Alternative Drawing Options

Instructor information for online whiteboard and drawing tools.

  • If you have access to a physical whiteboard (in your home or office), you can simply point a webcam at it and share that video with students in BB.
  • You can create a makeshift “document camera” by strapping a webcam to a lamp or something similar, and pointing the camera at a piece of paper.
  • If you have an iPad or other tablet, we can mirror the iPad/tablet screen to BB sessions. Talk to your students on BB collaborate, write/draw explanations on an iPad or tablet, mirror your iPad/tablet screen in a web browser on your computer, then share the browser’s window with students on BB collaborate, for your student to see your explanations.
  • There are several apps to mirror the iPad screen. Here is one, free to test out, and $5 to purchase:
  • Alternatively and more simply, drawing on the BB whiteboard from within the iPad is actually quite good. The BB whiteboard is small, but the drawing quality is quite okay when drawing from an iPad (with a finger). Still, we cannot erase one thing at a time.
  • If you have a touchscreen laptop, you can improve your writing and drawing with a stylus. There are numerous guides online for creating makeshift styluses out of common household items; Michael M. tried a few and had very mixed results. He purchased this inexpensive stylus ( and had great results with it.
  • Another option for those without touchscreen devices is a drawing pad ( These vary widely in price; MM had decent results with a very inexpensive one. You simply plug the pad in via USB (or connect via Bluetooth, depending on the pad), open some app to draw on (a BB whiteboard, OneNote, MS Paint), and write on it like a piece of paper. More expensive pads have a built-in screen, while less expensive ones are more like a large laptop touchpad; either way, the computer treats the drawing pad like a USB mouse. (If you are unfamiliar with the concept of a drawing pad, also called a drawing tablet, this is a pretty good overview

BB Collaborate Ultra

Information for instructors regarding BB Collaborate Ultra.

For lectures:

  • There is a whiteboard on which we can draw. On the whiteboard or on slides, curves are “smoothed”, so it’s not too bad.
    Be aware that the eraser button clears the entire white board: there is no ability to partially erase elements.
  • To share handwritten notes, if we have slides, insert a blank slide where we would need to use the whiteboard:
    we can write / draw on our own slide (it won’t affect the slides themselves, it will just appear in what everyone sees)
  • We can let students write on our slides. If they want to draw something to explain their question, they can! This is a really cool feature I think, to restore interactivity.
  • Use a headset / mic for better sound, make sure that students mute their camera, and mute their audio if not speaking.
    Moderators we can mute them all. You can make one student moderator to help out while you focus on the statistical content: this student would have the ability to mute other students’ mic or video, which could fix sound or connectivity issues. But it’s dangerous: as a moderator, this student could also advance your slides, make breakout rooms, and kick people out of the room.
  • There is a chat area of course, for students to ask questions. They can raise (and lower) their hands, we can lower their hands. It lets us know if we need to stop: we can tell the student to ask their question via audio, or on the chat area
  • Hit ‘recording’ before you start: it is so easy to forget and regret it at the end. The recorded session will be accessible
    on Canvas after, for those who missed your lecture. Let your students know that your lecture is recorded. The recorded file will not appear immediately after you finish the session, but appears some number of minutes later (probably longer for longer sessions). In the same session, you can start and stop recording multiple times. For example, break a single lecture into multiple recorded pieces, one for each section. This is a good idea to keep the overall size of the videos more manageable. After the recordings appear, you can rename them to help students find the right one.
  • It’s ultra easy to create “breakout rooms”. The system will automatically group students in groups of 5 (say) for them to discuss whatever we might want to discuss. We can set a timer that everyone will see, to give them 5 minutes (say) for the discussion. Write the discussion prompt on the “everyone” chat, for it to remain accessible to students after the system “sends” them into their breakout rooms.

For discussions:

  • We can have direct interaction. Same as above.

For office hours:

  • Same as above.
  • With fewer students, we may use everyone’s camera and everyone’s audio. Use headphones, though, or mute everyone if the sound is poor.

For group projects:

  • We can create a session per group, and leave the “rooms” unlocked. Students can get in there anytime. They can see who
    else is there, so they see if they are with their team mates or not. It gives students a way to meet with each other remotely. Alternatively, they could use skype or other platforms of course, outside of UW-software.