I am trying to come up with a method to live broadcast my lectures to parties connected to the internet. Up to now, I have been using FaceTime to transmit my work on a whiteboard. This method works, but the quality is lacking.

The crux is I do not want to record "my person," but rather what I write on some surface. This previously asked question (Device for writing a lecture with a stylus for video lecture recording) solves the problem for non-live transmission. That is, for the previously answered question, the individual records and subsequently uploads the lecture. I would like to do something similar, but live-transmit the lecture. Does anyone have a reasonable method by which they do this?

My ideal solution would be something like an interactive pen display (e.g., http://www.monoprice.com/Product?c_id=113&cp_id=11314&cs_id=1131401&p_id=12076) which could somehow be transmitted in real-time. The software side of this is where I get iffy. (Also, I am running a mac.)

Another solution could surely come from a document camera, but again the software leaves me dry.

To summarize: I am looking for a hardware/mac-based software solution to live transmit document-based lectures over the internet.

  • 1
    Could you share screen? How about a painting software + a pen tablet? Mar 23 '15 at 13:50
  • I could certainly screen-share. That might be an efficient solution. Mar 23 '15 at 16:09
  • You want a lightboard. May 20 '20 at 13:40
  • Ok, so this question was just closed. - Just a quick comment for clarification on a point... in the accepted answer for the meta post on shopping questions it seems that it is ok to ask about software solutions.(academia.meta.stackexchange.com/q/3657) - is that correct - I realise that the question is broader than just software solutions as it stands, but I wonder if it could be edited so it only asks about software and if then it would be possible to reopen? - Just thinking this is quite a relevant question in the current pandemic with so much online teaching.
    – tom
    May 21 '20 at 10:16

This is a really really late answer (5 years late) but a natural solution seems to me to be to use OBS, open broadcast software. I believe it was developed for people who wanted to stream themselves playing video games. So it will certainly grab content from your computer and broadcast it. Personally I have only used it to record in the past.

Note that I have no connection to OBS and it is free!

  • 1
    Actually, late answers to important questions are valued here. And the topic is timely.
    – Buffy
    May 20 '20 at 12:55
  • @Buffy, thanks for the kind comment :-) yes I was thinking that it might be a timely thing to put up... and OBS is free so interesting perhaps
    – tom
    May 20 '20 at 13:25

You could try using a Bamboo tablet (or really any tablet - I mention Bamboo only because I've heard good things) with this service: AWW - A Web Whiteboard. The $10/month version allows you to invite view-only guests, as well as save a limited number of boards (they've got several levels of plans).

The advantage of the web-based solution is that it doesn't matter what OS your viewers have - they just need an internet connection.


From another answer by @tom

a natural solution seems to me to be to use OBS, open broadcast software. I believe it was developed for people who wanted to stream themselves playing video games.

I have used OBS for non-academic purposes and intend to fully use it for academic purposes. It is a wonderful piece of software and combined with a free video editor, for simple cutting - pasting, can work wonders.

I assume that your institution does not provide an integrated platform, such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom, so you cannot rely on existing infrastucture for streaming and recording. Setting up a Zoom meeting so you can livecast your lecture is quite easy but its web safety is problematic. You could look into streaming platforms such as YouTube or Twitch but I do not know their functionality, fees or suitability.

You could also consider on-screen cursor highlighting while streaming, if literally writing on a surface is not absolutely necessary. Some very simple and effective solutions can be found here and here


If you have the time to prepare the lecture beforehand, subjecting your audience to your scribbling and correcting on-line isn't the best use of your (or their) time. Using electronic means allows viewers to jump back and forth, view when they have time, look it over several times. I believe using that freedom effectively is more important.

In my experience, on-line interaction is invaluable in one-on-one contact (or at most a small, as in at most five people or so) group. In larger groups it isn't really effective. Over the 'net the interaction loses much (can't see the body language of "I didn't get that" or "I'm bored"), so I doubt this will be very effective.

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