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Student Disabilities Services adds new note-taking service

191028-Notetaker-1
UNG's Student Disability Services have a couple of note-taking services to help students who are qualified to receive the accommodation.The newest program is Note Taking Express, a full-feature system backed by human note-taking services. The tradition program is a peer note taker like Megan Lee who takes notes for an anonymous classmate.

Every University of North Georgia (UNG) student learns differently. Some learn visually while others learn through hands-on activities. But most students share a common practice — taking notes.

For students with disabilities, that practice sometimes proves problematic. UNG's Student Disability Services have a couple of note-taking services to help students who are qualified to receive the accommodation.

"The service is not for all students," said Thomas McCoy, director of Student Disability Services. "They must register with our office, so we can determine the correct platform that will work for them. It is not one size fits all."

The newest program offered in fall 2019 is Note Taking Express, a full-feature system backed by human note-taking services. McCoy said the program is simple. Once students register with Student Disability Services for the free service, they record the class and save it as a file on a remote server. Trained employees with Note Taking Express listen to the recording, turn it into notes, organize them and send information back to the students via email within 48 hours.

McCoy said this system allows UNG students to receive notes quicker than a traditional peer note taker.

"It's easier on the students," he said. "If they have a project outside of class or work as a small group, they don't have to ensure they have a peer note taker there. They can record it there and upload it at their convenience."

The Note Taking Express service generated interest from students with more than 70 registered for the program in fall 2019, McCoy said.

He said some students may prefer to have a traditional peer note taker in some classes while they use the computer system for others. His office meets with students a couple of weeks after they have been using the system to determine its effectiveness.

"We tell our students if they are not comfortable, we will switch them to the other service," McCoy said. "We want to find the right tool that works for them."

For some, it is a traditional peer note taker like Megan Lee, a junior pursuing a degree in finance. The 20-year-old from Dacula, Georgia, has been a peer note taker since her freshman year after hearing about it during orientation.

"I just take my own notes during the class, then I scan them into the computer and upload for the student," Lee said.

McCoy added note takers do not know the students for whom they take notes. Students registered for accommodations remain anonymous.

Lee said she is still happy to help. She tries to go the extra mile by handwriting her own notes before class, then uses a different colored pen to indicate the faculty member's remarks.

Being a peer note taker is beneficial. They receive $100 per course per semester and get priority registration. Lee said both have helped her, especially priority registration.

"With priority registration, I got all of my classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays one semester," she said. "That allowed me to work my part-time job on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays."

The surprising benefit of being a peer note taker was Lee learned the class material better.

"Taking the time to take notes before lectures, as well as including comments from the professor in class, allowed the information to really sink in," she said.

For more information about registering for a note taker or to become a peer note taker, visit the Student Disabilities Services website.

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