Studying at college and university can be a challenging experience, and even more so for disabled and neurodivergent students. With over 10,000 students reporting having a disability at university, it is evident that provisions need to be available to support the learning of disabled students in order to provide more equal opportunities for all. A popular method of disabled student support available at many colleges and universities in the US is the hiring of Peer Note Takers. This is a method which gives disabled students access to relevant notes taken by a fellow student in their class, which they may not otherwise have been able to produce alone due to their condition. There are many pros and cons to using Peer Note Takers as a support method for the learning of disabled students, however there are arguably more effective options which are more affordable and results-driven, such as a Jamworks Pro subscription.
What forms of study support do disabled students need at university?
Note Taking Support
It is calculated that an average of 60% of students struggle with note taking in class and require support for a variety of reasons which vary depending on each disability and individual’s needs. Students with ADHD often experience poor attention span levels, which reduces their ability to focus and note down all the relevant information. Visually impaired students are limited in the forms of notes they can take, and deaf/hard of hearing students lose access to verbal discussion with the lack of an interpreter.
Motor impaired students and students with disabilities that affect their ability to read and write such as dyslexia can struggle to write notes from what is being discussed in a lecture. Being provided with transcribed notes helps them to access revision material without their disability affecting their studies.
Lecture recording can benefit many disabled students as it gives them the opportunity to rewatch and engage with the class materials at a time which is most convenient for them.
Peer Note Takers
The benefits of using Peer Note Takers for disabled student learning support
Peer note takers are a form of learning support which can offer disabled students access to notes from classes written from the perspective of a fellow student. It has been noted that students who are limited in their ability to develop a deeper understanding of the lecture material would be supported in their learning by accessing written notes from a classmate and reflecting on their interpretation of the content. This is particularly helpful for neurodivergent students as they may experience difficulty in identifying key points or subcontext in aspects of the learning material which would be pointed out to them through the support of a peer note taker. Additionally, motor impaired students and those who read and write at a slower pace due to a learning disability would be able to access written notes without missing out on any content from running out of time or being unable to construct notes.
The problems of using Peer Note Takers for disabled student learning support
The main concern with offering Peer Note Takers as the sole form of disabled student learning support at a college/university is that it is a method which only supports a select number of disabilities. This method provides students with written/typed notes which they then have to still read through themselves and engage in forms of revision with no additional support. It is a method which provides disabled students with the detailed material but does not support them in making it accessible to learning the content itself.
The second issue with Peer Note Takers as a form of disabled student learning support is that the college/university are relying on the student peer note taker to attend every lecture and seminar in order for the disabled student to access their notes. Unfortunately as students are only human (unlike AI) we are not always reliable 24/7 due to unforeseen illness and other life circumstances and this can lead to faults in the disabled student accessing their study materials. The disabled student can only learn to the best ability of the peer note taker, and as they are only a student learning this content for the first time themselves, it is likely that at times the peer note taker may make mistakes or interpret information incorrectly, causing a detriment to the disabled student’s learning as a result. When it comes to writing assignments and essays, there is a likelihood that disabled students are at risk of plagiarism when carrying out written work based on another student’s notes as they may be unintentionally influencing their thought process and writing style.
If a peer note taker fails to turn up to class, there needs to be a failsafe alternative available for disabled students to support their learning. While we know that AI has its foibles, it can be agreed on that it never takes a sick day and can always be relied on for access.
Jamworks is assistive technology software which automatically records, transcribes and summarises lectures, harnessing the power of the latest trained GPT AI models to support students’ revision at university. The app is available to use on both mobile and desktop devices and comes equipped with an impressive range of AI generated study features to produce quality notes for students.
The benefits of using Jamworks for disabled student learning support
Jamworks has been approved in the UK as a form of support available to students who apply for Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA). This is due to the proven effects on how a Jamworks Pro subscription can support the learning of disabled and neurodivergent students at university.
We know that every student has their own individual needs, and that no two cases are the same. Therefore, offering disabled students a support system which has a range of adjustable features to suit their requirements, such as the Jamworks app, will be the most beneficial option.
A Lecture recorder and Automatic Note-Taker
Students can record their entire lecture session with the Jamworks app through the click of a button on a mobile or desktop device. Not only do students gain access to the class recording, but through the use of AI topic detection, highlight clips are generated consisting of important information from the lecture to be rewatched/listened to as a form of revision notes.
A Key Points and Summaries Generator
The additional AI feature of key points and summaries provides students with the ability to refresh their memory of the content in a more condensed and simplified method.
A Flashcard Quiz revision tool
The AI Flashcard and revision quizzes feature gives disabled students access to self-testing revision methods as another way to learn course material. This can be particularly beneficial in supporting the learning of students who have a short attention span, or like to use the text-to-speech feature to revise through auditory methods.
A live-captioning and transcribing software
An automatically generated transcript of a lecture can give disabled students access to written notes without having to pick up a pen. Additionally, the live-captioning feature can support the learning of deaf/hard of hearing students and those who benefit from subtitles for visual aid.
A reliable AI information source
The Jam AI chatbot is always available to Jamworks users to answer any questions they may have relating to the lecture recording content. This stands out as an additional benefit as opposed to the method of Peer Note Taking as disabled students have no way of communicating with the note taker due to anonymity.
Price Breakdown Peer Note Takers vs Jamworks Pro Subscription
On average, the cost of Peer Note Takers as a form of learning support for disabled students is $450 per year. When these figures are combined with the fact that over 53% of Peer Note users surveyed found hiring and sourcing peer note takers a significant challenge, it seems to be a method which has a lot of potential to fail.
In contrast, a Jamworks subscription for note-taking software starts at $125 per year and is a reliable and readily available form of learning support which disabled students can access 24/7. You can save over 72% per year by switching from Peer Note Takers to the Jamworks app and provide failsafe learning support to disabled students at college/university with additional revision features to improve their study experience.
Start supporting disabled students at your university today with Jamworks – click here to begin today.