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I have been teaching online language courses since the beginning von the COVID-19 pandemic, and we've stayed online since it saves commuting time and allows the participation of mothers with young children.
One thing lacking in online courses, however, is writing together or writing by participants in the view of other participants. Therefore I welcomed the new whiteboard features, but it failed the test. I prepared a storyboard with a separate space for each participant. The idea was that all participants would take notes in their own spaces while listening to an audio.
However, only one participant managed to navigate to her space and start writing (see attachment). The others deleted the frame prepared for them, could not precisely locate their space or failed to do anything. The reason does not seem to be a technical problem but rather a lack of dexterity of particpants in navigating their mouse precisely on a small screen. Most participants only have tablets, some are even participating with smartphones.
What would be needed is to allocate a separate whiteboard to each participant and then join these individual whiteboards into one to be seen by all after participants have finished writing. These "breakout whiteboards" could be much simpler than the current whiteboard. For our purpose, the graphical functions of the whiteboard are only confusing and distracting. "Breakout whiteboards" could be similar to an etherpad. They should support simple text production, possibly some basic formatting, but not more. Unlike in breakout sessions, participants should continue to be united on audio but be able to use the full screen available to them for writing on their individual whilteboard.
For the teacher, it should be possible to prepare these individual whiteboards with a task, using a master whiteboard which is then multiplied and allocated to the participants.