Note-taking for most students is a key part of learning and remembering information from lectures, class discussions, and other activities. While most would agree that taking quality notes is integral to the learning process, some students experience a barrier as a result of their disability. Student Disability Services (SDS) employs hundreds of students to serve as peer notetakers for students with documented disabilities, including but are not limited to: learning, visual, hearing and physical disabilities.
I sat down with Kristen Holbrook, a senior Geology & Environmental Studies-Environmental Studies major who became interested in working with SDS when she heard about the job opportunity during orientation. She has been a notetaker for two years and currently provides notes for several of her classes.
Notes provided by peer notetakers allow equal access to the classroom by supplementing a student’s notes or providing notes for students who are in class but face a barrier taking their own notes for a variety of reasons. For example, disability may interfere with the ability to take notes because students must watch a sign language interpreter closely, they may have low vision or very limited use of their hands, or they may have difficulty listening to the instructor and writing at the same time.
Since becoming a note-taker, Kristen claims “It keeps me honest. I definitely go to class to make sure I get the notes.” Holbrook stated that since becoming a notetaker, she is more organized, and the quality of her notes has improved.
She recommends everyone serve as a notetaker because it can help you become an even better note-taker. Another added benefit is that she has developed better relationships with her instructors since she often needs clarification or additional information for her notes.
Peer note takers are typically enrolled in the class in which the request was made. If you take detailed, well-organized notes, and are willing to share a copy of your notes; serving as a notetaker is a great opportunity to make a positive difference, potentially improve your grades, and earn extra money for doing something you are already doing.
Visit the SDS website for more information on becoming a notetaker.
Kiera Przygoda is a senior at UT majoring in communication studies. She is the undergraduate public relations intern for the Office of Communication and Marketing. She has a passion for writing and media and a love for Disney. Kiera is also a student assistant at SEC Network and VFL Films.