5 myths about provided notes (BUSTED)

Provided notes have been around for a long time in disability services. In that time, a few myths have built up around them.

Clock 2 min read Calendar Published: 26 Feb 2021
Author Luke Garbutt
5 myths about provided notes (BUSTED)

Provided notes have been around for a long time in disability services. In that time, a few myths have built up around them. Let’s bust them.

Myth #1: Providing notes is cheap

Even if you only use volunteer note takers, provided notes can be costly. Just think about the amount of time your office spends on them. Wouldn’t you rather use all that time spent emailing, copying, uploading and follow-up on something else?

If you spend an average of 3 hours a week on administering provided notes, that’s 156 hours a year. That’s almost a whole week of your life.

Myth #2: Tech’s too complicated

When people think of tech alternatives to provided notes, we often hear the argument that note taking tech is too complex for most students to get on board with.

It’s true - some tech is complicated. But by no means all. There’s a hidden calculation that happens when students assess a tool. It looks something like this:

Likelihood of usage = Motivation/Time & Effort.

Basically, complicated tech doesn’t get used. But tools that ‘get out of the way’ - that feel natural to use, or don’t feel like tools at all - that’s a different story. We know because we made one.

Myth #3: If it ain’t broke…

‘We’ve always used provided notes. And if it ain’t broke...’

Sure, they’ve been around for a long time. And it can be hard to see how a new solution will work when something’s so well established.

Technology works best when it enables people to do something they couldn’t before. Innovation for its own sake.

Let’s think about whether it really ‘ain’t broke’. Provided notes cost a lot of time and money, are of inconsistent quality, create compliance weaknesses and student dependency. We’ve written about all this in another post, but it’s worth mentioning again.

Ask whether what you’ve got now is really the best you can do, and soon you’ll start to see ways that note taking support could be improved.

Myth #4: Students like provided notes

Professionals get requests for provided notes from students all the time. So it’s tempting to think that students like provided notes and don’t want anything to change.

Is that true? Or are students just used to receiving notes? For many students eligible for note taking accommodations, it’s the support they’ll have been given throughout their education.

By asking them about their real experience with provided notes, you’ll start to notice that they’re pretty inconsistent. Which leads us on to our final myth...

Myth #5: Provided notes = better compliance

You’d be forgiven for thinking that a provided notes system was a good way to ensure ADA compliance. But when you consider the hoops you need to jump through to make sure eligible students are getting the notes they need, you’ll notice there are plenty of ways you can trip up.

What happens if you can’t source a note taker? What if the notes a student gets are unreadable? What if the note taker you do source fails to turn up to class?

All of these possibilities present real compliance problems. You only have to look through a few recent examples of complaints to get the picture.


Written by Luke Garbutt

Author Bio



Time’s running out on provided notes. That’s the message behind our #NoteTakingNotNotes campaign.

But more than just dispel the myths that have built up around this accommodation, we also want to show you a real, workable alternative. One that can deliver better experiences for both you and your students.

Visit our campaign hub to learn more about how we’re getting the message out, including free content, events and merch.

Find out more
Time for a simpler, smarter note taking accommodation?

Time for a simpler, smarter note taking accommodation?

Glean is the online note taking tool that makes compliance simple, reduces cost and admin burden, and improves student outcomes.
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