Online whiteboards for effective collaboration – different tools in practice

Whiteboards are an integral part of teaching. However, the use of online whiteboards only recently was pushed into spotlight. Several technical solutions compete for the market and with the sudden move to online teaching settings, many different applications have emerged. Each solutions caters to different teaching scenarios. In this Refresh Teaching event, we will hear from ETH faculty about several application scenarios and settings.

Zoom Meeting room:

Time: Thursday January 14th 2021 , 12:15-13:15


  • Prof. Dr. Tobias Luthe (D-BAUG), IRL-PLUS – Systemic Design Labs, Professor at The Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO), presents experiences from virtual teaching with Miro and Padlet, together with some further participative online tools. Miro is used both as co-design systems mapping board, as schedule course organizer, and as data repository. Padlet is used as low-threshold participative “pin board” and data repository. Both are part of “virtually nudged physical outdoor learning” didactics.
  • Prof. Dr. Ralf Hiptmair Professor at D-MATH, ETHZ, regularly teaching courses and seminars in the field of computational mathematics.
    He uses AWWAPP (A web whiteboard, for small-scale teaching in the framework of student seminars and student thesis supervision and for scientific discussions with international collaborators.
  • Dr. Michèle Gmünden (D-GESS), is a senior researcher in the Think Tank at the Center for Security Studies (D-GESS) and used Jamboard for group work in an interactive seminar to raise awareness for the dual-use dilemma in the life-sciences. Jamboard is very easy to use and similar to a classical flipchart: everyone can modify the document and changes become immediately visible.
  • Hannes Mayer (D-Arch), will present KNOW, a browser-integrated online tool for interactive learning in large groups and with different media. KNOW makes any work directly visible for everyone in real time. It creates a platform for debate and serves as an archiving and publishing tool. Know places strong emphasis on simplicity and graphic design distinguishing it from available managerial tools. The focus is on content and knowledge production. The idea for KNOW derived from an interdisciplinary seminar taught by the philosopher Norman Sieroka (D-GESS) and the architect Hannes Mayer (D-ARCH). KNOW was supported by an ETH Innovedum grant and is hosted by ETH Zurich.
  • Dr. Ulrich Genick (D-BIOL), presents the use of Google Slide for collaboration among students.Google Slide was used as an easy-to-implement “whiteboard”-style tool for short in-class exercises (5-10 min each) in a Zoom-taught lecture with approx. 70 students. The idea behind these exercises was to let students “experience” key concepts implicitly before explaining them explicitly. Google Slide allows students to work on problems individually or in small groups, lets the teacher observe and give feedback to students during the exercise and allows the sharing and discussion of solutions after the exercise.
  • Katrin Wolf and Urs Brändle have used PowerPoint365 slides as a virtual replacement for FlipCharts in a “Problem Based Learning”-Session with First Semester Students of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Web-based like Google Slides, PowerPoint 365 comes with nethz-Login, Desktop sync and the possibility to monitor student activities.

Recording of the event

Link to the Zoom-Recording

Presentation Tobias Luthe – Miro and Padlet

Miro whiteboard:

Presentation Ralf Hiptmair – AWWAPP


Presentation Michèle Gemünden – Google Jamboard


Presentation Hannes Mayer – Know


Presentation Ulrich Genick – Google Slide

Google Slide:

Presentation Urs Brändle and Katrin Wolf


Whiteboard Tool provided by Provided ISG / D-ARCH (ETH): Collaboard

Collaboard is an online whiteboard solution for real-time collaboration and is a product from Switzerland. (choose ADFS and login with your AAI-credentials), hosted at ETH Zürich.

More Information about Collaboard from ISG/D-ARCH :

Comparison of the tools presented

Follows soon…

Chat protocoll

Von Katrin Wolf an Alle :
Von Julia Kehl an Alle :
Von Julia Kehl an Alle :
Von Arthur Braunschweig an Alle : Miro: Do we see “various Whiteboards” on “one Whiteboard”?
Von Saverio Bolognani an Alle : @Tobias: do students need to create an account to use these tools? If yes, do you know how intrusive that is in terms of notifications, emails, etc? Were all the students OK with that?
Von Judit L. an Alle : Are the mindmaps and similar part of miro / padlet or do you use other programs?
Von Arthur Braunschweig an Alle : Please forgive this stupid question: Do you have ex perience on how does one relate These cool interactive Tools with examination content?
Von Tobias Luthe an Alle : @Arthur this was just one whiteboard for the Oslo course. The Padlet was the Freiburg course.
Von Gunnar Schwarz an Alle : general question: what about data safty? some courses may include „semi public“ data or „ETH internal research data“
Von Arthur Braunschweig an Alle : @tobias: I meant the structure of miro. It looks like multiple Whiteboards, all shown on a head Whiteboard. Is this a correct description?
Von Julia Kehl an Alle :
Von Ulrich Genick an Alle : does only one person need to buy the AWWAP license or does every participant in the class have to purchase one.
Von Tobias Luthe an Alle : @Saverio students need to create a profile, but one could even use an „anonymous“ profile if wanted. One can switch off any notifications for not getting disturbed. All students were ok with this, it really can be used as a tool to visit when you want, but it doesn’t bother you if switched off.
Von Ralf Hiptmair an Alle :
Von Tobias Luthe an Alle : @Arthur Miro has one huge white space. You can develop different „sub whiteboards“ and even make some private or lock them.
Von Beatrice Krause an Alle : A general question: What’s about the data privacy? Could we use all Tools at the ETH, which today presented?
Von Pascal Schmidt an Alle : Dear Gunnar – 1. it is the responsibility of the teachers to clarify whether the tool they use complies with the ETH data protection guidelines.

  1. ETH (ID, LET) offers a number of (comparable) collaborative tools that are compliant with data protection. These tools should be the first choice.
  2. Students cannot be required to use tools outside the ETH range for courses or exercises if they do not want to do so because of data protection.
    Von Tobias Luthe an Alle : My experience is that, if used wisely, students are very happy to engage in this case. Any „delicate“ data such as interview raw data etc would be handled separately, e.g. password protected on Uni server etc.
    Von Gunnar Schwarz an Alle : thanks!
    Von Pascal Schmidt an Alle : Thank you Tobias for the comment
    Von Arthur Braunschweig an Alle : Awwapp in exams: All students Need to have same rules. So either all or none may use a tab, right?
    Von Beatrice Krause an Alle : @Pascal: Thanks! Is there a list of the tools, which the ETH (LET) offers?
    1Von Pascal Schmidt an Alle : @Beatrice: This is the site of Tools offered by LET, but ID offers many more:
    Von Pascal Schmidt an Alle : PS: we will mention more at the end of the event
    Von Sarah Shephard an Alle : @Tobias: Can you write “by hand” on Miro too?
    Von Beatrice Krause an Alle : @Pascal: Great! Thanks!
    Von Tobias Luthe an Alle : in Miro, we worked with 60+ conference participants on a couple of different tasks with sub-whiteboard fields. If lost on a large board with many people, one can always either „collect“ all participants with a click and „center“ them where you/teacher’s cursor is, or you can click on any one’s profile icon and automatically get carried to this person’s position. Very convenient for not getting lost and organize larger group processes.
    12:49:15 Von Ulrike Lohmann an Alle : @Ralf: Is AWWAPP superior to the zoom whiteboard in your opinion? To me it looks like that they have similar functionality – or am I missing something?
    Von Julia Kehl an Alle :
    Von Ralf Hiptmair an Alle : AWWAPP has many more tool, also allows you to save the contents, and include graphics/PDFs.
    Von Ulrich Genick an Alle : @michele with jamboard we found that the number of individuals who can work on one jamboard is limited. And this limit seems to vary from day to day. In one case we were not able to have more than 25 participants at a time. Have you experienced this and do you know a solution?
    12:58:03 Von Roger Gassert an Alle : @Michèle: we’ve been using Mural quite a bit and been very happy with it. Do you know Mural and can you compare it to Jamboard?
    Von Michèle Gemünden an Alle : @ulrich That’s interesting to know! No, we did not experience this problem, as we did not have so many people in our course. But it’s very helpful to consider this limit.
    Von Philip Barth an Alle :
    Von Michèle Gemünden an Alle : @Roger: I had a look at Mural when I looked for a tool. Don’t you need an account for everyone? Or at least one payed account? What is your experience with that?
    Von Tobias Luthe an Alle : @Hannes students/people w/o ETH email address can or cannot access/view this Know board?
    Von Urs Brändle an Alle : @Hannes: can you use a pen?
    Von Roger Gassert an Alle : @Michèle: I’ve always used it via a link provided by the student who set it up, so it’s at most one license. I’m guessing he has an account, but don’t know if he had to pay for it – I‘ll follow up on this.
    Von Hannes Mayer an Alle : @yes, there is basic pen function which works very well if you use a Wacom bamboo pad
    Von Michèle Gemünden an Alle : @Roger: Thank you, would be interesting to know!
    Von Hannes Mayer an Alle : @Tobias: currently it is restricted to staff/students at ETH with address. However, we are working on a version for the general public. to be launched soon.
    Von Beatrice Krause an Alle : Thanks you very much, I have to go. Have a nice afternoon.
    Von Christian Sailer an Alle : Students were able to delete the slides!?
    Von Julia Kehl an Alle : Collaboard is an online whiteboard solution for real-time collaboration and is a product from Switzerland.
    Von Julia Kehl an Alle : 28.1: Diversity and Inclusion in Teaching and Learning
    11.2: Conducting studies for evidence-based teaching
    25.2: Oral exams
    Von Arthur Braunschweig an Alle : can you remind the blog adress?
    Von Philip Barth an Alle :
    Von Pascal Schmidt an Alle :
    Von Hannes Andres Gamper an Alle : THANKS