How do I show a blackboard, a whiteboard, or a document camera to students online?

This article offers resources for sharing handwritten materials though videos or synchronous sessions. These materials may be handwritten equations or drawings. In addition, these tools offer options to annotate existing text, graphs, or diagrams.
If you typically use a blackboard, a whiteboard, or a document camera in a face-to-face classroom and you'd like to deliver this type of material online through a video, or a synchronous session, there are a number of hardware and software options available.
Creating asynchronous video recordings that your students could watch anytime through your Canvas course site, is a great option. It provides great flexibility for your students and offers them opportunities to review and reflect on your materials. However, the options below will also work with Zoom displaying your materials in a real-time, live session.
With many of the option listed below, there may be costs involved. However, it's worth checking with your department to see if they have resources already available, or if there are purchasing options to assist you.

Document Camera:

The document camera is most like the experience in a face-to-face classroom because you can use any writing device you choose (e.g. pen and paper, whiteboard and marker, etc.).
There are two cameras recommended by the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning and the College of Letters and Science. Both made by the same company, IPEVO. Both cameras will easily allow you to display legal sized paper and both have easy to use features. Both cameras also allow you to quickly (with a button located on the device) switch between using the camera to display documents and using the camera as a webcam. This is very useful, especially for virtual sessions.
Both cameras also use the same software to make and edit recordings, and to make setting adjustments when connected to your computer or for use in Collaborate. The software is quite user-friendly and versatile. Here’s a great video that demonstrates the software with a variety of uses: 


This camera is smaller and designed for portability. Fixed focus, which is useful to ensure sharp visuals, through the software


This camera is less portable, but has better camera, producing crisper images. It also has a fixed focus button on the device, which is useful to ensure sharp visuals. 
    • Manufacturer information can be found here: 
    • Amazon versions of this product are sold by resellers and the price is inflated. If you are interested in this camera, you could order it on the manufacturer website, but be aware that you may not get the camera to prepare for the semester start.
    • Useful video review can be found here: Note that this review is for the wireless version (VZ-X), but the rest of the functionality is the same as the VZ-R.

Tablet and Stylus:

To use a tablet and stylus, you’ll need to own or purchase a tablet PC and an active stylus. Many UWM instructors have had good luck with a Microsoft Surface when they purchase an active stylus that is designed for use with that specific Microsoft Surface model. If you’d like more information about purchasing a tablet/stylus, please see the UWM Tech Store Online: If you already have a tablet and active stylus, CETL or your School or College Technology Support Staff may be able to help you setup your equipment. 
If you wish to record a video using your tablet PC, CETl supports screen recording software, called Kaltura Capture. You can also use your tablet PC to broadcast handwritten materials in Collaborate Ultra.

Wacom Board: 

There are departments at UWM using Wacom Intuos Medium tablet (CTL6100Wlk0): with success. 

iPad Pro and Apple Pencil:

If you happen to have an iPad Pro (, you can use an Apple Pencil ( to create asynchronous video recordings with “hand-written" materials. While you can use an iPad/Apple Pencil in Collaborate, you’d need to use the whiteboard tool rather than share a PDF document or PowerPoint. Unfortunately, you aren’t able to share an application in a Collaborate session on an iPad.

Mobile Device Converted to a Document Camera:

There are low-tech options which includes paper, marker, and your mobile device. Kathy Pinkowsky, Instructional Technologist for the College of Letters and Science, has created a great video that explains how to use these simple tools to create handwritten materials using your mobile device as a document camera: 


Lightboards are large backlit panes of glass on which instructors draw while speaking into a camera. They are similar to a traditional whiteboard, with the exception that instructors stand behind the glass to draw equations, write notes, and edit on-screen slides. All the while instructors are able to look directly at the camera where students would be in a face-to-face classroom. Here is a short demo): There have been a number of steps taken to ensure COVID-related healthy precautions. If you are interested, you can find out more at:

Keywordsdocument camera handwritten drawing equations Tablet and Stylus Wacom Board iPad Pro and Apple Pencil Mobile Device iPhone Lightboard   Doc ID108298
OwnerAmy M.GroupCETL
Created2021-01-12 18:46:20Updated2024-05-28 14:33:28
SitesUW-Milwaukee Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning
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