Note-taking Resources

During your initial meeting with the Office of Disability Services (ODS), you may have been introduced to multiple note-taking strategies. At the college level, it is not always appropriate to be provided with a copy of class notes like you may have received in high school. This accommodation at the college level may be represented on your Academic Access Letters as, “Opportunity to record lecture.” Take time to figure out how you learn and study best. Based on what works best for you, you may want to implement one or more of the following resources. Please inform your professors which of the following resources you plan to use while in their classroom, especially if it involves having additional technology out on your desk. After a few class periods, if you find yourself still not sure which resource works best for you, please contact ODS to set up an appointment. Additionally, note-taking training sessions are offered by the Center of Academic Success each semester. Visit their website for a list of upcoming training sessions:

Note-Taking Strategies:

Learning Style Note-taking strategies
Auditory Digital voice recorders. LiveScribe Smartpen. Actively participate in class disussions
Visual Highlight notes in different colors, use different note-taking methods e.g. outline, flow charts, concept maps.
Tactile Re-write class notes, create flashcards, move around while studying, act-out concepts

Note-Taking Technology: Smartpens, Recorders, and Apps

Smartpens: Smartpens will allow you to write less and listen more. These pens give you the freedom to focus on listening, instead of worrying whether or not you are catching and writing down every word. When using a Smartpen, you may only write down a few main ideas from lecture. The play back feature of the pen allows you to listen to audio from lecture with a single tap of the pen. The Smartpen syncs handwritten notes to the audio that was being recorded at the very second you were writing. Simply tap the pen to your handwriting to hear what your professor saying about that particular concept.

ODS currently has LiveScribe Smartpens to loan to students each school year at no charge. A staff member will provide Smartpen training to students as often as needed. Students are given 1 LiveScribe Smartpen, USB charging cord, LiveScribe notebooks, and ink refills (as needed) for the school year. Please contact ODS if you are interested in this program. For more information on the pen, visit

Digital Recorders: Digital recorders are still a great option, without having to buy additional technology. Many smartphones, tablets, and laptops come standard with recorders. Please inform your instructors which form of recorder you plan to use.

Note-Taking Apps: There are many free and low cost note-taking apps commercially available. For a complete list of these apps, please ask a ODS staff member to send you the list via email.