NotetakingNotetaking captures significant information in a systematic way. It is a skill acquired through training and strengthened through practice. Research with deaf and hard of hearing students indicates that most view notetaking as a “very useful” support.

Why Notes?

As visual communicators, students who are deaf or hard of hearing access auditory information by focusing on interpreters, the speaker or real time captioning. Visual communication requires a high level of concentration; obtaining information visually during extended periods can be exhausting.  It is extremely difficult for a student to watch an interpreter or computer screen while taking notes.  Providing a notetaker allows the individual to focus on the content of the class. Having a trained notetaker assures the student that core concepts, key points, and supporting details will be accurately captured.

The eye is a muscle, while the ear’s primary element is its nerves. Utilizing a nerve requires no physical energy; muscles are subject to fatigue.  It simply takes more physical energy to critically observe than to listen.

What it is, and Isn’t

While notetaking can be a stand-alone accommodation for some individuals, it does not take the place of other accommodations, such as interpreters and captioning. Notetaking is regarded as an “auxiliary aid” as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

Notetakers are not tutors, nor do they stand in when a student is absent.

Personal and Cognitive Characteristics of a Good Notetaker:

  • Has excellent attendance and punctuality
  • Is a good speller and writes legibly
  • Has good listening skills
  • Can stay on task over extended periods of time
  • Has good organizational skills and enjoys thinking organizationally
  • Has the ability to maintain confidentiality
  • Has the ability to maintain a good rapport with the student and the professor

NCOD Notetaker Program (NP)

Taking notes in the classroom can be a challenge for those who rely primarily on sight for communication.  The NCOD: Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services provides an opportunity for students in the classroom to be notetakers for their deaf and hard of hearing classmates.

The advantage of becoming a volunteer Notetaker is Priority Registration for the following Fall/Spring semester only (priority registration appointment dates will be during the early stage of the "Registration by Appointment" registration period.)  Note - Notetakers provide services during the Fall and Spring semesters only.

You can find more information about the Notetaker Program thru DRES.

 If you have any questions, you may contact the Disability Resources & Educational Services (DRES) department at 818-677-2684 or via email at or the NCOD: Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services department at 818-677-2054 or via email at

This Quick Tip was adapted from pepnet 2 (pn2) Fast Facts. Funded by the Research to Practice Division, Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education (Cooperative Agreement #H326D110003).