Collaborative canvases


Canvases are online collaborative spaces built on the metaphor of a large canvas or or pinboards where participants can write text, post images, video and other graphical materials. These canvases usually allow participants to brainstorm by adding all sorts of media into the same space, or to participate in structured discussions where ideas are gathered and sorted afterwards or participants post answer to a number of specific questions. These questions can be structured in ways to help the group analyse a specific topic or problem. A SWOT analysis is one of the better known forms for such a structured discussion.

On this page we present a few such tools. Starting with Padlet which is probably the easiest to use, especially because it does not require log-in to edit. The others, Mural and Tuzzit require log-in from all users but offer a wider array of possibilities. Finally there are links to some collaborative drawing tools.


A Padlet canvas from one of our webinars. Participants wrote summaries of group discussions on the canvas, we collected presentation slides, links to the web, photos from sessions and recordings from the session all in this single canvas. This way participants have a record from the event which they can even continue editing.

Padlet lets you create a digital noticeboard where you and your colleagues can write notes and upload documents, photos, slideshows, podcasts, films or links. Just drag and drop files on to the workspace. You can create lots of different spaces and share them with whoever you want, even publically.

Useful for:

  • Collecting ideas, brainstorming
  • Storyboarding
  • Planning an activity or event
  • Collecting everyone’s lecture or field work notes on one page
  • Gathering the results of group work in a webinar and even including the webinar recording link, slideshow etc

The greatest benefit of using Padlet during a webinar is that participants do not need to log into the service. The meeting host only needs to post the link to the canvas to be used during the event and all participants can begin to use the canvas without any formalities.

We have often used Padlet to get groups in a room and online to post group work results on the canvas, together with posting links to useful material, thus creating a record of the event with participant input, presentations, slides, recordings of the event and links to further material.

Here’s a video showing how to use the main functions in Padlet:



Using Mural, participants can answer structured questions and even vote for the most relevant ideas. This allows moderators to use Webinars to use various democratic and creative methods with groups.

Mural is another canvassing software which will not be specially treated here because it is only accessible through subscription, and all participants who participate need to login in order to participate in the work. However it merits a mention, because for small groups which work often together it has the benefits of functionality which is not available in the free tools. One of these is the possibility of answering structured questions on “post-it” notes or “Moderationskarten” (DE) and voting and ranking. Also a great number of structured canvasses which can ease the work for structured discussions.

More info on Mural


Tuzzit  a new canvas service offering a similar service to Mural. On the Tuzzit site there are very useful instructions about using structured canvasses such as SWOT or the Business model Canvas etc. 


Lino is another canvas for working with “sticky notes” online.  Here is a blog post comparing Lino and Padlet


Drawing, sketching and whiteboarding tools

On a simmilar note as the canvassing tools mentioned above there are also tools which function on the metaphor of Whiteboards or sketchblocks


More on collaboration

Collaboration increase the benefits for webinar participants: