Note Taking Resources


What is a Peer Note Taker?

A peer note taker is the traditional form of Note Taking Support. A peer note taker is a student who is also enrolled in the same course and section as the student with the peer note taking accommodation. The peer note taker volunteers to share their class notes with the by uploading them to the Access CAS System.

How do I Request a Peer Note Taker?

You will first need to fill out the Note Taking Support Form, Google Forms, (opens in new window). This form helps the CAS staff know why other forms of note taking support may not work, the name of the course, the section number, and the instructor name. Filling out the  Note Taking Support Form is your first step in the process. Once a coordinator has reviewed your request for a Peer Note Taker, students enrolled in the particular course and section will be emailed as part of the recruitment process. Should a student volunteer to serve as a Peer Note Taker, the note taker will be assigned to the course and may begin uploading notes through the Access CAS Note Taker Network. Notes may also be downloaded by logging into Access CAS and selecting Note Taker Network. 

A Peer Note Taker Has Been Assigned to the Course, but I can't Access the Notes. What's Wrong?

Students will need to sign/acknowledge their Access Plans. Students who have not acknowledged their Access Plans will not have access to the Note Taker Network tab.

Will the Peer Note Taker Upload Notes from Previous Class Meetings?

The Peer Note Taker is not required to upload any notes taken prior to the date they were assigned the position. The note taker may choose to upload previous notes, but they are not required to do so as part of their note taking position. 

Is a Peer Note Taker Financially Compensated?

No, peer note takers are not monetarily compensated. Notes are provided on a voluntary basis. However, students who volunteer to serve as peer note takers, and consistently upload notes in a timely manner, receive priority registration and community service hours for their efforts.

Will the Peer Note Taker Know the Identity of the Student for Whom Services Are Provided?

The Center for Accessibility Services will not reveal the identity of the student with the accommodation to the peer note taker. Once assigned as the peer note taker for the course, the note taker will upload his/her/their notes to the Access CAS platform. The student with the accommodation may log into their Access CAS portal and select “Note Taker Network” to access any notes that have been uploaded by the peer note taker. There should be no direct contact between the peer note taker and the student regarding notes. While a student with the accommodation for a peer note taker may choose to disclose their note taking accommodation to others, the CAS office will not do so.

What If a Student or Faculty Member Asks a Peer Note Taker to Share His/Her/Their Notes Outside of the Access CAS Note Taker Network?

Peer note takers should only upload their notes to the Access CAS Note Taker Network platform.  Uploading notes to the Access CAS Note Taking Network ensures that all students who have been approved for, and requested, a peer note taker in the specific course will receive them. While a student may identify themselves to the peer note taking as needing notes, the peer note taker should not email notes directly to one student as a form of access. Emailing notes may unintentionally exclude other students with the same accommodation from receiving their notes in a timely manner.

Peer note takers are not required, by the Center for Accessibility Services, to share their notes with students who have missed an individual class meeting due to illness, emergency, etc. While a peer note taker may choose to share their notes with other individuals in the course, they are not required to do so. The use of a peer note taker is not a substitution for class attendance. 

What are "Note Taking Services?"

Students with disabilities may find that they need assistance when it comes to taking clear and effective notes due to the impact of their disability. Every request for accommodation is considered individually, on a case-by-case basis. Therefore, the note taking supports that worked for one student may not work for another—and that’s okay! Accommodations are tailored to meet the needs of an individual student. Note Taking Services is an umbrella term that refers to note taking software, transcription software, recording devices, and assistive technology, as well as traditional peer note taking.

I'm Interested in Learning About Note Taking Software, But Don't Know Where to Begin. Can the Center for Accessibility Services Help?

Absolutely. The first step, when you are interested in talking about a specific type of accommodation, is to speak directly with your Access Coordinator. Please make an appointment to speak with your Access Coordinator by emailing the Center for Accessibility Services ( or calling 540. 831. 6350.

Your Access Coordinator will listen to your concerns and engage in an interactive process with you to determine what supports may provide you equal and meaningful access to your classroom environment. Once you and your Access Coordinator have agreed upon a specific note taking accommodation, you will either receive training on note taking software/recording technology or you will be asked to put in a request for a peer note taker.

What Software and Apps are Available for Note Taking?

While the technological preferences of individual students may differ, the Center for Accessibility Services encourages students with the accommodation of Note Taking Services to consider the barrier to access. What is difficult about note taking, what has helped in the past, and what has not been helpful? Discussing the answers to these questions can help you and your Access Specialist determine the type of technology that may help. Of course, Access Plans can be revised based on the need of the student—if one accommodation is not working, it is the responsibility of the student to notify their Access Specialist. Together, the student and the Access Coordinator will consider other options. Technology includes, but is not limited to: transcription software, the use of recording devices, and Livescribe pens.

What is Otter a.i.?

Otter is a transcription application that uses artificial intelligence to transcribe audio into written text. Students may receive 600 minutes of free recording time by signing up through Otter’s education plan. Learn more about Otter by going to their educational plan website,

What is a Livescribe Pen?

The Livescribe Echo pen is a recording device and a document camera in one that works with a special “dot” paper. The pen records what is hears and the camera takes pictures of what you write down. When you write something down, the recording device “bookmarks” the time so that when you tap on the writing later, using the pen, the pen will take you back to that point in the recording!

Recordings and images can be accessed by connecting your pen to the Echo Livescribe Desktop.

Livescribe pens may be checked out from the Center for Accessibility Services on a semester-by-semester basis.