An update on student note-taking via the Glean app

The Provost’s Office and Student Accessibility Services (SAS) have received concerns from instructors and from the Brock University Faculty Association (BUFA) regarding the use of the Glean note-taking web app for students with approved accommodations. We wanted to provide more information about the app, the safeguards in place to ensure appropriate use, and alternatives available to instructors.

Instructors are encouraged to review this information in detail in order to make an informed decision about the use of Glean in their courses.



SAS provides individualized accommodations for students based on an assessment of their functional limitations and how they affect a student’s ability in an academic learning environment. The University has a legal obligation to accommodate these students under the Ontario Human Rights Code.

A common accommodation is to capture information shared in a lecture, so that students can refer back to it at a later date to support their learning. Historically, SAS has relied on note-takers to fulfill this accommodation need. Over the years, however, SAS has experienced increasing challenges in recruiting and retaining note-takers. A number of strategies have been implemented to help resolve this challenge, including increasing financial incentives for note-takers. Nonetheless, these challenges persist. They are not unique to Brock.



Brock is among many other universities in the sector, including Queen’s and Ontario Tech, that have opted to integrate the Glean note-taking web-app. Note-taking applications such as Glean help to ensure that students who require note-taking have access to this accommodation.

Glean enables students to create a complete audio-recording and transcription of the class, add individual notes to the transcription, and import slides or screenshots to their notes. Only accommodated students registered with SAS and granted the note-taking accommodation have access to Glean.



Glean has been vetted by Brock IT to ensure that it meets the security and privacy standards required for educational technology. Audio recordings and transcriptions created through Glean cannot be downloaded or shared. They exist only within the app for the student’s personal use, and only for the time their Glean account remains active.

Accommodations only allow students to create audio recordings of lecture information. Glean does not support video recording. At the time of registration, students are made aware that seminars, discussions, and other non-lecture material should not be recorded.

Students with an approved note-taking accommodation using Glean must sign a recording agreement, developed in consultation with Brock’s Legal Services, to ensure the appropriate use of the app. The recording agreement confirms their understanding of lecture material as intellectual property, the restriction against sharing recordings, the requirement to delete at end of term, and the restriction against recording anything other than lecture material.


Consenting to the use of Glean

Instructors whose classes include a student with a note-taking accommodation will be asked to consent to the use of Glean in their class. Instructors are encouraged to integrate Glean into their practice. Glean has been vetted thoroughly by the University, and its use is of great benefit to students with approved accommodation. In a narrow set of circumstances, SAS may determine that the only appropriate accommodation is through recording. However, in other situations, instructors can choose to decline the use of Glean.

When instructors decline the use of Glean, they are expected to work with SAS to find an alternative accommodation for students in the class who require one. This may include helping with the recruitment of note-takers in their classes.

Other options may also exist to address concerns about Glean while meeting students’ accommodation needs. The Centre for Pedagogical Innovation (CPI) is a resource to instructors who wish to explore alternate ways to meet accommodation requirements involving note-taking. Dr. Ann Gagné, Senior Educational Developer, Accessibility and Inclusion is available for consultations to develop accessible pedagogical strategies that take course learning outcomes into consideration.


Support with Glean is available through SAS.

For more information, please contact the Provost’s Office at

Categories: September 2023