Collective Responsibility for Notetaking: Reflections on the Unanticipated Outcomes of a Pedagogical Research Project

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


This presentation reflects upon the outcomes of a pedagogical research project, which facilitated a shared online space where students were invited to take collective responsibility for notetaking. This model was devised following engagement with disabled students who identified that they felt disadvantaged by the lengthy process of securing specialist provision (Welsh Assembly Government, 2017; Department for Education, 2019; Pickard, 2019). Pursuing a Universal Design for Learning approach (Martin et al., 2019) as well as a commitment to social justice in Higher Education (Evans et al., 2018), this pilot project provided initial tuition on a diverse range of notetaking strategies, before students were invited to upload their notes to a shared portal in order that peers could engage with them to support their learning. An initial questionnaire and follow up focus group collated the cohort’s experiences of the project. There were a number of unanticipated outcomes, including the cohort’s lack of engagement with the proposed portal, but their enthused engagement with sharing notes through their self-sufficient WhatsApp group. Through a thematic analysis (Braun and Clarke, 2006), emerging themes included students valuing dialogic learning opportunities; lack of confidence in their own abilities; and students’ questioning of the agency and responsibility of disabled peers. The findings highlighted that there was scope for a shared space and shared ownership of the responsibility for notetaking, but that students had not embodied a social justice perspective and were unclear about both the practice of notetaking and the rationale for supporting one’s peers.


Braun, V. and Clarke, V. (2006), ‘Using thematic analysis in psychology’, Qualitative Research in Psychology, Vol. 3, pp. 77-101.

Evans, N. J., Broido, E. M., Brown, K. R. and Wilke, A. K. (2017), Disability in Higher Education: A Social Justice Approach, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Department for Education (2019), ‘Evaluation of Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs)’ [Online], Available at (Accessed 8th February 2019).

Martin, N., Wray, M., James, A., Draffan, E. A., Krupa, J. and Turner, P. (2019), ‘Implementing Inclusive Teaching and Learning in UK Higher Education – Utilising Universal Design for Learning (UDL) as a Route to Excellence’, Society for Research into Higher Education Project Report.

Pickard, B. (2019), 'Demystifying the Process of Engaging with the Disability and Dyslexia Service in Higher Education' Journal of Inclusive Practice in Further and Higher Education, 10(1), p. 40-58.

Welsh Assembly Government (2017), ‘A Review of the Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSA)’ [online], Available at (Accessed 9th August 2019).

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 5 Mar 2020
EventNational Teaching Fellows / CATE Symposium 2020: 2020: A Decade of Change? - Aston Conference Centre, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Duration: 5 Mar 20206 Mar 2020


ConferenceNational Teaching Fellows / CATE Symposium 2020
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • inclusivity
  • inclusion
  • universal design
  • higher education
  • notetaking


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