On the recent post, “What the Blackboard Acquisition means for Moodle“, Denis Zgonjanin commented that a possible open source alternative to both Wimba and Elluminate resides in BigBlueButton.

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BBB is only 2 years old and is an open source synchronous education tool.  In response to the acquisition, the official BigBlueButton blog says,

But what if universities and colleges had an open source web solution that integrated with Moodle and Sakai?

What if they had a really good open source alternative that offered real-time collaboration, virtual classrooms, and enabled any student anywhere in the world to have a high-quality learning experience?

What if that alternative was truly an open source project, not just in name, but in the way it has supported its global community of users and developers over the past two years.

And what if that alternative that was backed by not one company, but by a global community of companies all improving the software for the benefit of everyone?

That’s what we’re working hard to provide with BigBlueButton.

We believe that the real-time learning space will explode in the next two years as networks get faster, access spreads to remote students, and universities and colleges increasingly become global educational intuitions. [link]

Unlike Elluminate and Wimba, BigBlueButton will require some technical expertise to set up a server to run the software.  You can however check it out at their demo site [http://demo.bigbluebutton.org/].

From a cursory review I can say that the software opened seamlessly, without any trouble on my laptop (which is running Linux Ubuntu and Chrome browser).  It’s very slick and could certainly mean a new page for synchronous, open source educational tools that integrate into Moodle.

Did I mention that there’s already a Moodle plugin? [http://moodle.org/mod/data/view.php?d=13&rid=3524]

Will you make the switch?

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  1. In addition to BigBlueButton as an alternative to both Wimba and Elluminate, you may try tools like on premise R-HUB web conferencing servers. It provides 6 real time collaboration applications in one box.

  2. Wow — this article was posted over six years ago. We’ve been working on BigBlueButton full time for over seven years. The product now supports WebRTC for audio, faster desktop sharing, polling, support for screen readers (such as JAWS), and very deep integration with Moodle. Its in use by many large (and small) schools around the world. All of it open source. All of it built with teachers and students in mind.


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