Using Participative Collaboration Techniques in Virtual Whiteboards

The key to effective participation and engagement in virtual environments is to use tools where everyone can contribute equally and concurrently. The tools offered in the meetings clinic enable this to happen, but they need the virtual equivalent of a wall they can be pinned on, and sticky-notes that people can add in themselves. These environments are known as virtual whiteboards.
Our own current whiteboard preference is for ConceptBoard, and we have created a number of resources in support of this. However, if your own preference is different, this should not be an obstacle – the resources we have created (even those currently within ConceptBoard) can be copied and pasted into other Whiteboard environments also. These resources are listed (and linked) below.
To use the tool templates we have made available we would propose the following steps:
  • Select the right tool for the job, and familiarise yourself with its use. You can use the meeting tool selector to guide you in this, and read the guidance by searching for meeting tools in the clinic.
  • Set up your whiteboard and drag & drop your tool into it. If you wish to use ConceptBoard for this, you may find this guidance helpful.
  • Create a sample post it note to get a sense of scale, and then adjust the size of the template by dragging a corner until it is big enough to handle the likely volume of post-its required by your size of group
  • Annotate the template with relevant headings, and include any relevant guidance on the tool from the meetings clinic
  • In some whiteboard tools (such as ConceptBoard) you will be able to set the template as a section, and then set that section as the start section – this will help to corral your attendees into the right location
  • Where possible, pin the template and guidance/annotations into place so they do not get accidentally moved or misaligned as a result of overzealous activity in the meeting
  • Copy a link to the board and send it out in the meeting invitation or place it at the end of the preceding activity
Track your progress to ensure the efficacy of this strategy.