BigBlueButton is an open source web conferencing system for online learning.
BigBlueButton provides all the core capabilities you expect in a web conferencing system, including real-time sharing of
BigBlueButton is a pure HTML5 application. As such, there is no downloaded, plugin, or extension to install. Instead, it uses the browser’s built-in support for web real-time communications (WebRTC) for sharing of media. For desktop computers, we recommend Chrome or FireFox as they both provide excellent support for WebRTC. Microsoft recently announced they are moving Edge to use the Chromium engine as well (yay!).
BigBlueButton implements a responsive interface that run on desktop and mobile devices. The following screen shot was taken from our demo server at https://demo.bigbluebutton.org). (Anyone can use https://demo.bigbluebutton.org to try out BigBlueButton).
The goal of the BigBlueButton project is to enable instructors to engage remote student in a high-quality online learning experience. We designed BigBlueButton for the following use cases:
- tutoring/virtual office hours
- flipped classroom
- student collaboration
- full online classes
For online learning, BigBlueButton gives you many ways to engage students, including
- chat (public and private)
- multi-user whiteboard
- shared notes
- breakout rooms
BigBlueButton can record your session for later playback. To support students with accessibility needs, BigBlueButton is compatible with JAWS screen reader (see our accessibility statement).
BigBlueButton is open source under the LGPL license. If you are a developer you are free (and welcome) to build upon our project for your needs. If you are familiar with Linux, you are (more than) welcome to setup your own BigBlueButton server (see links below).
This site contains the project’s documentation. It is written for administrators and developers who want to setup a BigBlueButton server, customize it, and integrate it with existing applications using our API. If you are an end-user (instructor or teacher) and interested in how to use BigBlueButton, visit bigbluebutton.org.
Two types of users
In a BigBlueButton session there are only two types of users: a viewer or moderator.
A viewer (typically the student) can chat, send/receive audio and video, respond to polls, and display an emoji (such as raise hand).
A moderator (typically the instructor) has all the capabilities of a viewer plus the ability to mute/unmute other viewers, lock down viewers (i.e. restrict them from doing private chat), and assign anyone (including themselves) the role of presenter.
The presenter controls the presentation area. This means they can upload slides, annotate the current slide with the whiteboard controls, enable/disable multi-user whiteboard, start a poll, and share their screen for all to see.
Getting started quickly with BigBlueButton
If you are new to BigBlueButton and want to learn more about its capabilities:
- Watch the overview videos to better understand the capabilities of viewer, moderator, and presenter.
- Try out BigBlueButton using our Demo Server.
- Join the BigBlueButton community.
- Follow the project on social media: Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.
If you want to setup your own BigBlueButton server:
- To install BigBlueButton, follow either the step-by-step install instructions for 2.0 or 2.2-beta or, to setup a server in about 15 minutes, use the bbb-install.sh installation script.
- To setup a front-end for users, check out Greenlight (which
bbb-install.shcan install for you as well), or use one of the existing integrations (such as Moodle or WordPress).
- Take a quick read through the FAQ.
If you are a developer, after setting up your own BigBlueButton server, we recommend
- Checkout the BigBlueButton API
- Setup a development environment a development environment to modify and extend BigBlueButton itself.
The BigBlueButton project is managed by a core group of committers who care about building an easy to use product with strong community and commercial support. If you want to join the community, then join one of our mailing lists and participate in the discussion. Ask a question. Share your experience with BigBlueButton. Or even help us build a feature.
Overview for Viewers (click image below to watch YouTube video):
Overview for Moderators/Presenters (click image below to watch YouTube video):
Spreading the word
If you use BigBlueButton and find it worthwhile, let other know. Blog about it, tweet about it, upload a video to YouTube, etc. Also, we welcome developers who want to help improve BigBlueButton. You’ll find the more you give, the more you get back.
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