Policy on Note-takers for Students with Disabilities
The aim of the DIT Disability Support Service is to ensure that no student is at an educational disadvantage because of their disability; similarly, we do not offer students an unfair advantage over others based on their disability. The issue of note-takers can be sometimes challenging in this regard, hence the below policy.
Instructions to Note-takers:
- Note-takers should liaise with the student to whom they have been assigned in advance of lectures, to introduce themselves and to agree on where the note-taker should sit in the room (some students prefer not to have the note-taker sit beside them).
- Note-takers should always identify themselves at the start of a lecture/tutorial/lab to the lecturer/tutor/demonstrator, especially if it is their first time to attend that particular lecture/tutorial/lab.
- Note-takers should not participate in in-class activities (e.g. “icebreakers” etc.) or in in-class discussions.
- Note-takers should be appropriately trained in working with students with disabilities, and should have an excellent awareness of the need for confidentiality and discretion in their work, e.g. in a lecture or discussion where personal information is being disclosed or discussed, the note-taker should recognise that notes should not be taken in such scenarios.
- Wherever possible, notes should be typed and not handwritten, and note-takers should provide their own laptop.
- All notes taken should be emailed to the student in question, and copied to the student’s Learning Support Officer.
Note-takers are only entitled to be present during a student's absence/illness if that absence/illness is directly related to the student's disability (and medically certifiable).
The student should contact the note-taker if he/she is going to be absent and clarify whether said absence is related to his/her disability. The note-taker should not be present in the lecture (or should leave the lecture of his/her own volition if he/she has already entered the lecture hall) if the student is absent for a reason not related to his/her disability. If said absence is related to the student's disability (and medically certifiable), then the note-taker should identify him/herself to the lecturer at the beginning of the lecture and explain the situation. The note-taker should then be permitted to remain in the lecture hall and take notes in the student's absence.
Students should notify the note-taker in advance wherever possible so that the note-taker won't even have to enter the lecture hall (in cases where the student is absent for reasons not related to his/her disability) and thus avoid a scenario where he/she is asked to leave.
If the student fails to contact the note-taker and is not present at the lecture, the note-taker should not enter the lecture (or leave if he/she has already entered).
In cases where a student is running late, he/she should contact the note-taker and advise him/her on how late he/she was going to be. If he/she is going to be less than 10 minutes late, the note-taker should inform the lecturer of this and ask if the lecturer wishes him/her to leave the lecture hall until the student's arrival. If the student is going to be more than 10 minutes late, the note-taker should inform the lecturer and leave the lecture hall of his/her own accord. The decision as to whether to permit the student (and his/her note-taker) to enter the lecture hall after this would be up to the lecturer in question.
Any issues or problems experienced by the note-taker, either with staff or students, should be relayed to the relevant student's Learning Support Officer, who will advise the Disability Service on the matter.