It is impossible for deaf/hh students to take accurate notes while watching an interpreter or speechreading the instructor at the same time. This makes having a notetaker essential for creating a record for the deaf/hh students of lectures, discussions, presentations, reports, movies, and other media, as well as quiz and test information. Notetakers should be required to participate in a training program in which they learn the principles and practices of sound notetaking.

To assist the notetaker in recording accurate, consider the following strategies:

  • Provide the notetaker with copies of all handouts and PowerPoint presentations and access to any information posted on the web.
  • Write important concepts, assignments, announcements, and key vocabulary on the board for the notetaker to record.
  • If the notetaker uses equipment, such as a laptop computer or TabletPC, ensure that he/she is seated appropriately. If the deaf/hh student uses the notes during class, ensure that seating facilitates this process.
  • Provide the notetaker with a transcript of any videos you show in class, if available, to annotate as the film is displayed.
  • Consider helping with recruiting or recommending notetakers to be hired, perhaps students who did well in your course in a previous term.
  • If the notetaker is absent, select a student volunteer for the day.
  • Review the notes, especially after the first few classes, to ensure they are accurate and complete. Advise the notetaker of any discrepancy in the notes, and provide general comments about the quality.
  • Hearing students as well as deaf/hh students appreciate access to high quality and comprehensive notes, all students tend to do better in class if the notes are available. Check with your campus support staff to determine the policies regarding ownership and distribution of the notes.
As a deaf/HH student, how do you benefit from notetaking services? What do you like to see in your notes? How can they be effective? – Kyle


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National Technical Institute for the Deaf
52 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester, NY 14623

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This material is based on work supported by the National Science Foundation under Award Numbers 1104229, 1501756, and 1902474.