In my dual role as an instructor and an accessibility analyst at the Universal Design Center, I often try to weave accessibility practices into my teaching strategies. They are mostly easy to implement and benefit all students. There may be students who do not self-identify as individuals who need certain accommodations to participate in class activities and meet the learning objectives.
There are students who take very detailed and useful notes that capture important information and topics discussed during class. These notes could be a great resource and a vital tool for students to review and comprehend subjects at their own pace and improve their learning performance. What if these notes are shared with those in need?
Students who are registered with DRES or NCOD, with an approved accommodation for shared notes, would immensely benefit from the valuable notes taken by their classmates during lectures. They may not be able to take notes themselves, or they may have difficulty focusing on an hour-long lecture with plenty of new information.
Therefore, this simple practice of encouraging notetakers to share their notes goes a long way to help fellow students take advantage of this great resource and have peace of mind that they will not miss anything discussed in class. At the beginning of the class, usually during the first week, I ask for volunteers who are willing to share their notes with other students, and as an incentive, I offer specific office hours to review and complete their notes, answer their questions and depending on their work I would also offer extra credit.
It has become a common practice that does not require any additional time or resources while simply helping to promote accessibility and contributing to implementing an accommodation procedure within the current teaching techniques. In the end, everyone wins!
CSUN also offers training and incentives for notetakers recruited for a student from DRES.
Notetakers who perform their role successfully for the entire semester (Fall/Spring) can receive early registration for a semester, and students who are notetakers during the summer/winter terms will receive a gift certificate. (Source: The Student Access and Accommodation System (SAAS) - Notetaker Application)
This Notetaker Training was created for CSUN students who have been recruited to be a notetaker for a student who is registered with Disability Resources and Educational Services (DRES) and/or the NCOD: Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services. (Source: DRES Notetaker Training)
Accessible Technology Initiative (ATI), CSU
California State University is committed to providing equal opportunity to all students and employees regardless of their disabilities and has implemented laws and policies to achieve this important goal. The Accessible Technology Initiative (ATI) has been formed to make information technology resources and services accessible to all CSU students, faculty, staff and the general public regardless of disability. (E.O. 926)
- Alen Davoudian, Senior Information Systems Analyst in the Universal Design Center, and Lecturer in Systems & Operations Management