Whiteboard Usability

Using virtual whiteboard to Increase Student Online Class Participation

During the pandemic, our school moved to distance learning for the time being, and more and more people consider that distance learning is the future. As lack of human touch, class participation is a big concern among teachers. Therefore, we have to tap into new collaboration tools to mitigate the downside of virtual classroom.

The difficulty of managing an online class
As a professor, who has been teaching in traditional ways for many years, I found that it’s pretty challenging to manage an online lecture: Both students and teachers must get used to several new technologies and renew some of our equipment; it may be easier for students to get distracted and some of them even mute their mics and don’t pay attention; as a teacher, sometimes even I find it hard to keep on track without face-to-face interactions in a class; it is even harder when it comes to grading the student participation.
Normally, there are plenty of class exercises and discussion in my lecture. However, besides the video talk, the chat box seems to be the only channel for me to interact with my students in our school screaming platform. When giving an exercise, I want to know to what extent my students understand what I taught. Therefore, a correct number or option is not what matters most, but the process and the way they solve it. I am pretty interested in hearing the explanation from my students. Moreover, a result typed in may only be a copy from others. So, only let them send a result to the chat box may be meaningless, which does not give a glimpse of the real class situation.

Tips to increase Student Online Class Participation
I have been tying out multiple collaboration tools and I found that online whiteboard can mitigate some of the problem and make our class more dynamic and active. My students can write out there solutions in an online whiteboard and we can discuss together and brainstorm, which help to build camaraderie as well. I would like to share some of the tips to leverage an online whiteboard in a virtual class and make a lecture more fun.
  • Make sure your internet is up to speed
    A good internet connection is essential to the success of an online lecture. Make sure you have a strong connection and test multiple times in advance any platforms that you want to use during the class.
  • Create a virtual gathering place
    I believe that strong peer relationships between classmates can increase class participation and enhance the learning process. Although building camaraderie among an online classroom may seem to be difficult, using an online whiteboard combined with video talk give us a chance to build a virtual gathering place and make it possible.
    Talking combined with some necessary writings let us feel as though we were in offline classes. With the help of the multiple features in the whiteboard, brainstorm and discuss are pretty dynamic and interesting. We had a lot of fun in those activities. After several virtual gatherings, students got to know each other better and the class participation has been boosted .
  • Using an online whiteboard to facilitate classroom practice
    A high quality online whiteboard allows students to write a solution, explain, interact with both the teacher and other classmates.
    Everyone in the class has to login with their name. For each question, I randomly pick some students to solve the problem in the board and then we can discuss and make some comments. It is more difficult for them to slack off as they know that they may be asked to do an exercise in front of the other classmates.
  • Enhancing group discussion
    I would like to maintain the general classroom activities insofar as I am able to. So I do not want to miss out the most interesting part, the class discussion. When group discussion is necessary, I ask each group to build their own board and send me their board capture in the end, and I ask to be added to each group board for any extra help.
Although it may be hard to maintain the class participation for online classrooms, it seems that we are working out the kinks by our innovation.

Marta S. | Teacher
Last updated: 26 Nov 2021