Note-Taking Services

Effective, easy-to-understand notes are essential for supporting your learning in a course. Once you’ve registered with Student Accessibility Services, you have access to note-taking services that can provide notes for most classes (with some exceptions). Alternatively, you can volunteer to become a note-taker to give back to your fellow students.

Need support? Contact us

Need to access your notes?

Visit the Student Portal and select “My course notes.” Select “Volunteer note-takers” if you want to volunteer.

Student Portal

Supplement your course notes with help from peer volunteers

Note-taking services can help you stay organized, retain course concepts and study for exams and tests. These services are available for undergraduate, graduate and continuing education courses. Contact your program coordinator and follow the directions in this section to get started.

  • We can’t guarantee notes, but we do everything we can to try to find you a note-taker for your course (if eligible).
  • You should still take your own notes, if possible. This service is meant to supplement the notes you take, not replace them.
  • You still need to attend class. Notes aren’t a substitute for class learning.
  • Your information is confidential. Note-takers won’t know who is accessing their notes, and you don’t have to disclose any information regarding your disability to note-takers to access notes.

Book an appointment with your program coordinator to discuss whether note-taking services are right for you. Then, they can help guide you through the process.

After your program coordinator has connected you with note-taking services, you must activate your request each term on the Student Portal. Select “Course notes” on the Student Portal menu and follow the instructions from there.

We do our best to source volunteer note-takers for the courses you need help with. However, we can’t guarantee note-taking services for all courses.

Additionally, some course types aren’t eligible for note-taking services. These include courses with the following:

  • Instructor notes
  • Podcasted lectures

You may request a note-taker for as many courses as you need. You must do this each term in order to receive notes for your courses.

  1. Sign in to the Student Portal with your MacID and password.
  2. Select “My course notes.”
  3. Follow the provided instructions.

If there isn’t a note-taker assigned for a course you’re taking, you have a few options to get support. Remember, courses with instructor notes and podcasted lectures aren’t eligible for note-taking services.

  • Ask your instructor(s) if they can provide you with lecture notes as an alternative.
  • Ask your instructor(s) if they can make an announcement in class to ask for a note-taker.
  • If you feel comfortable, you can ask someone in your class to take notes and encourage them to register as a volunteer note-taker.

We do our best to recruit effective note-takers by viewing samples of their notes, but we can’t always guarantee the quality or accuracy. We recommend asking your instructor to review the notes periodically.

After you’ve requested note-taking services for your course(s), you can access your notes on the Student Portal. Select “Course notes” on the Student Portal menu and follow the instructions from there.

Notes may be in the following formats:

  • Microsoft Word document (.doc)
  • Adobe portable document format (PDF)
  • Scans of handwritten notes (for some classes such as math or engineering)

If you require notes in a specific format, make an appointment with your program coordinator on the Student Portal. They can help you find appropriate assistive technologies or other ways to access notes.

Become a volunteer note-taker to help your peers

If you consider yourself an effective note-taker, then why not help your peers by becoming a volunteer note-taker in your course(s)? Through recruiting volunteer note-takers, we provide students with disabilities the option to receive notes to supplement their course materials. We seek volunteers for courses from undergraduate, graduate and continuing education programs.

We appreciate your interest in becoming a volunteer note-taker! Your peers do, too. Keep reading to learn how the process works and what you need to know.

  • Sign up to become a volunteer note-taker on the Student Portal. Select “Volunteer note-takers” and follow the provided instructions.
  • When you register to become a note-taker, we ask for samples of your notes to ensure they’ll be helpful for students. Typically, sample notes cover the first three lectures, textbook content or anything that’ll show students your note-taking style.
    • You need to provide sample notes for each course you sign up to take notes for.

It’s important that students requesting note-taking services can effectively access and understand your notes. Here’s how you can format your notes to ensure they’re helpful for your peers.

  • Type your notes and save them as a Word document or Adobe PDF file, if possible.
  • Handwritten notes may be accepted for math, engineering and other courses that involve diagrams, formulas, maps and so on.
    • Ensure your handwriting is legible.
    • Scan your handwritten notes to upload them.
    • Don’t use too much colour, highlighting or other elements that may not translate on the scanned version.

Additionally, follow these helpful note-taking conventions:

  • Number the pages.
  • Include the lecture or chapter number.
  • Underline the titles.
  • Include the dates in the file name and document.
  • Please submit notes for each lecture as separate files. For example, if you have two classes a week, then you should have two separate files each week.