Note Taking Support

Clear and concise lecture notes support learners to prepare for lectures, study more efficiently and complete assessment more effectively. However, many students struggle with effective note taking and do not end up with the course content that will serve them best. In addition, note taking accommodations are among of the most common for students with disabilities, and can be challenging to implement for both learners and faculty.

There are a number of ways faculty can proactively support all students to have complete and comprehensive course notes, including:

  • Posting lecture notes in advance of class.
  • Posting lecture presentations in advance of class.
  • Crowdsourcing lecture notes.

Posting Lecture Notes

By posting lecture notes to eLearn in advance of class, learners can proactively review lecture content and prepare for class. Providing lecture notes in advance also removes the individualized accommodation barriers for students with disabilities, as well as faculty.    

Lecture notes can include:

  • Complete faculty notes.
  • Notes that include blank spaces where students can complete as it is discussed in lecture.
  • A series of questions about the lecture that learners can answer in the lecture and/or weekly resources/readings.
  • A detailed outline of the lecture.

To support the greatest accessibility it is ideal to post the notes in two formats, such as copying and pasting the notes into the HTML editor and proving a link to a Word document. If faculty require support is required to include links to downloadable Word documents, connect with the designated Educational Technology Specialist


  1. Post lecture notes, in advance, to the eLearn course webpage. 
    • The posted notes can be organized however the content is organized, for example by week or module. 
  2. Advise students that lecture notes have been posted and provide them with explicit instructions on how to use the notes effectively. 
    • The instructions could include reviewing the notes prior to class, printing or downloading the notes to complete them in class, using the notes effectively to study, etc.

Posting Lecture Presentations

Similar to posting lecture notes, lecture presentations can to support students with note taking and class preparedness. 


  1. Post the lecture presentations, in advance, to the eLearn course webpage. 
    • The presentations can be organized however the content is organized, for example by week or module. 
  2. Advise students that lecture presentations have been posted and provide them with explicit instructions on how to use the presentations effectively. 
    • This could include reviewing the presentations prior to class, printing or downloading the presentations to write additional notes from lecture directly on the slides, etc.   

To support the accessibility needs of all learners posting the lecture notes in two formats is ideal. This could include the PowerPoint presentation and a link to a PDF version or creating the presentation as a video and providing the original presentation as well. 

Crowdsourcing Lecture Notes

Crowdsourcing of lecture notes was an idea originally developed by Dr. David Rose from Harvard. It was designed within the framework of UDL to support students and faculty.

Crowdsourcing lecture notes has the capacity to:

  • Support all students to double check content and improve their notes and note taking skills.
  • Allow faculty to see what students are taking away from lectures.
  • Reduce the need for peer note taking for students with disabilities.

Resources have been developed to support the implementation of the crowdsourcing lecture notes initiative.

For faculty:

  • The Centre for Teaching and Learning has created a discussion forum that can be imported into a course discussion area.

For students:

  • The discussion forum has a video for students to learn about crowdsourcing and note taking, instructions for posting notes and a designated note area for each week of the course. 
  • A co-curricular record credit, which allows students to gain recognition for their crowdsourcing of lecture notes.


To implement, the Crowdsourcing Lecture Notes initiative in your course(s), connect with Jeff Rankine at jeffrey.rankine [at] or extension 4031. He will be able to include the crowdsourcing discussion forum within your course.



Then, advise students that crowdsourcing lecture notes is an option in the course(s) and encourage them to post their notes.