At the University of Vermont, students with documented disabilities work with an Accessibility Specialist to determine reasonable and appropriate accommodations. Students eligible for the peer notes accommodation may request notes for any of their synchronous, lecture-based courses.
Students Eligible for Peer Notes
Students eligible for the peer notes accommodation are expected to:
- Attend class (unless your accommodation states otherwise). This accommodation is designed to supplement your own notes, fill in any information that you miss during a lecture and provide you with equal access in the classroom. It is NOT a substitute for classroom attendance or meant to replace your own notes.
- Send your accommodation letters to your instructors at the beginning of each semester through the myACCESS Student Portal.
- Request notes for your synchronous, lecture-based courses through the myACCESS Student Portal. Notes requests may be submitted at any point during the semester, but some classes require additional recruitment. So request your notes early!
- Check that your notes are legible, well-ogranized and uploaded consistently. We rely on YOU to let us know if you have any issues or concerns with the quality of your notes.
Students who miss class(es) due to an illness, quarantine, or who have a temporary disability that hinders their capacity to take notes, may be given *temporary access to peer notes. If you think you might qualify, then you may contact the Note Taking Program, explain your circumstances, and list the class(es) for which peer notes would be helpful.
*If your situation is expected to extend beyond one semester, then please fill out the Getting Started with SAS form. This will allow our office to verify your temporary disability as well as to determine if you are eligible for additional accommodations.
Accommodation Letters: SAS students are encouraged to send their instructor(s) a copy of their accommodation letter detailing each accommodation pertaining to that course as early as possible in the semester. We also encourage that students and faculty meet one-on-one to review the student's accommodations, and discuss any questions or concerns.
If you have a question about the accommodation(s) and how they impact the integrity of your course, please contact the SAS specialist listed on the accommodation letter as soon as possible!
Attendance: the notes accommodation is NOT a replacement for classroom attendance (unless specifically stated otherwise in their accommodation letter). Peer notes are designed to supplement the SAS student's own notes, fill in any information that they miss during a lecture and provide them with equal access in the classroom.
If you have concerns about a student’s attendance and have not been able to connect with the student directly, please contact the student’s specialist and/or the Note Taking Program as soon as possible, and we will work with both parties to help faciliate communication.
How it works:
- Students send their accommodation letter(s), notifying the faculty that they are eligible for the peer notes accommodation.
- Students submit an individual peer notes request for each class that they are enrolled in, which automatically generates a confirmation email. Upon receipt of this email, faculty should follow the instructions to help facilitate the process of securing a peer note taker. If a note taker has already been found, or it has been communicated that notes are not appropriate for how this course is formatted, then please feel free to disregard these automated emails.
- Students are matched with a peer note taker who is asked to upload notes to a secure database within 48 hours of each class.
- Peer notes are not typically provided for labs, online, asynchronous, or discussion-based courses. Please let us know if your course falls into any of these categories, and we can close any affected open notes requests.
- Professors are welcome to share their own notes as a substitute for peer notes. Please let us know if this pertains to your class, and we will notify the SAS students accordingly.
- Cross listed courses can share peer note takers. Please let us know if you are teaching a cross listed course and we can ensure that everyone has access to the same course code.
Note Taker Recruitment
On the first day of class, many professors will provide the following reminders during their classroom announcements.
- For SAS Students:
- remind students to send their accommodation letters, and encourage them to schedule a one-on-one meeting to discuss how these accommodations can be implemented in your course.
- list expectations concerning SAS accommodations on the course syllabus.
- For Note Takers: let class know that they are welcome to volunteer as a peer note taker, and refer them to this website if they have any questions. Registration instructions are available under the Note Takers category below.
- Peer Note Takers: any student in the same course who takes neat, legible notes, and attends class regularly.
- TAs: professors are welcome to have their TA share class notes. To set this up, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with their name(s) and course code and we can activate them manually.
- TypeWell Transcribers: for eligible students, a typewell transcriber is hired to provide a transcript of each class lecture.
Purpose: peer note takers are students who choose to support others by sharing the notes that they are already taking with classmates who are working with Student Accessibility Services and who have a documented disability. Peer notes are designed to supplement the SAS student's own notes, fill in any information that they miss during a lecture and provide them with equal access in the classroom.
Benefits: becoming a peer note taker is a simple but rewarding way to participate in the UVM community, and can be a great resume builder! Not only will be you have the opportunity to support your fellow classmates, but many note takers report that voluneering enriches their own classroom experience, as they are more motivated to take thorough, quality notes when they know that someone else will be using them.
As a thank you for your efforts, active peer note takers will receive 45 hours of community service for every course that they shared notes. If you volunteer for 4+ semesters, then you will be eligible to receive the green community service cord to wear with your commencement regalia. Additional incentives may be offered throughout the semester, so keep an eye on your inbox!
Note Taker Expectations
Attendance is required! If you are unable to attend, then please obtain a copy of the missed lecture notes from a friend, or fellow classmate to upload instead.
Uploading Your Notes:
- Upload your notes within 48-hours of each class session.
- Notes should be neat, legible, and include:
- key points and concepts, written in your own words (please include a key for any symbols and/or abbreviations used)
- diligent notation of anything the professor writes on the board
- any other pertinent information (e.g. homework assignments, upcoming exam reminders, review sessions)
- Typed vs. Handwritten Notes:
- typed notes are preferred, but not required (some exceptions may apply), as some course information is better suited to handwritten notes
- handwritten notes are acceptable as long as they are neat, legible, and shared as a single PDF
- Scanning your Notes:
- for at-home scanning, we recommend that you use a phone scanner app, such as Genius Scan (this is a free, user-friendly app that is available for Apple and Android). You may also use your own printer/scanner as long as your system has a "Continuous Scan" feature, which allows you to scan multiple pages into a single document.
- photos of your notes, or multiple individually-scanned pages for a single class lecture are NOT acceptable.
- For ease of use, label your PDFs with the intended course and lecture date.
- If there are no class notes, you can submit a comment to the portal indicating what took place (e.g. exam, no class, etc.) for that lecture date.
- Contact us with questions, comments, and concerns! If you are no longer available to volunteer, you can update your status through the portal, or notify us via email so that we can find a replacement note taker.
Register as a Peer Note Taker
- Visit the myACCESS Student Portal and select the "Notes - for Note Takers" icon. You will be prompted to login using your UVM NetID and password.
- Complete your profile and volunteer for one or all of your enrolled courses.
- Upload sample notes.
- Activation: you will receive a confirmation email once a student has selected you as a peer note taker. If you have any questions, email our office and we will assist you!