Volunteer Notetaking – Frequently Asked Questions  

What is the purpose of the Volunteer Notetaking Program?

The Volunteer Notetaking program is organized by the Paul Menton Centre and aims to provide support for students seeking academic accommodations due to a visible or non-visible disability. The notetaking program is a peer-based support program where students attending class upload their notes to myPMC for fellow students in the course to access on a weekly basis.

The volunteer’s notes are not intended to substitute the PMC student’s own notes taken through regular class attendance, but instead should act as an additional resource for the PMC student(s) to supplement their knowledge of course content.

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Who uses the program?

Only students registered with the PMC, who have notetaking as an academic service have access to uploaded volunteer notes. Academic accommodations and services are provided to students with disabilities to bridge the gap of accessibility to education.

For instance, a student with limited arm mobility will be allowed volunteer notetaking as an academic service to supplement notes they are not able to take for their disability related reason.

Not all disabilities that require notetaking as an academic service are visible. Some students with Learning Disabilities experience delays in information processing that hinder their ability to take effective notes over the length of an entire lecture. Even though these students may be capable of taking their own notes, they may miss large chunks of material due to processing times. The volunteer’s notes are used to supplement those that PMC registered students take in class.

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What is required of a volunteer?

Volunteer notetakers are expected to:

  • Attend all scheduled lectures, or find replacement notes from a peer in the course for any missed lectures
  • Take complete, detailed, (and legible, if handwritten) notes
  • Upload each week’s notes to myPMC within 48 hours of the scheduled lecture date, and indicate important notes in the Comments section (for example, if a lecture has been cancelled or if a midterm is taking place the following week)
  • Contact the PMC Notetaking team as soon as possible, when facing difficulties in any stage of the notetaking process.

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Why should I volunteer?

Being a volunteer notetaker can have many benefits, both academic and personal. By volunteering as a notetaker, students can improve their class attendance, develop skills such as time management and organization, improve upon notetaking ability, and develop a sense of social responsibility and commitment to the Carleton community. By meeting the requirements of the volunteer position, students are eligible to add the position to their Co-curricular Record (CCR) for approval consideration and may also be eligible to receive a Letter of Appreciation from the PMC at the end of the term.

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How Can I become a Volunteer?

You can become a volunteer by:

  • Completing the Volunteer form on our website; or
  • Emailing us at volunteer_notetaking@carleton.ca with your full name, student number, full course code(s) and section(s); or
  • Stopping by our front desk at 501 University Centre to fill out a hard copy form

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Can I volunteer for more than one course?

Absolutely! If you’d like to be assigned to more than one course just let us know the full course codes and sections including cross listed course information. Please keep in mind that when you provide us your course information, you may be assigned to all the courses you have listed. For this reason, we encourage you to carefully consider which courses you would like to volunteer for. If you find your notetaking course-load to be overwhelming or would like to resign from notetaking for one or more courses, please contact us at volunteer_notetaking@carleton.ca as soon as possible so that we can find a replacement notetaker. Please note that removing oneself as the notetaker of record on myPMC is NOT sufficient.

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My course is cross-listed or has an online section. Why do I need to upload my notes more than once?

Our notetaking system groups service requests by course code. Therefore, when you upload notes to one section of a course, those same notes are not available in the other section of the same course. This is why when a notetaker is assigned to two sections of the same course, they must upload their notes twice, once into each section.

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I volunteered for a course. Why was I not assigned as the notetaker?

If you did not receive a confirmation email to let you know you’ve been assigned to a course you volunteered for it’s likely we assigned another student. It is also possible there are no students in that course requiring notes at that time. However, we fill notetaking positions on a rolling basis so even though you may not have been assigned early in the semester, there is still a chance that you may be assigned in the future.

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What information should be included in my notes?

There are no special requirements for the notes submitted by our volunteers. Your notes should be thorough and highlight the key concepts discussed in lecture. However, your notes should not be verbatim or copied from the instructor’s slides. It is important to remember that the PMC student accessing your notes should be attending class and will have the same access to lecture slides and content provided by the instructor.

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Do my notes have to be typed up or can they be handwritten?

Lecture notes can be handwritten as long as they are legible. Handwritten notes need to be scanned and uploaded each week which can be done by our staff in 501 University Centre, Monday to Friday 8:30-4:30. If you have access to your own scanner you can upload the files yourself the same way you would a word document. We ask that volunteers do not upload photos of handwritten notes as the file type is inaccessible for students using assistive technology. If you’re having any difficulty uploading handwritten notes please stop by our office so we can assist you!

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How do I upload my notes?

  1. On Carleton Central’s Main Menu, under the “Student Support Services” heading click “myPMC (Paul Menton Centre for Students with Disabilities)”.

This will open a page titled: “Important: Please read” which describes what information the site will require and how it will be used. Click “Continue” (at bottom).

  1. Under “Welcome to myPMC”, click “Notetaking (note-takers)”. Then click on ”Courses/Notes” (this option is listed on the left hand side).
  2. You should now see a list of courses you have been assigned to, click “Upload lecture notes” on the course you are uploading for (keep in mind if your course is crosslisted or has an online section- you will need to upload the file to BOTH courses/sections).
  3. On the next screen, select the lecture date and click on “Select a file” to select the file you wish to upload.
  4. If there are comments or instructions for the student receiving your notes, enter them in the Comments section. (e.g. ”No class next week” or ”Exam review in this lecture”) When you’re finished, click on “Submit”. Once submitted, you should be able to see your uploaded files in the “Notes” section at the bottom of the page.

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Why do notes have to be uploaded within 48 hours of the lecture date?

One of the responsibilities of being a volunteer notetaker is uploading their notes within 48 hours of each lecture. By doing so, the volunteer notetaker ensures that the PMC student(s) accessing their notes are able to review course content and modify their own notes in a timely manner. When a notetaker does not upload notes within 48 hours of a lecture taking place, the notetaking team may send a reminder email and in addition may seek out another notetaker for the given course.

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What should I do if I miss a lecture?

If you miss a lecture, we encourage you to seek out notes from a peer in the course where possible, and only with permission, upload their notes, and then finally inform our team at volunteer_notetaking@carleton.ca that you have done so. This ensures that the PMC student(s) registered in that course are consistently receiving support through volunteer notes for each lecture, and that our team is made aware when a volunteer is unable to upload notes for any reason.

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What should I do if I can no longer be the volunteer for a course I’ve been assigned to?

If you are no longer able to volunteer for a course you have been assigned to, let our team know by emailing volunteer_notetaking@carleton.ca as soon as possible. You are not obligated to provide a reason as to why you can no longer volunteer- just be sure to include the full course code and section for the course you’re dropping. It is important that you give us as much notice as possible so we can try to find a replacement volunteer before the next lecture.

We understand that circumstances change but we ask that you seriously consider the expectations of this volunteer position before signing up, especially if you would like to post notes for multiple courses per term. Due to the nature of the service and the large number of requests we receive each term, we may not assign a volunteer who has repeatedly dropped their notetaking position(s) part way through a term.

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Who can I contact if I am having technical difficulties?

If you are having difficulties with the notetaking system, please contact us at volunteer_notetaking@carleton.ca or call us at 613-260-6608. You can also stop by our office at 501 University Centre and we will be happy to assist you.

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I emailed the notetaking team but haven’t heard back, what should I do?

At the beginning of each term our notetaking team receives approximately 100 emails per day. We aim to answer every email within 48 hours. If after 48 hours you have not received a response, feel free to send us a follow-up email. We appreciate your patience with us as we try to accurately fill our volunteer positions and respond to inquiries as quickly as possible.

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I’ve uploaded all of my notes for the term, how do I get my CCR credit?

The Co-Curricular Record system is run by the Student Experience Office (SEO) and is a way for Carleton students to record involvement in extracurricular activities and community service during their studies. For more information on the CCR, please see the following link on the SEO’s website: https://carleton.ca/seo/ccr/student-information/

When you are adding the volunteer notetaker position to your record, please ensure you select the correct term. Our team reviews each CCR credit request at the end of each term to ensure the volunteers uploaded all of their notes for the course(s) they were assigned to. Volunteers who did not fulfill the position requirements (as listed above) will not be granted CCR credit and will not be eligible to receive a Letter of Appreciation

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When I try to upload notes, I’m unable to select the Select button, why can’t I upload notes through myPMC?

Currently, our notetaking system is not yet compatible with Windows 10. If you are running a Windows 10 computer, you are able to upload notes via Internet Explorer using the following steps:

  1. After IE launches, go to central.carleton.ca.
    2. Right click at the top of Internet Explorer’s screen and select Menu Bar.
    3.       When the menu appears, select Tools, Compatibility Settings.
    4.       You should see a window with Add this Website. Make sure it says carleton.ca and click Add.
    5.       Click OK, and try uploading your file(s).

If you are unable to upload notes after attempting these steps, please contact us and we will be happy to assist you.

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