The widespread use of interactive whiteboards (IWB) in primary and secondary schools has been well documented, yet there is to date only limited attention to use in tertiary institutions. Macquarie University has installed this technology in many of its teaching spaces in the past few years. This paper reports a case study undertaken in the university's undergraduate Chinese beginner course, which began to use IWB learning activities in 2009. Our study was undertaken to obtain students' perceptions of the IWB pedagogy in Chinese language acquisition in general and in particular, of the effectiveness of IWB in the retention of Chinese characters. To many students whose first language is non-logographic, the recognition and retention of characters are the most difficult tasks in learning Chinese. Our findings indicate that the IWB's affordance to create a variety of visual activities has impacted, most saliently, the retention of characters and syntactical elements. Students also report that the IWB has enhanced the learning experience, reflected in increased motivation and engagement through interaction with this technology. The tertiary students reveal particular learning priorities, in appreciating interaction, intellectual demand and participation, as components of effective learning. The feedback process itself proved to be useful in facilitating critical awareness in both teacher and students, of teaching strategies and learning respectively.