JONESBORO — For some college students, taking notes for classes can be a daunting task.
Dominque White, senior associate director for Access and Accommodations Services at A-State, said students on the autism spectrum disorder or those with attention deficit disorder have trouble taking notes in classes.
A program called “Ghostwriter” is a service offered by her department that ensures students have access to good notes.
“I would guesstimate this is something that has been done since disability services were founded on campus,” she said. “What we do is, we have a pool of note-taking volunteers; some are new recruits, and some have already served. We have an online database called AIN, which then connects volunteers with those needing services.”
White said the service is private and confidential.
Unfortunately, there are just not enough volunteers to match for every class offered on campus.
“We have about 36 volunteers. We have a shortage,” she said. “We have more than 100 students who have that particular accommodation.”
White said typically there are 150 A-State Ghostwriters.
“That number might look different depending on the semesters,” she said.
One bright spot on the horizon was a grant awarded to the department to research options that will leave students less dependent on note-takers.
“We are piloting a program called Sonocent, which is a note-taking app,” she said. “There is no peer mentor involvement student utilize while in class. The app has special features students can access.”
White said one such feature is the recording feature. “Students with dysgraphia and vision issues find this helpful,” she said.
White said her department has also launched an app called Glean. “It’s really just an easier version of Sonocent,” she said.
White said Thursday marked the end of Disability Awareness Week for A-State and her department offered a workshop on note-taking.
The workshop was conducted by Myful Al Sarah, a graduate assistant, and academic coach for Access and Accommodations Services at A-State.
She advised students in the workshop that there are several note-taking methods they can utilize to take effective notes.
“There is the Cornell method, the outline method, mapping, and charting,” she said. “Try taking notes selectively and be alert in class.”
Sarah said making sure to listen for transitional words is also important when taking notes because those are indicators the instructor is telling students crucial information.
“Transitional words are, therefore, finally and furthermore,” she said.
White said classes like this are important for students to learn because at times she has found that access to services is not the issue.
“Some students say, well I never learned this,” she said.
In addition to offering the Ghostwriter program, and the new apps, White said Access and Accommodations Services at A-State will continue to offer note-taking workshops.
“We will host them throughout the academic year,” she said.
For more information on the Ghostwriter program, students needing services or wanting to volunteer can email DServices@astate.edu or call 870-972-3964.