Digital Whiteboards

Digital whiteboards offer a wide range of benefits and didactic applications that can support interactive and collaborative learning and teaching, and promote learner motivation.

There are various providers, each of which requires specific access: as an application in the Academic Cloud (Collaboard), as an element in Leuphana's Cryptpad suite, as a function of video conferencing systems (Zoom) and as an app in Microsoft 365. In the following, the possible uses of whiteboards and their benefits are first explained.

Application possibilities

There are many ways in which digital whiteboards can be used in courses:

  1. Presentation: Teachers can use pre-designed digital whiteboards to present content and provide visual support to learners.
  2. Brainstorming: Digital whiteboards can be used to allow students to brainstorm and collaborate.
  3. Group work: Digital whiteboards can be used to encourage group work and allow learners to collaborate in real time.
  4. Games: Teachers can use digital whiteboards to create learning games and make the course fun.


Compared to text documents, digital whiteboards have several advantages:

  • Multimediality: Digital whiteboards support multimedia formats such as images, videos and audio files and can promote learning in a variety of ways.
  • Flexibility: Digital whiteboards can be adapted to suit individual needs and are flexible in design. Teachers can change or add content quickly and easily.
  • Documentation and re-use: Digital whiteboards allow notes, sketches and drawings to be saved for later reuse. They can also be edited after the board has been exported.
  • Encouraging interactivity: Digital whiteboards enable teachers and students to work interactively in real time. This encourages collaboration and motivation.

According to the ARCS model (Keller 1983/1987), learner motivation results from these factors: 

  • Generating attention (Attention)
  • Demonstrating relevance and significance (Relevance)
  • Providing opportunities for success and confidence in success (Confidence)
  • Enabling satisfaction (Satisfaction)

The digital whiteboard can be used to generate attention and provide relevance. This is achieved by having learners solve a task in a self-directed way and in collaboration with others.

The freedom of design, range of possibilities and ease of use of digital whiteboards ensure reliable results and therefore prospects of success and confidence.

The level of the task can be controlled, creating both satisfaction and a sense of competence.

Last but not least, the whiteboard functions provide fun and variety for the students, as they can creatively design the whiteboard themselves (e.g. use sticky notes in different colours, insert pictures or videos).


The Collaboard application is available in the Academic Cloud and can be shared with external participants. You can find out more information about the range of features on the website of Collaboard.

Whiteboards in Zoom and MS 365

Other whiteboards are integrated into systems:

  • in the Zoom video conferencing system
  • as an app in Microsoft 365

In both cases, the login procedure for the relevant system must be followed. The login details must not be passed on to third parties.

Standard functions are available for both: Inserting and annotating sticky notes, freehand drawing, inserting text boxes, shapes, templates (including Kanban, Mindmap), context menus for the elements, voting or adding emojis and exporting the board (e.g. as an image).

The Zoom videoconferencing system provides a whiteboard that is displayed as a split screen. By sending the link (e.g. in the chat), all participants can also access and work on it. The whiteboard is automatically saved and is available for future Zoom sessions. Other advantages are that objects can be easily connected and that many emojis are available for commenting; a disadvantage is that it is not possible to upload other media to the whiteboard.

To use the Microsoft 365whiteboard app, log in to with "Organisation" and the Leuphana email address. Further information about MS 365 can be found on the websites for staff and students. With this whiteboard, the background can be coloured (the boards can thus be distinguished), documents can be loaded onto the board and a laser pointer can be used. A disadvantage is that objects can only be connected by freehand strokes. The whiteboard files are automatically saved in a cloud (OneDrive Cloud).