What does a successful note taking accommodation look like during online learning?

Remote learning has changed the criteria for what can be considered a reliable, effective and compliant accommodation


Perhaps most radically of all, remote learning has forced us all to think much more urgently of teaching beyond the physical classroom. This has exposed many latent gaps in online learning, but of special interest to disability support staff, overnight it’s created a host of new problems with physical tools such as smartpens and digital recorders.

To create accessible and effective accommodation plans for Fall, disability services departments now need to be evaluating their traditional go-to accommodations against a new set of criteria.


The questions support professionals now need to ask:

Will the tool be effective during both online and in-person classes?

It’s likely that many institutions will continue providing online classes when Fall begins, whilst some will adopt a hybrid approach. Over the course of the semester and academic year in-person classes may return. Whilst the future remains uncertain, institutions need to provide accommodations that work in either environment.

Does the tool have to be stored on campus?


Tools such as smart pens are physically loaned out to students and are naturally stored on campus. This makes their availability during a campus closure subject to all the logistical problems many institutions have experienced with providing other technology to students in need.

Can the tool be broken, lost or stolen?


A department investing in physical tools will have to factor in the cost of replenishing stock that’s lost its function or gone missing. With students taking their accommodations home with them the risk of this happening is even greater.

Does it update automatically?


If a new upgrade or iteration of a tool becomes available, you’ll either have to recall it to be updated manually, or worse replace it entirely. Either way, this is a costly and problematic process during remote learning.

Can you see usage data remotely?

Beyond asking students personally, there’s no way to track how a tool is being used once it’s been loaned out. This can cause problems if you want to measure its effectiveness, and can potentially produce compliance headaches if you’re not careful. With face-to-face meetings now impossible in many cases, you need a tool you can monitor remotely.

Is the tool easy to set up and use?

The reality is that, if you want a student to get the most from hardware accommodations, it’s going to require quite a lot of training and supervision. Many tools require some kind of link-up with other technology, such as a laptop, and separate supporting software for students to benefit from full functionality. This admin burden increases dramatically if you are unable to speak to the student in-person.


An online tool with the upper-hand…

Accessible anywhere, on any device

Instead of providing students with a physical object to support their note taking, online tools give students log-in credentials to use on any device. No longer do departments need to worry about chasing up the return of expensive hardware, or even to worry about the logistics of what software is downloaded on which device. 


Students can access their support whenever, wherever it’s needed. 

Seamless transition between remote and on-site classes

Online tools are designed to work just as effectively in the classroom as online. So when in-person classes become the norm again there will be no need to reassess the accommodations you provide. Once students are set up, they can move seamlessly between in-person and online learning without any additional transition planning or support.

Online tools don’t break


… unless the internet gets broken, of course. Online tools can be managed much more centrally by department staff, too, meaning that you always know who has access and have the ability to change permissions at any time. 

Continuous development



An online tool is never the finished article. It’s always being improved, tweaked and refined, and users will always automatically benefit from the latest version.

Unprecedented usage insight



Monitor student usage and make interventions accordingly. A huge boost for reporting, ad hoc student support and maintaining compliance.

Effortless student onboarding



No more endless training sessions. Users get up and running in 5 minutes or less, guided by a smooth onboarding process that teaches the fundamentals as they go.


All this and more with Glean

Glean has been developed to support students through any learning context. In fact, it takes just 5 clicks to convert it into a tool perfect for remote classes.

It’s an online tool with real versatility for both admins and students.

Request a free demo today to learn:

  • How Glean adapts to online and in-person classes
  • How its stress-free note taking process makes learners more independent
  • Why Glean will add more value vs. smart pens
  • How Glean Admin makes managing support a breeze

Follow the link below to arrange your free, personal demo!

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