Improving note-taking accommodations and reducing admin burden: How Rose State succeeded in implementing Sonocent

Janet Griffith is a Coordinator within the Student Access Services at Rose State College. She is the only full time employee within the department, working alongside a part-time AT specialist.

Understanding Admin Burden

We hear it time and time again – volunteer note takers cost a huge amount of time and effort to organize. And when this burden is paired with small disability support departments and a lack of financial resources, faculty can become swamped. Despite the hard work of everyone in these departments, the service they provide to their students can begin to be affected.

‘A couple of years ago we had the realization we were not meeting the needs of students approved for note taking accommodations.’

Rose State’s Increasing Workload

The number of students needing support from Rose State’s Access Services has increased by 217% in the last 10 years. But Janet remains the only full time employee in the department.

She realized there were major gaps in the services being provided. Their system depended on what she called ‘the kindness of strangers’ – people willing to share their notes with another student. Furthermore, these ‘strangers’ needed an extensive skill set to benefit the student needing support. Skills such as:

  • Good note taking
  • Good penmanship
  • Good attention in class
  • Consistent attendance
  • Commitment to finish the semester

Unfortunately, this meant students often received inadequate notes. In fact, 50% of students surveyed explained that the notes they received before using Sonocent only allowed them ‘to get by’.

‘We found many students either do not know how to make notes, or do not adequately understand the value of taking notes.’

Implementing Sonocent

After speaking to us at the AHEAD conference, Janet decided to try out our Pilot Program. The following semester, as one of Disability Services’ busiest periods of the year began, Janet started to feel the benefit of Sonocent.

Initially student engagement with the software was challenging. But Janet was able to host two 1-hour training sessions with students. The sessions consisted of showing the training videos that Sonocent provides, helping with software installation, and answering any questions or concerns. This made life so much easier for Janet as it freed up a lot of time to be able to provide support in different ways.

‘We showed them the 3 minute intro video that Sonocent provided and let it do the explaining.’

Here is one of a selection of our training videos:

These videos are provided alongside Audio Notetaker for both faculty and students. It means time spent implementing Sonocent is minimal.

‘The videos make it simple enough that even an old person like me can figure out what to do.’

Student Feedback

During Rose State’s pilot, Janet conducted student surveys asking for feedback on the software. After receiving this feedback, Janet felt confident that students were now getting the note taking support that they needed.

Student quotes: Sonocent has helped me tremendously! I love it! I hope we will continue to have this program.

I'm really loving the program, thank you for introducing me to it!

What’s next?

For Janet, the goal is to give students the tools to function independently and build success.  Therefore, it was clear to her that Rose State should go on to purchase Sonocent licences. She used the survey data to explain her ‘win-win’ situation to the Vice President of Information Technology. From there she accessed funding to purchase 50 licences for two years.

In the future, she hopes Rose State will purchase a site licence so Sonocent is available to all students.

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