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.

Students Receiving Notes

How do I know if I am eligible to get a note-taker?

Whether you are eligible to receive note-taking services will be determined on the basis of the review completed by the Disability Access Advisor, which will take into consideration your disability, the course demands, availability of online notes etc. Note-taking assistance is considered the last option for receiving copies of lecture material and it is your responsibility to arrange for access to materials wherever possible (e.g., lectures may be recorded and available online from IT Services, notes may be posted online by your instructor or on Canvas or be available from a friend, the instructor or Teaching Assistant). When meeting with instructors to discuss your accommodations, ask if they can assist with obtaining notes.

If I have explored all other options for getting copies of class material (e.g., notes from friends, the instructor or TA) and still need note-taking assistance, what the is process for obtaining it?

The need for, and entitlement to, note-taking assistance is determined on a case-by-case basis by your Disability Access Advisor. 

If you are approved for this accommodation, the CAL will request that the instructor make an announcement in class that there is a student that needs a note-taker and that anyone interested should contact the CAL. Instructors are requested to keep information regarding a student’s identity strictly confidential and the student’s name should not be mentioned in the announcement.

When a note-taker is identified, the CAL will notify you directly.

Students requesting note-takers should advise the CAL whether or not they prefer that their identity be shared with the note-taker or kept confidential.

While we will do our best to assist you, we cannot guarantee that a note-taker will be found for every course in which note-taking assistance is required. If the term is progressing and you are concerned that no note-taker has been found for your course(s), you may wish to consult with your instructor to see if they can assist, or contact a Disability Access Advisor to discuss other options.

What level of interaction am I expected to maintain with my note-taker over the course of the semester?

You are not required to maintain any level of interaction with the note-taker.  If you find that you are not satisfied with the quality or timeliness of the notes you receive, you should first inform the CAL, so that this issue can be addressed with the note-taker.  As a student with a disability you are assured confidentiality, and only if you indicate a desire to break confidentiality will you be provided with the name of the note-taker.  If you wish to waive confidentiality we have a few tips for making sure that you have a positive and successful note-taking experience with your student volunteer:

Once your note-taker is identified, contact them to chat about their note-taking style and any preferences you may have. Every student has a note-taking format they prefer, or which they believe to be the most beneficial to their learning style. You should discuss note-taking strategies and tips, and anything else that will be helpful for working together.

Throughout the semester, give feedback to your note-taker on the quality and usefulness of their notes, and give any suggestions or hints you have in mind. 

What if I am absent from a class? Will I still receive notes?

We understand that like any of us, you may be subject to the occasional cold, flu or one of life's other trials and tribulations which may result in missing a class or two. As, in most instances, the note-taker is unaware of the identity of the student for whom he or she is taking notes, you should expect that your notes will be provided even if you are absent for a day.  As notes are intended to supplement, but not replace, lectures, all students receiving note-taking assistance are expected to attend all classes unless otherwise excused.  If a pattern of frequent unexplained absences are detected, there is the possibility that the service will be discontinued. 

What if my note-taker misses a class? Will I still receive notes?

If your note-taker is absent from class, it is their responsibility to arrange for an alternate note-taker, or make other accommodations, to ensure that you still receive your notes. The CAL asks that note-takers who have missed a class get replacement notes from another class mate who also takes good notes, and in turn provide these to you within 24 hours of the lecture, as per the standard not-taking procedure.

What if I am unsatisfied with the quality of notes that I receive from my note-taker? 

You should inform the CAL immediately regarding any problems with notes - if they are incomplete, late, not very readable, etc. We rely on you to let us know if there are problems. We also recommend that you periodically take copies of the notes you have received to be evaluated by your instructor and/or TA, to make sure they are adequate for the needs of the course.