Moodle Monday: Big Blue Button by @timdalton

2059

Following on from the post on Moodlenews announcing the activity module for Big Blue Button we have had it installed and in testing for a little while now. Big Blue Button is a fantastic piece of open source software for delivering remote classroom/training type sessions.

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Having spent a fair amount of time using GoToMeeting I can say with some authority that BBB more than happily competes in terms of features, and we have had no problems at all with stability or speed of the service.

What I wanted to share this Monday is how good the Moodle module is. With this installed our staff have a simple way to create and schedule their own webinars, requiring no input from the Moodle admins.

As you can see from the screen shot, the set up is the work of seconds. This creates a private BBB room for your students automatically. All students have to do is click the relevant activity link from your Moodle course, the rest is taken care for them.

We’ve found advising students to plug in and test their headphones/mics in advance saves time getting started, and using the ‘hands up’ button to speak is a good rule to control the noise levels in busy sessions.

The ability to upload a presentation to your virtual classroom is a useful feature, as is annotating it as you go. I also really like the option to share all or part of a presenters screen.

Really good stuff. I’m a big fan of Big Blue Button, and the beautifully transparent way it hooks up to Moodle only makes it better. If you’re an IT admin you should definitely look at getting BBB installed. If you’re not and would like to try it there’s a demo on their site, or get in touch and we’ll see if we can help you out.

6 COMMENTS

  1. I love BBB too. Except that I couldn’t figure out how to install the server part onto my Linux CENTOS server. So I used the demo server which I think is heavily used most times. I think I need a weekend to do the installation plus another extra 512Mb RAM. Anyway, from what I have experienced so far, it’s good. Love the internation Google-Translate enabled chat feature.

  2. I love how easy it is to use with the Moodle module except we have some severe echoing with the audio and not everyone is always able to grab a headset to cut it down. I really hope that’s addressed in the next release.

  3. Hi Frankie,

    We currently develop and test BigBlueButton on Ubuntu 10.04 32-bit or 64-bit. If you can try it on that version of Linux, you’ll have your own BigBlueButton server running in about 15 minutes.

    Hi Jon,

    For the moment, everyone needs to use a headset. If you have a student join the voice conference without a headset, mute them and ask them to get a headset. By muting them, you won’t hear an echo when their microphone picks up the audio coming out from their speakers.

    Regards,… Fred
    BigBlueButton Developer

  4. Without doubt BBB is a great product with more to come thanks to fantastic input/development from the Open Source community.

    As Jon mentioned, echoing IS a problem that can be mitigated with headsets but I’m sure as development moves ahead this might be rectified through better software.

    We’ve found that BBB’s strength is its simplicity.

    Take a peek at our blog and in particular comments posted on our most recent post from one of our teachers in which she discusses her experience with BBB.

  5. Possibly worth mentioning that while we find many students don’t have a proper headset they do often work on a laptop which has a built in mic. Getting them to just use a pair of ordinary headphones along with the built in mic is a nice easy way to cure the echo.

    Aware that won’t be new information to most of you, but thought it was worth sharing just in case.

    Tim

  6. I have been a big fan of BBB for quite some time. We use it for professional development in a K-12 environment. We actually made a donation to the developers to help with implementing Record/Playback as well as updating their WordPress plugin to accommodate the new record features coming.

    We currently have it installed for wordpress and moodle integration. The .8 version should be coming soon with the new record feature. In case you didn’t know, there companies who provide BBB as a service if you can’t run it in-house.

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