We’ve recently been investigating options for including webinars to our blended learning teaching practice, and something that might also be easily integrated within Moodle. We believe we’ve found the perfect fit- BigBlueButton.
The beauty of BBB is not only that its open source and therefore free, but it also comes with integration for Moodle. Our ‘IT Crowd‘ were able to download and install BBB and integrate it with our Moodle 2 test site in a matter of minutes. Once installed it becomes available from the Activities drop down within Moodle.
The clip below shows you how easy it is to add a BBB activity to a Moodle topic, it’s settings within Moodle and then shows you what a student would see when they enter their course.
Let’s be clear, it’s not as fully featured as say Adobe Connect but in our testing we’ve found it to be just as stable & featured enough to not have a need to source more expensive proprietary products. There are three roles available for participants-
- Viewer: are users who have no authority within the conference; their primary role is to view the presentation as well as chat amongst other participants. In a course the viewer would be the students.
- Presenter: has all the same capabilities as a participant, with the added features of uploading presentations and sharing their desktop
- Moderator: has all the capabilities as a participant, with the added features of uploading presentations and sharing their desktop and perhaps more importantly mute particpants
- Public and Private Chat: The Chat window enables all participants to conduct public or private chats
- Watch presentations: The presentation window displays the current presentation Participants can zoom in the presentation using the slider, as we navigated through the slides using the arrow button
- Mute or Eject Participants: You can mute and un-mute participants in the conference by clicking the icons located at the bottom left side of the module. You can also eject participants from the voice conference by clicking on their name and then clicking the eject button
- Share your Desktop: As a presenter you have the capability of sharing your desktop with others in the conference. When you share your desktop, BigBlueButton will launch a Java Applet that asks for your permissions to run. You have the option of sharing a portion of your desktop or the entire screen.
What can’t it do (at present)
- Record the session, but we believe this is in development for future releases. NB: BBB does allow you to copy the text from the Chat box for administrative uses etc.
- Polling, you cannot ask questions and have your students respond using voting buttons like Elluminate allows
- Text annotation on the screen. This is a little disappointing however you can annotate & highlight using ‘pen’ and shape tools
Remember this is not Skype, while you can connect ‘one to many’ with Skype there is a cost attached; BBB is free. Another advantage is the user doesn’t have to load any software- a big bonus for novice or not tech-savvy students
Our next post we’ll discuss webinar teaching practice and how to get the most out of your sessions given a little bit of planning and some sensible ground rules- stay tuned!
We hope you enjoyed this post, please feel free to make a comment or ask a question.
The Learning Innovation team