What You Need to Know

In general, the University works to make full-use of accessible technology solutions for notetaking services whenever possible and appropriate. When students are approved for Notetaking Services, part of DSP’s review includes an individualized evaluation and determination of the specific type of notetaking solution appropriate for that student. Although preference is taken into consideration, the Notetaking Services solution is determined based on functional limitations and equal access to content. The determination is made based on several factors, including the nature and severity of the impacts the student experiences from their disability. The determined solution may involve a student learning a new application or device.  DSP Notetaking Services staff are available to help orient and train a student on technology-based solutions by request.

DSP Notetaking Services can be reached at DSPNotetaking@usc.edu or by calling DSP’s front desk at 213-740-0776.

Key student actions to implement approved Notetaking Services

  • In the MyDSP portal, confirm your request to use these services, and the courses in which you would like to use them.
  • Download class notes on a weekly basis. For students who repeatedly do not download their notes files, or who wait until the end of term to access their notes, your DSP Specialist will follow-up with you to discuss the need for and use of this accommodation.

For students who would like to strengthen their skills in making good use of notes provided from other resources, please contact Kortschak Center for Learning and Creativity (KCLC). KCLC offers academic workshops and online tutorials to assist with developing your note taking skills.

Helpful information about Notetaking Services

  • Notes provided by any of these services are intended to be supplementary to the notes taken by the student receiving this service.
  • Notetaking Services are not considered a substitute for a student’s attendance and participation in their classes. Regular and consistent class attendance is still expected, consistent with individual course requirements.
  • For students approved for a Peer Notetaker, DSP may provide alternative solutions (i.e. technology-based) if a notetaker cannot be secured in a timely fashion.
  • Technology-based notetaking solutions involve recording the class in some form. Students making use of these solutions are responsible for agreeing to and abiding by DSP’s Recording Agreement. We encourage students to review the Classroom Recordings description to further understand the responsibilities related to this activity in the classroom.
  • In some cases notetaking may not be considered a reasonable accommodation, due to the course design or environment such as labs, discussion based sections, or quiz sections. Also, if recording the class sessions would fundamentally impact the nature of the course or course content (e.g. sensitive topics, discussions involving a great deal of personal sharing, etc), DSP will work with the faculty and student to determine solutions for accessing the learning experience.

Important note: If you, as a student receiving notetaking services, have any concerns about your notetaking services, please contact the DSP Notetaking Services Specialist, or your DSP Specialist, right away. Our staff is happy to help, but we rely on you, the student, to let us know if there are issues that need to be addressed (ex: quality or consistency or notes from a peer notetaker, functional issues with the device or technology for notetaking, questions on how to use notetaking devices, etc.). DSP can help if we know there is a concern; waiting until late in the semester significantly limits our ability to help you and provide full access to the content.

Notetaking Technology Solutions

  • Sonocent Audio Recorder: Licenses (PC or Mac) are provided for approved students by DSP on an annual basis.  Sonocent allows for audio recordings while allowing you to annotate on downloaded PowerPoints and taking notes along with the ability to color code each audio bar. Can be utilized with your laptop and/or smart phone.
  • SmartPens: Loaner pens and corresponding ink cartridges/paper are provided to approved students by DSP on a semester basis.  The Livescribe SmartPen allows students to utilize paper while recording audio on the pen.  Audio recordings are downloadable to your computer and the notes on paper are able to be digitized through the download process.  All pens and unused ink/paper should be returned to DSP for servicing at the end of each term.
  • NoteTake Express (NTE): Provided on a limited basis in certain circumstances, NTE allows students to record lectures and upload to the Note Take Hub. Once uploaded, students will receive notes taken by a human notetaker and will receive notification when notes are ready for viewing.
  • Use of laptop for taking class notes. Students approved for use of laptop are provided this accommodation as an exception to course policies restricting use of laptops in the classroom.  Students approved for this accommodation should make use of their laptop solely for notetaking purposes.
  • Use of recording device for notetaking: Allows for students to record lectures with a voice activated recording device.

Information for DSP Volunteer Notetakers

DSP Peer Notetakers are student volunteers who agree to help provide this service on behalf of the University. Notetaking is an essential, and major, service provided to students registered with DSP who are approved for the Notetaking Services accommodations. Not all students approved for these services use a peer notetaker; however, for those who do, clear, complete and timely notes are critical to their learning and potential success in their courses.

Volunteer notetakers are eligible for an award through DSP at the end of each term.  Awards are determined based on the consistency, reliability, and quality of notes, along with the length of time in the notetaking role.

To volunteer to be a DSP Notetaker, please take the following actions:

  • STEP 1: Volunteer to be a DSP notetaker by applying through the MyDSP system. Please be sure to indicate all classes for which you are willing to take notes.
  • STEP 2: DSP’s Notetaking Services team will confirm with you (and MyDSP will reflect that you have been confirmed) that you have been selected as a notetaker, and for which course(s).
  • STEP 3: Attend and take notes for each class session. Upload the notes for each class within 24 hours of the class meeting. Notes should be:
    • Thorough - capturing all key content points, relevant dates, examples, etc.
    • Legible – clearly handwritten or typed so that another student can review and easily follow what you have captured.
    • Supplemental – notes are not intended to be a transcript of the course. They are intended to supplement the notes and learning already captured by the student receiving this accommodation.

Important Note: Please contact DSP’s Notetaking Services Specialist right away if you are absent from class, especially for an extended time, or if you drop the course.  The notetaking service is an essential support for students who are legally qualified to receive these materials. DSP needs to provide alternative and immediate services if you are no longer able to serve in this role.