BigBlueButton’s 2.0 Updates Makes Real-Time Online Sharing A Pleasure

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The latest update of BigBlueButton, the popular online conferencing and resource sharing application and Moodle plugin, has taken a noticeable leap forward in user experience.

Fred Dixon, BigBlueButton’s Product Manager, groups the enhancements into three categories: UI, Shared Notes, and the Whiteboard. In UI, the main area of work, high-resolution icons and a more intuitive and consistent design is palpable right away. From the same dashboard, users can access all their resources and control the conversation. New or improved features include:

  • When uploading a presentation for sharing, an option to designate whether students can download the slides or not.
  • The pen tool now has “smoothing” of the drawings made on the presentation.
  • New “Copy chat” and “Save chat” buttons.
  • “Log out and end meeting” button for moderators.
  • Full-screen mode.
  • Integration with Greenlight enables users outside of Moodle to join live sessions.

The new Shared Notes sandbox, available on the layout options, opens a place where all participants can write, edit, and format the same text in real time. Moderators can open up to three notes. Notes are not saved as part of the session recording, but they can be downloaded in HTML or plain text format.

Finally, the new Whiteboard functions in the same spirit as shared notes, offering a space for collaborative, real-time sketching. It supports curves (with smoothing) or text with rich formatting options. Pointers of active users will appear with their name on the screen of the other participants.

BigBlueButton is free under a GNU license. To make it work with Moodle, it must be installed on a server (instructions here) before installing the Moodle BBB plugin. Integrations with other LMS, systems, and even LTI are also available.

Try BigBlueButton at demo.bigbluebutton.org/b. (It requires Flash.)


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