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Online whiteboards

The classroom whiteboard is a humble but essential technology that many instructors rely on for everything from lectures to student brainstorming activities. 

While there's no perfect analog in an online space, you do have some options. 

  • Zoom classic whiteboardWhile the Zoom classic whiteboard is somewhat limited, it is the quickest route to some quick drawings. From a Zoom meeting, Share screen -> Whiteboard. You can add text or draw, either yourself or with the class. 
  • Zoom annotationFrom within a screenshare in a meeting, you can "annotate" your slide to quickly circle or draw attention to content, either yourself or with the class. 
  • iPad with Pencil: For more control over writing and more sophisticated software, you will probably want to use a tablet. The Center for Teaching and Learning has expanded their iPad lending program for instructors in response to the shift online. 
  • Document Cameras: Document cameras are the overhead projectors of online teaching--it's basically just a webcam set that shows you handwriting on a piece of paper. You can use a webcam or smartphone as a document camera with a little creativity (see this article on "Share Handwriting in Zoom"), or buy a dedicated document camera. A limited number of document cameras are available for loan through your local IT or by emailing
  • Digital Sticky Notes: If you don't need a drawing, digital sticky notes can be especially useful for student brainstorming. Learn how to access Google Jamboard.


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