressure is needed).
  • At first the duplicate set of notes will appear light in color, but these will darken over time.
  • At the end of the lecture, keep one set of notes for yourself and give the other set to the student for whom you are taking notes.

If you prefer to keep your notes in a spiral bound notebook, simply insert two NCR pages behind the spiral-bound page and take notes as you normally would.

Successful Note-Taking Tips

College students vary in their style and organization when it comes to note taking.  Many students have an effective system for organizing information presented in lecture into class notes; other students feel their note taking skills are haphazard and unorganized.  Following are some suggestions for successful note taking which may help you get the most out of your own notes.  This type of structure also makes it easy for another person to follow your notes.

  • Develop a good outline format.
  • Leave space that allows you to add additional information later.
  • Write announcements and assignments in a consistent location in the notes -- possibly the upper right hand corner.
  • Include page numbers if the instructor references them.
  • Include references to handouts or overheads.

Upon request, the Student Learning Assistance Center can provide examples of other effective approaches to note taking.