Use of a Computer for Note-Taking

Certain disabilities may necessitate that a student have the accommodation of access to a laptop for note-taking. Such students will be provided with guidance from Marni Jones about their options regarding the implementaion of this accommodation. Students who are granted and intend to use this accommodation are required to complete an interactive, web-based version of this Confirmation of Guidelines for Accommodations before being given their accommodation letters, and this document requires agreement 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).

When reasonable, professors must allow the use of computers for students with this accommodation, but if a student is found to be in violation of these guidelines, faculty are instructed to contact ADS, and this accommodation may be revoked.

Students using a laptop for note-taking should disable their computer’s internet access. If you find yourself checking Facebook—or using your computer for anything but note-taking in class, upload a temptation-thwarting app such as:

  • Self-Control: For iOS. Set your computer to prevent access to (or only allow) certain sites for a set amount of time.
  • Freedom To: Like Self-Control, but works with Macs and PCs and comes pre-equipped with a black list (which you can edit) that includes: Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Digg, Reddit, YouTube, Hulu, Vimeo, and all standard web email programs.


It can be very advantageous for a student with a “computer for note-taking” accommodation to make faculty aware of that eligibility before classes begin. Otherwise, professors may unknowingly announce that laptop use is not permitted. To prevent this, consider sending your professor an email before the start of the semester that includes something like this: “I’d like to make you aware that I have the accommodation of using a laptop to take notes, and ADS has instructed me to provide my professors with this link to information regarding computer use for note-taking.”