BigBlueButton 2.6 runs on Ubuntu 20.04


    Overview

    This document gives you an overview of BigBlueButton 2.6, the latest version of BigBlueButton now in development.

    Note: This document is DRAFT and will be expanded upon as 2.6 development goes through alpha, beta, and release.

    BigBlueButton 2.6 offers users improved usability, increased engagement, and more performance.

    • Usability - making common functions (such as raise hand) easier
    • Engagement - giving the instructor more ways to engage students
    • Performance - increasing overall performance and scalability

    Here’s a breakdown of what’s new in 2.6.

    Usability

    Dark theme

    BigBlueButton supports dark theme. To enable it just navigate to the Settings.

    The toggle for dark theme is located in the main settings panel

    Dark theme in action - typically pale elements like the participants list are displayed in dark palette

    Improved Echo Test dialog

    The echo test modal has added a new audio stream volume indicator in place of the separate confirmation screen. This reduced the number of views and interactions required for audio confirmation. Updated echo test modal with added

    Improved notification of recording start

    The indicator for whether the recording is on has been made bigger. Additionally if you create your meeting with an optional parameter notifyRecordingIsOn=true, you users will see the following dialog when the recording commenses and also when joining a session that is already actively being recorded. You can choose to either continue or leave the session.

    A big red square used as a recording indicator, used to be more subtle

    A blocking dialog shows up if the session is being recorded

    Allow pinning of more than one webcam

    The pinning feature prevents the webcams from being rotated out when audio floor switching is activated. This functionality is specially important for document and/or interpreter cameras. It has also been improved to support miltiple pinned cameras.

    Animation selecting webcam dropdown menu and pin option item

    Upload your own webcam background

    This new feature allows a user to upload virtual background image’s for their webcam. The user can upload and delete images at will.

    Animation of user uploading webcam custom background image

    Set webcam image brightness

    Allows the ability to adjust the brightness levels of their webcam (or) webcam and background image.

    This is done via the webcam settings modal using the brightness slider at the bottom.

    Animation of webcam brightness slider interaction

    Improved layouts manager selection

    Layout selection can now be done via the updated layout selection modal located in the actions (+) button.

    Animation selecting actions button and layout selection item

    Live Automatic Closed Captions

    Note: The automatic transcription is only available for browsers that support SpeechRecognition (Google Chrome, MS Edge and Safari). So those who join a meeting using other browsers will see a warning in the audio modal.

    audio modal with speech recognition error

    By default, automatic transcription language selector is disabled. This can be changed in the settings file. Users who want to have their voices transcribed must enable it by selecting the desired language from the drop-down selector in the join audio dialog.

    audio modal with automatic transcription dropdown

    When the user selects a language for automatic transcription, BigBlueButton will display a CC icon next to their name in the “who is talking” indicator.

    Talking indicator with closed caption icon

    When one or more users have enabled transcription, BigBlueButton will display a ‘CC’ button to display the transcriptions. You don’t need to have selected transcription of your audio to view the transcriptions for others.

    To view the transcriptions for those with ‘CC’ in their “who is talking” icon, select the CC button.

    The placement of the ‘CC’ button depends on your device. For desktop, the ‘CC’ button is in the bottom left.

    closed captions button on action bar

    For mobile devices, The ‘CC’ button is in the three dots at the top right corner.

    closed captions button on mobile in app options menu

    To enable the option for automatic translations for users of Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and Safari, edit the /etc/bigbluebutton/bbb-html5.yml and add the following to the public: section and restart BigBlueButton.

    public:
      app:
        audioCaptions:
          enabled: true
    

    Downloading presentation with whiteboard annotations included

    Teachers can now export their slide decks with the annotations added during a lesson. Selecting “Send to chat” in the presentation upload modal sends a link in the public chat from which meeting participants can download the file.

    BigBlueButton's upload modal with a button to export the presentation with annotations

    Upload a presentation straight from NextCloud

    Two new create parameters: uploadExternalDescription and uploadExternalUrl have been introduced.

    The client supports these parameters, displaying a message in the presentation upload modal when both values are set at meeting creation.

    Upload presentation modal with next cloud message

    Easier moving of users between breakout rooms

    There is a new option for the breakout room controls called Manage users.

    Manage users

    This dialog lets you drag-and-drop users between different breakout rooms.

    Move users dialog

    When you click Apply, BigBlueButton well send prompts to each user to move them to the target breakout room.

    Move users prompt

    Recording in MP4 format

    This release will introduce a new recording format that creates a single video file from audio, video, screen share, presentation, and whiteboard marks recorded during the session. The file format will be .vp8 (with configuration options to alternatively create an .mp4 file as well).

    Engagement

    Fully reimplemented whiteboard (tl;draw)

    The whiteboard has been updated with TLdraw, a small appication which supports improved drawing features.

    For more details see https://github.com/tldraw/tldraw.

    BigBlueButton whiteboard using tldraw

    Exporting Shared notes to the whiteboard

    Instructors can move the shared notes to the whiteboard presentation area for further collaborative work among students.

    BigBlueButton's whiteboard with annotations, with imported shared notes as the presentation

    Exporting breakout rooms’ shared notes as a presentation to the main room

    Exporting breakout rooms’ whiteboard annotations to the main room

    Easier setup of polling

    Polling has been updated to allow for polls when prepared in advance using the custom input option.

    Animation of user opening poll panel and toggle custom input

    Analytics

    Performance

    Recording API improvements

    Allows for quicker, more efficient search and retrieval of recording data.

    Experimental

    Upgraded components

    For full details on what is new in BigBlueButton 2.6, see the release notes. Recent releases:

    Other notable changes

    We have retired the bbb-demo API Demos development only package

    We recommend using API MATE or Greenlight - see the development setup section for more information.

    Development

    For information on developing in BigBlueButton, see setting up a development environment for 2.6.

    The build scripts for packaging 2.6 (using fpm) are located in the GitHub repository here.

    Contribution

    We welcome contributors to BigBlueButton 2.6! The best ways to contribute at the current time are: