Student Notetaker Success Is Twofold
Behind the scenes, hundreds of Buffalo State students are providing a “real lifeline” for their fellow students. That’s according to Ray Lorigo, accommodations specialist for the Disability Services Office, who manages the student notetaker service. But what some of these students may not realize is that they are also giving themselves a boost.
Notetakers formally share their class notes with students who qualify for the service as an accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act. All notetakers must have at least a 3.0 grade point average and complete a training course through ANGEL. The names of the notetakers and the students they help are kept confidential.
The number of notetakers has nearly doubled in the past two years, and the formal training program began a year ago. One hundred eighty-three new notetakers joined an existing group of more than 230 this semester. Lorigo calls these students a “little army” that helps others achieve success. About 100 to 150 students currently request assistance, most for multiple classes.
“For many students with disabilities, it can be difficult to split attention between listening to a professor and trying to simultaneously record notes,” Lorigo said. Students who receive notes are still required to attend classes and take their own notes as well.
Lorigo contacts students two weeks before each semester via Banner to gauge interest. He manages a master list of available notetakers and those who request the service, and collects and distributes the notes accordingly. He maintains frequent contact with all students and pays a $50 stipend to each notetaker at the end of the semester. But one of the most powerful and perhaps unintended benefits of the program is how the service helps the notetakers themselves.
Lorigo said he is often amazed by the quality of some of the notes. Some professors have posted particularly good notes to ANGEL for their course sections. And because of the effort students take to provide detail and clarity in their notes, they often find they do better in their classes as a result.
“I’ve seen many notetakers go the extra mile to include pictures and diagrams, which helps a great deal for students with disabilities,” Lorigo said. “In turn, I’ve heard some students tell me that being a notetaker helps them ‘step up their game’ and stay better focused in class.”
Lorigo is grateful for the increased interest of students wanting to become notetakers and said the added help allows his office to reach more students.
“Generally speaking,” he said, “I think the student notetakers often don’t receive enough credit for what they do.”