BigBlueButton is an open source web conferencing system for online learning.

    The goal of the project is to enable remote students to have a high-quality online learning experience. A key component of achieving this goal is giving the instructor the tools to engage remote students.

    This document gives you an overview of what’s new in BigBlueButton 2.0-beta (hereafter referred to as BigBlueButton 2.0) of features we added towards that goal.

    Want to watch a quick overview video? We uploaded BigBlueButton 2.0 Overview to YouTube.

    Want to try the features outlined below? Visit our demo server at

    Want to setup your 2.0 server (or upgrade from the previous version)? See the instructions at Install BigBlueButton 2.0.

    BigBlueButton 2.0

    We added three new features for increasing ease-of-use and user engagement:

    • Improved User Interface (easy-of-use)
    • Multi-user Whiteboard (engagement)
    • Shared Notes (engagement)

    Improved User Interface

    One measure of a successful user interface is how little effort it takes new users to master it.

    While we’ve spent years building and improving features in BigBlueButton, we had not done a comprehensive review of the overall design during that time. Until now.

    In BigBlueButton 2.0, we’ve updated every pixel of the interface with improved skin and high-res icon set. The overall user interface should now look more coherent and consistent, which gives the user a uniform design language through that enables them to anticipate (and intuit) how functions work.


    In addition to updated skin and icons, we’ve simplified the dialog boxes so they are easier to navigate. For example, the new join audio dialog box shows two large icons for easy choice.


    All icons are now rendered from vectors; they appear crisp even on the highest resolution monitors.

    For consistency, the actions for sharing audio, webcam, and desktop (when you are the presenter) are now grouped together at the top middle of the screen. The meeting title is on the left, and the record button is on the right.


    We’ve simplified the layout of the Users list by removing the unneeded headers (it’s pretty obvious what the icons for headset and microphone mean).


    In addition to improving the overall design, we’ve added a number of features that have been requested by our community (outlined below).

    Enable Presentation Download

    The presenter can now give students the ability to download a presentation.

    When uploading a presentation, the presenter can check “Enable download of presentation”.


    If this option is checked, a download button will appear for all users in the Presentation area.


    Later on, when a user clicks the download button, BigBlueButton will display a dialog giving the user the ability to download any presentation that was enabled for download.


    Smoothing of Pen Tool

    BigBlueButton smooths all strokes of the pen tool. When drawing with the pen you’ll see it work as before, but when you release the mouse, BigBlueButton will smooth the lines a bit.


    This smoothing makes math equations and diagrams a bit easier to read for students.

    Promote Viewer to Moderator

    Moderators now have the ability to promote/demote any viewer to the role of moderator. To promote a viewer, click the gear icon to the right of a user’s name and choose “Promote”.


    Later on, any moderator can demote the same user back to a viewer by choosing the “Demote” option from the gear icon.


    Download Public Chat Messages

    In previous versions BigBlueButton enabled users to copy chat to the clipboard by right-clicking anywhere on the Chat area and selecting Copy All Text.

    In BigBlueButton 2.0, the Options tab now gives users a button for copying public chat messages to the clipboard (which makes the function more accessible for users with screen readers).


    Next to the copy button there are two others buttons

    1. Download the public chat as plain text
    2. Delete public chat (moderator only)

    End Meeting on Logout

    Ever wanted to end the meeting and kick out all users. Now, when anyone who is moderator logs out, they will have the option to immediately end the session.


    Selecting “Yes and end meeting” will cause BigBlueButton to immediately end the session, which in turn kicks out all other users and initiates the processing of the recording (if the meeting was set to be recorded).

    Full Screen Mode

    Users can now have BigBlueButton take the entire screen with the Full Screen button.


    Clicking this button causes BigBlueButton to take over the full screen (this invokes the browser’s built-in full screen capability).

    When users click the Full Screen button, the browser displays a confirmation dialog on the switch to full screen mode.


    Users can exit full screen mode anytime by pressing the ESC key.

    Shared Notes

    Active learning is more effective than passively watching a lecture. Engaging students to recall and apply what they just learned re-enforces new concepts and ideas. Breakout rooms are an example of having students engage in discussion.

    BigBlueButton 2.0 adds a new layout called “Shared Notes”, which gives students a collaborative note pad capturing content during the session.

    Shared notes are visible by choosing the “Shared Notes” layout.


    When choosing this layout, the Shared Notes window appears on the left-hand side. Any user can write/edit in the window at the same time.


    Think of them as a collaborative notepad during the live session. Shared notes are not saved as part of the recording.

    Any moderator can clear the shared notes using the “Clear this note” option in the gear icon (this icon is only visible to moderators).


    Multiple Shared Notes

    A moderator can launch (up to) two additional shared notes windows. Clicking this button opens a new window called “Shared Notes 2” and “Shared Notes 3” (you can name them whatever you wish).


    When this option is selected, the moderator can name the new shared note window.


    The two additional windows will be visible across layouts.

    Text Formatting

    The Shared Notes window allows users to apply formatting changes (font, font size, and style) to any of the text in the shared notes.


    Download Shared Notes

    Users can also download the content of the shared notes as plain text or HTML.


    The download option lets users save the shared notes for later use. As stated above, shared notes are not saved as part of the recording - they are cleared from memory when the meeting ends.

    Multi-user Whiteboard

    Another form of student engagement is getting user kinetically involved in the lecture. This is especially true of K12 students who may have a hard time sitting and watching a lecture without involvement.

    BigBlueButton 2.0 now supports multiple users updating the whiteboard in real-time. This enables a tutor, for example, to collaboratively work together with a student on a math problem.

    To enable/disable multi-user whiteboard, the presenter clicks the Multi-User Whiteboard button on the toolbar.


    When engaged, all users can annotate the current slide. The User’s names will appear to the right of their cursor.


    Users can only clear their own whiteboard marks (by clicking the ‘X’ button).

    If the presenter clicks the ‘X’ icon when multi-user whiteboard is turned off, BigBlueButton will clear all marks by all users.

    The recording format for BigBlueButton 2.0 is updated to record and playback all multi-user whiteboard annotations.



    In previous versions, the value for defaultMaxUsers in bigbluebutton.properites (located in /var/lib/tomcat7/webapps/bigbluebutton/WEB-INF/classes/bigbluebutton.propreties) was not used.

    # Default maximum number of users a meeting can have.
    # Current default is 0 (meeting doesn't have a user limit).

    In BigBlueButton 2.0 the server will enforce the value and, if the maximum limit is reached, redirect the user to the following URL

       https://IP_or_HOSTNAME/?errors=[{"message":"The number of participants allowed for this meeting has been reached.","key":"maxParticipantsReached"}]

    A value of defaultMaxUsers=0 means the server will not enforce the limit.

    Refactoring of messages

    In BigBlueButton 2.0 we have refactored the messaging format used to communicate between the different server components and between the client and server. The goal of this was to streamline the creation and processing of messages which in previous versions required a lot of steps. The end result is a much easier system to work with that allows for quicker edits and additions.

    More efficient processing of recordings

    BigBlueButton 1.1, there was one thread that would archive all recordings, then process them, then publish them. If there were many recordings to process, they would all need to finish processing (which could take many hours) before any would publish.

    In BigBlueButton 2.0, the archive, process, and publish steps for creating a published recording now occur in parallel. This means there are three threads now, one for each step, and they execute in parallel.


    We’ve made it easier to brand your BigBlueButton 2.0 client. You can now change the logo


    and copyright text


    by modifying the /var/www/bigbluebutton/client/conf/config.xml. To modify, edit this file and look for the XML tag branding.

    <branding logo="logo.swf" copyright="&#169; 2017 &lt;u&gt;&lt;a href=&quot;; target=&quot;_blank&quot;&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/u&gt; (build {0})" background="bbb_logo.png" toolbarColor="#F0F2F6" showQuote="true"/>

    You can change the parameters:

    • logo : The logo file name. It will be displayed in the higher left-hand corner. JPEG, PNG, BMP and SWF files are accepted. The recommended maximum height is 35 pixels. Default location is /var/www/bigbluebutton/client/logo.swf
    • copyright : The copyright mention that will be displayed in the lower left-hand corner of the footer. It accepts HTML but should be HTML-encoded. The {0} token will be replaced by the build number when the application is launched.
    • background : The background image name. It will be displayed behind the windows. JPEG, PNG, BMP and SWF files are accepted.
    • toolbarColor : The background colour of the top toolbar. Must be an hexadecimal value that starts with a #.
    • showQuote Show the initial quote on startup

    After changing, refresh the browser (no need to restart BigBlueButton) and you’ll see the changes take effect.

    Support for (up to) 8 breakout rooms

    The number of supported breakout rooms is increased from 5 to 8 rooms.


    Gather User Feedback

    We’ve expanded the logout dialog to solicit feedback from the user on their experience. The user can rate the experience from 1 to 5 stars (similar to an Amazon rating)


    When clicked, a dialog box appears asking if there is anything specific that could be improved


    You can enable the display of the feedback dialog by setting askForFeedbackOnLogout to true


    The responses to the feedback are sent to the BigBlueButton server via the client logging

    A sample entry in the client log comes in with escaped characters. [2018-01-16T21:48:07+00:00] \x222018/1/16 16:48:7.446 :: w_ijpabtnb9chv 183f0bf3a0982a127bdb8161e0c44eb696b3e75c-1516139258905 org.bigbluebutton.main.views.LoggedOutWindow :: [INFO] {\x5C\x22comment\x5C\x22:\x5C\x22XXX YYY ZZZ\x5C\x5Cr\x5C\x22,\x5C\x22meetingId\x5C\x22:\x5C\x22183f0bf3a0982a127bdb8161e0c44eb696b3e75c-1516139258905\x5C\x22,\x5C\x22userId\x5C\x22:\x5C\x22w_ijpabtnb9chv\x5C\x22,\x5C\x22rating\x5C\x22:4,\x5C\x22username\x5C\x22:\x5C\x22Fred\x5C\x22}\x22

    which can be parsed (or piped through a bash command such as sed 's/\\x22/"/g' | sed 's/\\x5C//g') to give [2018-01-16T21:48:07+00:00] "2018/1/16 16:48:7.446 :: w_ijpabtnb9chv 183f0bf3a0982a127bdb8161e0c44eb696b3e75c-1516139258905 org.bigbluebutton.main.views.LoggedOutWindow :: [INFO] {"comment":"XXX YYY ZZZ","meetingId":"183f0bf3a0982a127bdb8161e0c44eb696b3e75c-1516139258905","userId":"w_ijpabtnb9chv","rating":4,"username":"Fred"}"

    Webcams only visible to moderators

    There are occasions where the moderator does not want viewers to see each other’s webcams. A case might be that the students are all in the same classroom and sharing their webcams. If there were 10 students sharing webcams, it would be 10 outgoing video streams to the BigBlueButton server and 90 incoming video streams to the same classroom.

    This release adds an option in the lock settings to lock the viewer’s webcaqms so they are only visible to moderators.

    webcams only for moderators

    Limit moderator actions in breakout rooms

    All users in a breakout room join as moderators. To make remove unintended results for K12 users, removed two moderator capabilities: demoting others to viewers and kicking out other users.

    Also added the ability to restrict private chat in breakout rooms by setting privateChateEnabled to true in config.xml.

        <breakoutRooms enabled="true" record="false" privateChateEnabled="true"/>

    Setting up a development environment for BigBlueButton 2.0.

    Here are the steps for setting up a development environment in BigBlueButton 2.0.