Computer Use for Note-Taking

You may have one or more students with the accommodation of laptop use for note-taking. Professors must allow the use of computers for students with this accommodation, but there are restrictions placed on students' use of a computer and/or recording device in the classroom. All students are required to sign a Confirmation of Guidelines for Accommodations before being given their accommodation letters, and this document requires them to agree to the following:

  • I understand that, unless authorized, use of the internet, email, or any other communications on my laptop during class is prohibited, and that such actions may render me ineligible for this accommodation.
  • If using a recording device for note-taking, I agree that I will not share, send, post, publish, make public, or duplicate any recordings without the written authorization of the recorded person(s).

If any student is found to be in violation of these guidelines, please contact Marni Jones immediately.

In order to prevent calling attention to students with disabilities who require this accommodation, some of your colleagues have included statements in their syllabi similar to the following:                                       

"If you wish to take notes using a laptop, you must first come see me to discuss this request. It is not permissible to use a laptop in my classroom for any purpose other than note-taking. Access to the internet must be disabled before the start of class, and any abuse of this requirement will result in denial of the authorization to use a laptop for note taking."

OR, more succinctly:

“Laptop use for note-taking is by permission only.”

If you restrict laptop use in your class other than as an accommodation, please consider using the following language when making an announcement to the class:

"If you are a student who wishes to use a laptop for note-taking, please come see me during office hours to discuss your rationale for this."

This choice of words will maintain student anonymity, compliance with ADA laws, and your capacity to restrict laptop use to those with accommodations. During your discussion with the student, you can be explicit about your expectations with regard to laptop use protocols in your class.

Please be aware that Marni Jones reminds each student with this accommodation that it is his/her responsibility to find out from you whether you have a policy against internet use during class, and to abide by that policy. The accommodation to use a laptop for note-taking is restricted to using a laptop exclusively for that purpose and to abiding by your computer-use rules.

If you have any questions or would like additional guidance regarding how to implement this, or any other accommodation, please don’t hesitate to contact Marni Jones.

As always, thank you for your assistance in meeting the needs of our exceptional students.