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Madison, WI 53715-1007

Main Office Numbers: 608-263-2741(voice)
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McBurney Disability Resource Center

Notetaking Service Policies and Procedures

General Information

The McBurney Disability Resource Center's Notetaking Service helps qualified students with disabilities locate paid notetakers. In most instances notetakers are students recruited from the class during the first week of school. Recruiting notetakers during the first week allows you to review actual class notes from several notetaker applicants before making a final selection.

Funding for the notetaking service is provided through UW-Madison for students approved for the service.

In keeping with McBurney's philosophy of encouraging independence, you are expected to participate in managing your notetaking services. Your responsibilities, as well as those of McBurney staff, faculty, and notetakers, are outlined below:


  1. Complete the Online Notetaking Form before the end of the third week of classes.
  2. Meet with faculty to request assistance in recruiting notetakers, if needed. Give them a faculty letter.
  3. Give each notetaker a Notetaker Information Form (opens in Microsoft Word) as soon as you hire them.
  4. Inform the Notetaker Coordinator immediately of any changes in notetaking requests.
Responsibilities for Arranging Notetaker Services:
  1. Completing the at Online Notetaking Form .

    The form must be submitted to McBurney within the first three weeks of the semester to ensure that notes are provided and funded for the entire semester. McBurney is not responsible for funding services provided prior to receiving a notetaker request.
  2. Meet with faculty to request assistance in recruiting notetakers, if needed. Provide a faculty letter which includes a notetaking recruitment announcement.

    If you want a notetaker request announcement read on the first class day, schedule an appointment to discuss the announcement with the faculty member before classes begin. Faculty letters can be printed from McBurney's web site or picked up at the office.
  3. Give each notetaker a Notetaker Information Form (opens in Microsoft Word) and notetaking supplies when hired.

    Notetaking Information Forms can also be picked up at the McBurney Center. Make sure they receive one immediately upon hiring. Notetaking supplies can be picked up at McBurney.
  4. Inform the Notetaker Coordinator immediately of any changes in notetaking requests.
  5. Other options to consider include approaching instructors regarding their willingness to share copies of course notes and using online lecture notes.
Responsibilities Throughout the Semester:

  1. Inform McBurney as soon as possible if you are having difficulties locating a notetaker.
  2. Request only those services from the notetaker as outlined in the notetaker's job description (e.g., the notetaker should not be asked to recopy notes, take notes from the text, tutor, etc., unless authorized as an appropriate accommodation).
  3. Notify the notetaker when you will not be in class, at least 24 hours in advance when absences are predictable.
    • Notifying notetakers enrolled in the class is primarily a courtesy (e.g., notetakers might skip a class during midterms to study for exams if they know you plan to do the same).
    • Notetakers will provide notes for occasional, unanticipated absences; however notes will not be provided for planned or chronic nondisability-related absences.
    • It is your responsibility to regularly attend classes. Frequent non-disability-related absences may result in a suspension of services for that course.
  4. If you drop a class or your schedule changes, let the notetaker and the McBurney staff know immediately. Notetakers are only paid up to one week beyond the drop date.
  5. Give the notetaker regular, helpful feedback about his/her notes.
  6. If you are not satisfied with the notes taken by the notetaker, you should determine the problem (e.g., legibility, organization, completeness) and discuss it with the notetaker. Also discuss any problems with getting the notes in a timely manner. If problems persist, you should bring them to the attention of the McBurney Disability Resource Center staff.
  7. Return evaluation forms for each of your notetakers and the notetaker program when requested.
  8. Verify and sign the Notetaker Payment Verification Form when requested.
  9. Return any supplies you've checked out by the due date. Due dates may be extended by calling McBurney.
  10. Notes are for your use only and should not be distributed to others in the class.


  1. McBurney provides copies of an introductory letter to faculty that includes a notetaker request announcement. Use of this letter is optional but highly recommended.
  2. McBurney provides information forms and an orientation session for notetakers.
  3. McBurney provides notetaker supplies.
  4. McBurney processes payment for notetakers. . Notetaking services will be funded only when students have submitted the Online Notetaking Form.


The faculty role is primarily to assist with notetaker recruitment. Throughout the notetaking process, faculty are asked to respect the students' right to confidentiality by not singling out students in front of the class.

  1. Faculty assist students in recruiting notetakers by making class announcements or by sending emails to the class roster. (See the Notetaking Service Faculty Letter for class announcements or see Recruitment Options A or B or C sample email announcements.) Faculty should be sure not to include the student's name or other identifying information in the class announcements or emails.
  2. If a student doesn't choose to wait after class to meet directly with notetaker applicants, faculty may be asked to collect sample notes to be picked up later by the McBurney student or forwarded by email if submitted electronically. Screening out of inappropriate notetaker applicants, based on a short perusal of sample notes, is appreciated by some McBurney students. Others will make the hiring decision on their own.
  3. Faculty re-announce or resend requests for notetakers, when necessary.
  4. Faculty may choose to provide photocopies of their notes or notes taken by a teaching assistant. Faculty or teaching assistants who routinely produce complete, legible notes for their courses and who are willing to photocopy those for the student will be providing a valuable service. A notetaker may be unnecessary if faculty or TA notes meet the student's needs.
  5. Faculty should alert students if they'll be posting notes on their web sites or providing copies of PowerPoint slides. Many students find these options to be very helpful and might not need a classmate's notes in those situations. Others will still want to recruit a notetaker in order to capture all the details from the lecture that might not be included in the web notes or PowerPoint slides.
  6. Faculty may assist students, especially those with visual impairments, by locating students who use laptop computers to take notes. These notes can be easily accessed with screen reading software.
  7. Faculty may assist notetakers and McBurney students by providing feedback, when requested, on the quality of the notes.


  1. Attend all scheduled classes, except in cases of illness and emergencies.
  2. Inform the student when you cannot be in class, at least 24 hours in advance when absences are predictable.
  3. Prearrange for a substitute notetaker for days when you will be absent. We recommend finding someone in the class since he or she will be familiar with the subject matter and available without notice. Make sure that you discuss arrangements for substitute notes with the student for whom you're taking notes. Notetakers enrolled in the class may have their stipend reduced if they fail to provide adequate notetaker coverage during their absences.
  4. Keep notetaking assignments confidential.
  5. Get feedback on the notes from the student.
  6. Give the McBurney Disability Resource Center staff at least two weeks' notice if you plan to quit.
  7. Return any supplies you've checked out by the due date.
  8. Return the completed Notetaker Payment Verification Form by the due date. It is your responsibility to obtain the student's signature on the form.

If you have questions or problems with the notetaking service, please contact McBurney Disability Resource Center's Notetaking Coordinator at 263-2741 (voice) or by e-mail at notes@studentlife.wisc.edu.
File last updated: April 13, 2017. 09:08:41 am
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