TO: ALL FACULTY
FROM: KEVIN WHITAKER, INTERIM PROVOST
RE: PROVISION OF PEER NOTES TO STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES
In keeping with its mission and in accordance with Section 504 of The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), and The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA), The University of Alabama is committed to providing persons with disabilities an equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from all programs and services conducted or sponsored by The University.
This memo is designed to help UA faculty members comply with our policies and with federal laws as they pertain to note-taking accommodations approved by UA’s Office of Disability Services (ODS). Students who require academic accommodations of any type associated with a disability must register with UA’s Office of Disability Services (ODS). You will be notified that academic accommodations have been approved by ODS when students present their Confidential Request for Accommodations letters to you.
Taking notes in class is of paramount importance to the learning process. Some students are unable to take their own notes due to disability-related reasons. Some have physical or sensory limitations while others have processing difficulties that interfere with the ability to take notes.
While access to professor notes, Power Point slides or other materials is helpful to students, it is not an appropriate alternative to providing a peer note taker. Faculty members are responsible for finding a student in their class to take notes and for following the procedures below to ensure those notes are distributed to students approved for a peer note-taker.
Notes should be distributed to students with disabilities through UA+Box. The University has created individual UA+Box accounts for all students, faculty and staff. Therefore, if you have not used UA+Box in the past, you should not need to create an account. You will need to create a folder in your UA+Box account for each course so that note takers can upload notes for students with disabilities to retrieve. Specific instructions are provided with the accommodation letters.
- The UA+ Box folder for your class must be created by you immediately upon receipt of the first accommodation letter each term that lists note takers as an accommodation.
- You will only need to recruit one note taker per course.
- Note takers should upload notes often, especially during Summer terms. Please take into account the structure of your course and the frequency of tests and quizzes and instruct the note takers accordingly.
- Instructors should check to ensure that the note takers are uploading notes frequently and that the notes are an accurate representation of what has been presented in class.
- Note takers will receive a credit on their Action Cards (Bama Cash) to cover expenses they may incur when taking notes. They will receive $100 per course, regardless of the number of students who are accessing the UA+ Box notes. This stipend will be paid at the end of each semester.
- Graduate teaching or research assistants can be assigned to take notes if you cannot find someone else, but they must attend the class.
- This system will afford students with disabilities anonymity since note takers will not know the identity of those who are accessing the notes.
Faculty members are not required to accommodate students who have not provided a copy of an accommodation letter from ODS for the current semester. Accommodations are not retroactive; however, students who require note takers should be given access to the entirety of notes that have been uploaded to the UA+ Box account. Accommodations that would fundamentally alter the nature of the course are also not required, but concerns about specific accommodations should be addressed initially with ODS. Should there be a dispute about academic adjustments, instructors are obligated to provide the accommodation until the dispute is resolved.
For assistance with technical aspects of the note taking system, contact:
Faculty Resource Center
Dr. Rachel S. Thompson
Director, Emerging Technology and Accessibility
Center for Instructional Technology
For more information about disability and The University’s commitment to an inclusive, diverse community, please visit the following websites:
www.ods.ua.edu (The Office of Disability Services)
www.eop.ua.edu (Equal Opportunity Programs)