Big Blue Button

From ITS Wiki - Information Technology Services - University of Rhode Island

Jump to: navigation, search



BigBlueButton is an open-source web-conferencing application built for higher education.

Big Blue Button is also referred to as the Sakai meetings tool.

Sakai Integration

The Sakai Meetings tool is an integration of BigBlueButton (BBB) with our Sakai Learning Management System. The Meeting tool is hosted on a remote BigBlueButton server. Using BBB allows faculty Sakai users to easily create, manage and join meetings from a Sakai worksite.

This integration provides the following capabilities:

  • Control meetings - create/edit/update/delete BBB meetings from Sakai.
  • Meeting access - define meeting access by selecting all users, groups, roles or individual users in site.
  • Tool access - define who can do what on the Sakai tool.
  • Scheduling - optionally, define meeting start dates and/or end dates and add it to site Calendar.
  • Notification - optionally, send an email notification to meeting participants.
  • Statistics - the tool logs information automatically processed by the Site Stats tool.

The newest version of BBB includes:

  • Polling-to increase feedback and engagement with students
  • Improved video dock
  • Emoticons
  • Automatic reconnect


There are three user roles in BigBlueButton: viewer, presenter, and moderator.

  • Viewers: 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.
  • Presenters: have all the same capabilities as a participant, with the added features of uploading presentations and sharing their desktop
  • Moderators: have all the capabilities as a participant, with the added features of uploading presentations and sharing their desktop

The BBB website has a number of useful videos that demonstrate features for both viewers and presenters.


BBB Vewers have the following capabilities:

  • Raise Your Hand- The Web Participants window lets the presenter and moderator see all the users logged into the current session. Any user can raise their hand to get the attention of the presenter.
  • See all Participants- The Voice window shows all the users that are currently connected to the voice conference bridge, either by calling in directly or using the built-in voice over IP client.
  • Watch presentations- The presentation window displays the current presentation. Participants can zoom in the presentation using the slider, or navigate through the slides using the arrow button.
  • Public and Private Chat- The Chat window enables all participants to conduct public or private chats
  • See each other- Viewers can share video over the web using a built or external webcam. Multiple participants and a presenter can be sharing their video simultaneously
  • See the Presenters cursor- Within the presentation window, viewers are able to see where the presenter is pointing to by the indication of a red circle.


Users with the role of presenter appear with a presenter icon next to their name. BBB Presenters have the following capabilities:

  • Mute or Eject Participants- You can and un-muting 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 any PDF or Office documents- A presenter is able to upload any PDF or Office document. You can upload multiple documents and switch between them during the presentation. All participants see the current slide as the presenter moves through their presentation.
  • 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.


As a moderator you make anyone (including yourself) a presenter by clicking the participants name and then clicking on the presenter icon.


Source: Vince Petronio

Instructors DEFINITELY need to use headphones with microphones when using Big Blue Button (BBB) because the microphone picks up the speaker noise which interferies with audio quality.

Students who have audio-only headsets (no microphone) can leave their audio on all the time. The students without headsets should have their audio muted--they can then use the "raise hand" feature to talk using the computer's built-in mic. Other students and the instructor will need to be silent when they do transmit so that there is no echo/feedback.