Note-Taking Assistance

Echo SmartPen

Overview of Note-taking Services

If your disability impacts your ability to take notes in the classroom, the DPRC has a few options for you to explore so that you may have equal access to instruction. Eligible students may use any of the following options individually or in combination with each other. We encourage all students to speak with their disability specialist about the note-taking method that may be right for them. Keep in mind that note-taking accommodations are not a substitute for attending class and may change from semester to semester or class to class.

Services Offered

Services for students who are eligible for Note-taking accommodations may include:

Note-Taking Express is a free third party service that provides a set of typed notes from a professional note-taker to the user within 24-48 hours of uploading a lecture recording and is available for students to use on the very first day of class. Users can record lectures using an audio recorder or with the free Note-Taking Express app on their smartphone. This service assigns a consistent note-taker throughout the semester for the course, allows the user to upload photos of any visual materials from the lecture, or even upload power-points or videos shown in class. More information can be found on Note Taking Express’ website or in their YouTube Channel. You can also contact to request individual training on Note Taking Express.

To utilize this accommodation if approved, include Note-Taking in your Accommodation Requests through myDPRC for any courses that you would like to have note taking support in. The DPRC will generate a referral for you to use Note Taking Express for the specific courses you requested. This will create a Note Taking Express account for you. Additional information on how to use Note Taking Express will be provided with this referral.

Please note it is is important to request Note Taking in your accommodation requests, even if you already have a Note Taking Express account, to ensure your instructors are aware of the recording function utilized by Note Taking Express.

Video tutorial: How to use Note Taking Express (Desktop)


Some students benefit from being able to type in-class notes to incorporate spell-check and built in layout templates for better organization. The DPRC can facilitate a conversation with any instructors concerned about the use of a computer in their lecture.

To utilize this accommodation if approved, include it when you request accommodations for your classes in myDPRC

Volunteer note-takers enrolled in the same course as the DPRC student may be able to share a copy of their in-class notes. Note-takers can be recruited by the student or instructor.   In most cases, the volunteer will then be eligible to receive access to priority registration for the following semester.

Notes can be shared by coming to the DPRC front desk to request that free photocopies be made of the notes, NCR (carbonless-copy paper) note-taking paper can be supplied at the DPRC front desk, or a picture or copy of the note-document can be emailed. For some DPRC students, it may be a necessary accommodation to receive a set of typed notes from the course. The DPRC can assist in facilitating this with the volunteer note-taker if need be.

In the event the student does not want to recruit a volunteer note-taker, the DPRC is happy to provide access to Note-Taking Express (see above) or you are encouraged to speak with a Disability Specialist to review other note-taking options.

To utilize this accommodation if approved, include Note-taking when you request accommodations for your classes in myDPRC and then email with your note-taker's name and SF State ID number. We will then bypass a Note Taking Express referral and provide confirmation of your volunteer note-taker.

Some instructors may already have presentation materials such as lecture notes, a power-point shown in class to introduce concepts or other materials that may be used as a supplement to the students’ own notes for the course.

To utilize this accommodation if approved, meet with your disability specialist to facilitate a conversation with your instructor on how materials will be shared.

Audio-recording course meetings by eligible students for review after class is listed as an example of a reasonable accommodation within disability access law. As a courtesy, students are encouraged to inform instructors when audio-recording classroom instruction. Instructors are encouraged to contact the DPRC if they are concerned about the intended use of the recording. Audio-recording can be facilitated through a Smart Pen or with a borrowed audio recorder from the DPRC.

Smart Pen contains a digital recorder allowing recording of everything written and heard. Following a lecture, tap anywhere on your notes to replay the audio from that moment in time. This is a strategic way to go back and fill in any gaps within your notes. Schedule an appointment with a DPRC specialist to request a referral for a training on how to use the pen. Pens are checked out to students for a semester at a time.

To utilize this accommodation if approved, include it when you request accommodations for your classes in myDPRC. If you require training to use a Smart Pen, speak with a Disability Specialist. Audio Recorders and Smart Pens can be checked out from the DPRC Front Desk in SSB 110.

In some courses, it may be determined that the best method of receiving note-taking assistance is to have a DPRC employee attend class with the DPRC student to facilitate note-taking and/or additional assistance such as manipulating objects or viewing visual materials. DPRC students are encouraged to speak with their disability specialist about each course for which an Academic Assistant may be necessary as soon as possible to ensure necessary hiring and timesheet procedures can be adhered to, prior to the course start.

To utilize this accommodation if approved, meet with a Disability Specialist.