Electronic whiteboards

This short guide shows how to use an electronic whiteboard to conduct remote tutorial sessions (one-to-one or one-to-many) for subjects that use diagrams, mathematical notation, or special language characters. This guide focuses mainly on using an iPad (with an electronic stylus), but also mentions Windows devices.

Important aspects to consider

  • In your planning, think about student access to technology. If you are expecting student interaction, what will they need to have to be able to interact with you and the group, and to use a whiteboard. It would be a good idea to ensure in advance that these expectations are understood by the students. Perhaps you could engage them in a discussion beforehand, or ask them to respond to a poll regarding their available technology.
  • You may have access to various technology tools (old and new), such as old laptops, PC/Mac, different types of tablets, or an electronic stylus. You also have different requirements, such as recording (or not), saving the whiteboard (or not), or using physical pen and paper. This guide attempts to accommodate common scenarios across the University and across disciplines. If you need guidance or advice for a bespoke situation, please email the Teaching Remotely Service Desk, giving details of your requirements.

Recommended software

Download the following Apps on your device (links to Help pages and other resources are provided at the bottom of this page)

  • Microsoft Teams whiteboard application
  • Microsoft whiteboard (iPad)
  • Miro

Miro is another whiteboarding app that may be used instead of the Teams whiteboard. Miro is more feature-rich, but it may be more difficult to get started and become proficient in using it. It has been approved for University use, but there is a cost per licensed user of $150 per year. There is a free education version, as well as a general free version called ‘Miro lite’. (See links at the end of the page for more information about how to register and use Miro.)

For Windows OS

The option to use the whiteboard is available and included in Microsoft Teams when you are in a one-to-many meeting (during the meeting – or after the meeting – go to the Chat channel and you will see Whiteboard in the top options bar).

The whiteboard is not available for a one-to-one meeting. Refer to these guidelines on the Microsoft Office website.

Whiteboard option in Teams

Of course, it is difficult to write on an electronic whiteboard using just your mouse (if you are using a laptop or desktop computer). The optimal solution is to use an electronic pencil (stylus) on a Windows tablet (i.e. Microsoft® Surface Pro), an iPad (see details below), or a laptop/desktop with a touch screen. This will enable you to write more comfortably, as you would on a piece of paper.

You can also use the whiteboard in Canvas through the integration with Class Notebook (OneNote) (please contact remote@it.ox.ac.uk if you wish to explore this option).

You can use the Microsoft Teams Whiteboard application on your tablet. Note that the Teams Whiteboard is not available from the iPad application. This is a workaround for use on an iPad.

  1. Install the Microsoft Whiteboard application (download it from the Microsoft store).
  2. Start that application on your iPad.
  3. Launch a Teams meeting. When in the Teams application, instead of using the ‘share Whiteboard option’ (not available on iPad), use ‘share screen’.
  4. Sharing the screen will let students see your whiteboard.
  5. If the whiteboard area starts by filling the screen, it should be possible to zoom out to provide more space.
  6. Once you have finished using the whiteboard, you can export it from the app to Teams, or save it as an image.
  7. You can invite students inside the whiteboard app to collaborate with you, and they will be able to write on the same whiteboard. However:
    • You can have only one whiteboard per meeting.
    • If you want to use another whiteboard, you will have to create a new meeting and invite students again.
  8. To invite your students, click next to your name icon (with your photo) on the top right. This provides the option to invite someone with their single signon username; alternatively, you can invite students by sending them the link for this whiteboard session (which you will find on the same page).
Class Notebook screen samples

Help pages and further resources

Microsoft Teams: Use Whiteboard in Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Whiteboard App

Microsoft Whiteboard App for iPad: Whiteboard not displaying for iOS Teams app

Microsoft OneNote: Draw and sketch notes on a page

CTL Webinar: Handwriting in online teaching (Dr Vicky Neale, Mathematical Institute)

Miro training and support materials:

Who is using Miro at Oxford

Undergraduate Admissions are using Miro for interviews: How to sign up for a free Miro account (students)

Undergraduate Admissions: Using writing tools in Miro

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