Thank you for your interest in the volunteer Notetaking Services program at the University of Waterloo. Whether you are a student requesting notes, or are interested in volunteering, this page has a lot of information and resources available to help with your notetaking needs.
Thank you to all of our Instructors, Staff, and Volunteers who help make this program a huge success. Without your commitment and dedication to supporting our students, we could not provide the level of support needed without you – thank you!
The Notetaking Service is one of the many programs that is offered to eligible students who are registered with AccessAbility Services with a documented disability.
AccessAbility Services works collaboratively with course instructors and department staff to help recruit student volunteers. As this service requires support from volunteers, we cannot guarantee a match, or the quality of the notes. Please reference the Alternatives section below to proactively plan in the event we are unable to secure a volunteer.
Notes will only be shared with those students who are approved for the service and are not available to the general public. Receiving notes through AccessAbility Services is not intended as a substitute for classroom attendance and learning.
The average length of time to complete a request is 2-3 weeks.
How to Request Notes
If Notetaking Services is one of your approved accommodations, you can submit your notetaker request online when you complete/select your accommodations for each class.
After you have submitted your Notetaking Services request online, our Student Services Coordinator will connect with your instructor(s) to recruit a volunteer in your class. Once a volunteer is secured, you will receive an email with next steps and when notes are available for download.
Using the online system, you will be able to manage your Notetaking Services requests and will have real-time data if a volunteer has or has not been found, and access to all of your course notes.
If you’re applying with AccessAbility Services for the first time, or if you require a notetaker throughout the term, please upload your supporting medical documentation that outlines the need for a note-taker.
Volunteer as a Notetaker
Volunteering as a notetaker is a great way to get more involved in the community and has academic benefits as well. Many of our volunteers said they saw an increase in their academic performance because they were more likely to attend class, were more engaged, participated in discussions, and retained more information.
- Attend class on a regular basis
- Has legible hand-writing or types notes
- Has access to a computer with a scanner (if you are uploading handwritten notes)
- Enjoy helping others
It’s easy to sign-up! Please complete the Volunteer Notetaker Application by signing-in using your WATIAM user ID and password.
Once you’ve been matched with a student in your class, you will be contacted with next steps.
Here are some helpful guides you may wish to reference should you need assistance. You may also contact us directly with any questions, comments, and/or concerns.
- How to request Notetaking Services
- How to access your notes online
- How to volunteer as a notetaker
- How to Post Your Notes Online
- How to volunteer as a notetaker if you are, or have been, registered with AccessAbility Services
Tools and Tips
Taking good lectures notes is a skill that takes time and effort to develop. There are many recourses available to you on-campus, as well as online. Take a moment to review select resources below and do some research online to figure out what works best for you and your learning style.
Throughout the school-year, the Student Success Office offers a variety of workshops to help with your academic success. They also have a diverse collection of online resources, including Life Skills, Test Strategies, and Notes & Reading.
10 tips for taking better notes:
- Add today’s date in the top left-hand side
- Add the course code in the top right-hand side
- Use the lecture number as the title
- Use headings, where applicable
- Write clearly if you handwrite your notes
- Capture the most important information using bullet points instead of trying to write out every word
- Highlight very important information with a red box (if handwriting) or highlight (if typing)
- Read the chapters before attending class
- Download or print any notes, slides, additional materials that are posted by the Instructor online
- Add page numbers
Notetaking Service Alternatives
The Notetaking Services program through AccessAbility Services requires the support from volunteers. As such, we can't guarantee you will be matched with a volunteer in your class, or the quality and/or consistency of notes.
We encourage all students to meet with our Adaptive Educational Technologist and Learning Strategist to discover what technologies and tools are available to support your independence and develop sound notetaking skills.
Examples of notetaking technology include, Audio Notetaker software, Liquid Text for iPad, and LiveScribe pens.
To book an appointment with our Adaptive Educational Technologist and/or Learning Strategist, please contact the Front Desk by email: firstname.lastname@example.org, phone: 519-888-4567, ext. 35082, or in-person: Needles Hall – Room 1401
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I volunteer as a notetaker?
- Please register online
- You may also wish to reference this instructional guide. (Link to guide)
What are the position requirements?
- Attend class on a regular basis
- Legible hand-writing or types notes
- Access to a computer with a scanner (if you are uploading handwritten notes)
- Enjoy helping others
What is the time commitment?
- The position is held for one term and requires, on average, less than two hours per week.
How do I upload notes?
- Please reference the “How to Upload Your Notes” instruction guide.
What format should I use to save the notes?
- Typed notes should be saved as a Microsoft Word document or PDF
- If you are typing into a PowerPoint file, please save it as a PDF
- If you are uploading handwritten notes, please save your scanned document as a PDF
- Please ensure the file you are uploading contains the course code and lecture date
- Example: “PSYCH 101 – MM/DD/YYYY”
Can I upload hand written notes?
- Absolutely! However, please ensure your handwriting is neat and legible.
Can I upload audio recordings?
- Not at this time. Unfortunately, our Notetaking module does not support audio files.
What if I miss a class due to an illness or unforeseen circumstance?
- Please ask a friend or classmate for any notes that you may have missed and upload them as soon as possible.
Is this a paid position?
- Notetakers are not paid. However, note-takers who provide regular and consistent service will be provided with a Letter of Recognition at the end of each term, which you may use to develop your resume.
- Email: email@example.com
- Phone: 519-888-4567, ext. 38902
- In-person: University of Waterloo, Needles Hall - Room 1401
We are always looking to hear your success stories and/or receive feedback on how to improve our Notetaking Services program. If you wish to have your voice heard, please complete our online feedback form.