Resources for Serving as a Peer Note Taker

Thank you for visiting our page regarding volunteering as a peer note taker. For any questions or to volunteer, please contact the Center for Accessibility Services office and ask to speak with the Note Taker Coordinator.                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Center for Accessibility Services, Radford University
Russell Hall, 3rd Floor, Main Office: Room 325
Phone: 540-831-6350   


What is a Peer Note Taker?

A Peer note taker assists the Center for Accessibility Ser5vices in providing meaningful, equal, and timely access to course content for a student with a disability. Peer note takers are asked to take clear and detailed notes for themselves and share a copy of those notes with the Center for Accessibility Services. Peer note takers should only upload their notes to ACCESS CAS. For instructions on how to upload notes to ACCESS CAS watch How to Upload Notes to ACCESS CAS. 

Peer note taking is a volunteer position. Students serving as peer note takers are not monetarily compensated but may earn service hours and priority registration. 

How can I apply to be a Peer Note Taker?

Students enrolled in a course in which a peer note taker has been requested will receive an email from the Center for Accessibility Services notifying them that there is an access need for a peer note taker. If you are interested in serving as a peer note taker, you may fill out the Volunteer Note Taker Form for Spring 2022, linked here. Please fill out the form using your Radford University email. 

Note that only individuals enrolled in a course in which there is an active peer note taking request will be considered for a peer note taking role. 

How Often Should I attend Class as a Peer Note Taker?

  • As a note taker, you are expected to be present in , and punctual to, your courses. 
  • Peer note takers should plan to attend all required course meetings and events. While not required, a peer note taker may attend and take notes during optional course meetings, such as a exam review session. 
  • If you must miss a class, please notify your professor as soon as possible so that he/she/they can make other arrangements. Please also notify the Center for Accessibility Services if you are unable to attend class by emailing

Can I know the Person for whom I am Taking Notes?

  • Typically, no. If you have specifically been asked by an individual to serve as their note taker for a course, you may know their identity. However, even if you know the person for whom you are taking notes, you should never share their status as a person with a disability with others. 
  • As a note taker, you are providing a service for a student, or students, with a documented disability. Some students may not mind telling you who they are, and some may even announce that information to the class. However, some students may feel uncomfortable with anyone knowing that they receive accommodations, and as such, you should never expect the student for whom you are taking notes to identify him/her/themselves.
  • The best way to maintain confidentiality is to upload your notes to Access CAS, even if someone approaches you and says they are the student for whom you are taking notes-- and they want their notes emailed. Remember, you may be taking notes for more than one person, so even if you feel comfortable emailing notes to someone, be aware that by not uploading notes to the Access CAS system, you may be excluding another student. Please only upload notes through Access CAS.

How do I Upload Notes to ACCESS CAS?

Can I upload Notes I took prior to being assigned as the Peer Note Taker?

A peer note taker is not required to upload notes that were taken prior to accepting the peer note taking position. However, if the peer note taker chooses to upload notes taken prior to their assignment, they may.

When Should I Upload Notes to ACCESS CAS?

  • Please upload your notes within 24 hours of the end of the class meeting for academic courses taking place in the spring or fall semesters.
  • Upload your notes within twelve (12) hours of the end of the course meeting if you are taking notes for a summer or Wintermester course.
  • You may handwrite your notes following the guidelines below and scan them to your computer using a scanner.  Scanners are located on the main level of McConnell Library or you may scan your notes using the scanner in the Center for Accessibility Services front office, Russell Hall, Room 325. You may scan your notes using an app of your choice. Popular scanning apps include Genius Scan, Mobile Doc Scanner, HandyScan, and Simple Scan. After scanning your notes, please upload them to Access CAS.

What do I do if no notes were taken for a class period?

If notes are not taken due to an exam, class assignment, or class cancellation, the note taker may upload a document to Access CAS with the date of the class and the reason why notes were not taken.

 Ex: January 13, 2022, notes not taken because the class was taking an exam. 

How to take clear and detailed notes:

  • Taking notes doesn’t mean just copying what is written on the board. Taking notes also means paying close attention to what is said in the class discussion or lecture and writing down important information. For example, if your professor gives the definition of a term and an example, it would be important for the note taker to write down both the term and the example, for the student to fully understand the concept. A note taker’s notes should be clear and detailed enough that a person with no knowledge of what was said in the class could still understand the material.
  • Be sure to write down any changes in due dates, assignment descriptions, etc. that are announced in class. Imagine that you are taking these notes for yourself if you had to miss the class—make the notes as complete and detailed as possible.
  • If you use any kind of abbreviations or shorthand when you take notes, be sure to make a key and define what those abbreviations stand for. It would be good to put the key on either the first or last page of notes (Don’t assume that the reader will know what your abbreviations mean!)

Should I type or handwrite my notes?

·         Peer Note Takers may either type or handwrite their notes. In some cases, the Center for Accessibility Services may ask that notes be typed due to an access need. If notes need to be typed for a student to have access to the content, this will be stated in the note taking recruitment email.

  •  Since you may be scanning your notes into a computer system, make sure that, if you write your notes, the ink that you use is dark enough to be read on a computer screen.

  •  Using darker ink colors, like blue or black. If you have questions about which colors are acceptable, please email

  • If you are handwriting your notes, consider only writing on the front side of the paper so that there is no bleed through when you scan the notes.

What if there is criticism about my job performance?

  • When a complaint is made, a CAS staff member will review the notes that you have uploaded and will provide you with written (via email) feedback about what changes need to be made. Those changes should be implemented within three business/course days of the date the email was sent. 
  • Please note that a student is responsible for emailed material, even if the student does not regularly check email.

If changes are not made to the note taking process within three (3) business/course days, after the note taker has been notified in writing of the necessity of change, the Center for Accessibility Services will assume that the note taker has forfeited the position.

  • If the note taker has not uploaded any notes to Access CAS, the coordinator will email the note taker and ask that any notes be uploaded to Bulldog Access within 24 hours.
  •  If the note taker has not responded to the email and has not uploaded notes within 24 hours of the sending of the email, the note taker position will be assumed vacant and a recruitment for the role will resume.