Big Blue Button
Big Blue Button is a web conferencing tool that can be added as a tool to any Sakai course or project site.
Big Blue Button Open Source Project Vision
"Our vision is that starting a web conference should be as easy as clicking a single metaphorical big blue button. As an open source project, we believe it should be easy for others to embrace and extend education. And while web conferencing means many things to many people — our focus is to make the best web conferencing system for distance education."
Integrated Voice Over IP - BigBlueButton voice conferencing supports voice over IP (VOIP) conferencing out-of-the-box. All your students need are speakers and a microphone to participate.
Web Cam - Multiple users can share their webcam at the same time. There is no built-in limit on the number of simultaneously active webcams.
Presentation - Instructors can upload any PDF presentation or office document and keep everyone in sync with their current page, zoom, pan, and the presenter’s mouse pointer.
Whiteboard - Whiteboard controls let you annotate and call out key parts of your presentation for viewers.
Desktop Sharing - Instructors can broadcast their desktop for all students to see. Works on Mac, Unix, and PC.
Presentation Control - A presenter can easily upload multiple PDF’s or Office documents. Once uploaded, the participants are able to see the current slide as the presenter moves through their presentation.
Audio Engagement - The moderator has complete control over all the audio within the conference. They are able to mute, un-mute and eject any of the participants by simply clicking on the necessary icon within the listeners module.
See Your Students - When logged into the conference, users have the option of sharing their video over the web using a built-in or external webcam. Multiple participants and a presenter can be sharing their video at the same time.
Adding the Tool to Your Sakai Site
You can request that the Big Blue Button tool be installed in your Sakai course site by making a Help Desk Request at http://helpdesk.plu.edu. Use the request type "Sakai Learning Management System -> Other" and request that the Big Blue Button tool be installed.
Tips for Successful Big Blue Button Meetings
For the instructor/moderator:
- If possible use a microphone/headset.
- Click the "Mute All" icon in the lower left corner of the "Listener" window to eliminate audio feedback. Ask users to click the "Raise Hand" icon in the lower right corner of the Users window. Then you can selectively unmute them so they can talk.
- Alternatively you could selectively mute each user to see if the problem goes away.
- In the worst case where someone is not hearing the meeting, the chat window is always there.
- If possible use a microphone/headset or earbuds.
- In the "Listener" window, click the speaker icon to the left of their name to mute their audio when not speaking.
For both instructor/moderator and students:
- Since this is a Flash application, you can right click on the window to get to the flash settings.
- For the Microphone settings tab, check the "Reduce Echo" box and "Close" the settings.