Contact us

Hours: 9 am to 4 pm, Monday to Friday
Centre for Accessible Learning (CAL)
1250 Maggie Benston Centre
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby BC V5A 1S6
Phone: 778.782.3112
Secure Fax: 778.782.4384

Visit our Accessibility Information Page to find detailed information about our office and its accessibility considerations.

Student Note-Takers

What is the note-taking program?

The note-taking program is a service that the Centre for Accessible Learning provides to students with who, because of their disability, are unable to take their own notes in class. The aim of this service is to provide reasonable access to lecture material by "bridging the information gap" that may occur due to a student’s disability, which may be compounded by large classrooms and poor acoustical or visual conditions.

When no other reasonable option is available (e.g., lectures may be recorded, notes may be posted online by the instructor or on Canvas or be available from a friend), the CAL may request volunteer student note-takers from that class. If the volunteer note-taker applies for the job and commits to the requirements of confidentiality, quality and professionalism, they will be hired for taking notes for the duration of the term, and will be provided with a $100 honorarium in the form of a SFU Bookstore giftcard (amount is prorated for service less than 13 weeks). A letter of recommendation is also available upon request. 

What does being a note-taker entail?

The great thing about being a note-taker is that you really don't have to do much more than you already do: go to class and take good notes. We do ask that you commit to attend all your lectures. If you miss a class, you must get notes from a class mate who also takes good notes, and in turn provide those to the student receiving your assistance. 

Once you have applied to the CAL and have signed up to be a note-taker, we ask that you within 24 hours of each class upload your notes to our secure server.

What's in it for me?

Aside from the fact that you're doing something great in helping a fellow student access needed course material:

  • As long as your notes were timely and complete, we will provide you with a $100 honorarium at the end of each term. Not bad, just for going to class and taking notes! You can also ask the CAL to provide a letter of recommendation.
  • Your own note-taking will likely improve. Note-takers often report that their own notes and, in turn, their grades, improve in those courses in which they take notes for another student

How do I become a note-taker?

Where a note-taker is required, the CAL sends emails to the classlist requesting that interested students contact the CAL.  If the email to the classlist is not successful in recruiting a note-taker, the course instructor may make and during the first few weeks of class. That announcement will direct interested students to contact the CAL if they are interested in being a notetaker for the course.  When you contact the CAL you will be asked to provide us with your name, student number, phone number, email address, etc., and the course in which you’ll be taking the notes. You will also be asked to provide a representative sample of your notes.  We will start processing applications at the start of each semester and selected note-takers will be contacted immediately by the CAL.

How do I get my notes to the student receiving my assistance?

You will be given instructions for how to upload your notes to a protected server, which can only be accessed by the student registered with the CAL.  If you are not typing your notes, or if you do not have a scanner of your own, you can come to the CAL during regular hours (Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.), and use the office scanner.

Who runs the note-taking program? Who do I contact if I encounter any problems?

The program is run through the CAL. You will have to contact us to apply as a volunteer note-taker. Also, if you have any problems or concerns regarding note-taking, we are the ones to talk to. We encourage you let us know immediately of any issues that arise during your role as a volunteer note-taker, so that problems can be avoided or resolved as quickly as possible.