Blog

University of West Scotland wins commendation award for their case study on BigBlueButton deployment

University of West Scotland wins commendation award for their case study on BigBlueButton deployment

The University of the West of Scotland recently received a commendation award from the Universities and Colleges Information Systems Association (UCISA) for their case study on The technical and pedagogic issues of using BigBlueButton with distance learning at the University of the West of Scotland.

The award is listed on the UCISA-Eduserv Award for Excellence page. The review panel cited the case study for recognition with the following statement:

The submission from the University of the West of Scotland focused on a project to replace functionality that was lost from the migration of one VLE to another by using a desktop video conferencing system.

The panel noted the use of open source software to deliver multiple benefits to the institution, including the added resilience of teaching staff being able to present lectures from home.

Here’s the award submission by University of the West of Scotland for the award.   In the submission they stated:

This project has been a resounding success and uptake of the technology is increasing at an encouraging rate. BigBlueButton is an innovative solution that effectively replaces the previous technology at a much lower cost and meets the changing demands of our institution for delivery of teaching and learning. – Darren Rickets, Project Manager/Technical Lead for ICT

Congratulations to University of West Scotland for this award!

Video of features coming in BigBlueButton 0.81

We’ve uploaded a short video highlighting the new capabilities in the upcoming BigBlueButton 0.81 (this will be our eleventh release).  This video was done using a development build of 0.81.

 This video details our efforts to advance the usability, features, and modularity of BigBlueButton for our community.

Specifically, the video shows for users

  • unified users and listeners
  • text tool for whiteboard
  • layout manager
  • record and playback of webcams and whiteboard

and for developers

  • JavaScript interface
  • changing the client settings on a per-user basis
We’re looking forward to releasing a beta of BigBlueButton 0.81 soon.

Announcing BigBlueButton Spring Summit 2013

BigBlueButton Spring Summit: April 24th, 2013, 9AM – 4PM EDT
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

The BigBlueButton project will be holding its second full day online summit next Wednesday, April 24 from 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM EDT.

Our goal is to give everyone a comprehensive update on progress to improve BigBlueButton, to support HTML5 and WebRTC, and to share the efforts of others build upon and contribute back to the BigBlueButton project.

We invite all members of the BigBlueButton community to attend one or more of the sessions below.

You are welcome to attend in person:

The Code Factory
100 Gloucester St.
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
K2P 1T3

Don’t worry if you can’t travel to Ottawa – you can participate remotely online (using BigBlueButton of course!). To participate online, visit

http://summit.bigbluebutton.org/
password: welcome

This site will be active 24 hours before the summit.   If you intend to participate, please register beforehand.

http://bigbluebuttonsummit2013.eventbrite.ca/

 

Session Agenda

Each sessions will be 30 minutes in length, followed by 15 minutes of Q&A.  All sessions will be broadcasted live using BigBlueButton and recorded for later viewing.

9:00 AM – 9:45 AM – BigBlueButton Project Update

Fred Dixon, BigBlueButton Project Manager, will give an update on the achievements this year, our progress towards the release of BigBlueButton 0.81 (our eleventh release), the upcoming work to support HTML5 and WebRTC, and an overview of the road map for 2013.

9:45 AM – 10:30 AM – Improving BigBlueButton’s User Interface

Tyler Copeland, independent designer, who has been responsible for evolving and improving BigBlueButton’s interface since the project’s beginning. In this presentation, Tyler will give an overview of the user interface evolution, the design challenges faced during the evolution, and a closer look at the ongoing work to design an HTML5-based interface for BigBlueButton.

(15 minute break)

10:45 – 11:30 – Evolving BigBlueButtons Architecture to Support HTML5

Richard Alam, Chief Architect for BigBlueButton, will describe the plans to modify and enhance the current BigBlueButton architecture to provided a unified support for a HTML5-based client and Flash-based client.

11:30 – 1:00 PM Break for Lunch

1:00 – 1:45 PM – Building upon BigBlueButton: The Mconf Project

Felipe Cecagno, BigBlueButton committer, and Leonardo Daronco, Mconf Developer, will describe how the Mconf team adapted and enhanced a fork of BigBlueButton (called Mconf Live) at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), in Porto Alegre, Brazil. This presentation will also include their efforts to build a mobile version of BigBlueButton (Mconf Mobile), a Web Portal (Mconf Web), and a global network of BigBlueButton servers. For more information see http://mconf.org/.

2:00 – 2:45 PM — Improving BigBlueButton’s Accessibility
Chad Pilkey and Justin Robinson, two developers at the Center for Development of Open Source Technologies, Seneca College, will present their efforts to improve BigBlueButton’s accessibility for students who are hearing or visually impaired, as well as prototype the addition of a polling module for BigBlueButton.

3:00 PM — 4:00 PM — General Feedback
In this wrap-up session, we invite anyone interested in the project to give us their feedback and suggestions for improving BigBlueButton for their use.

 

You can also follow the project by subscribing to updates on twitter (@bigbluebutton).

Recordings from first Summit
To see the recordings from the first summit (held Dec 6, 2012), click here.

Docebo integrates BigBlueButton

Docebo, the company behind the Docebo Learning Management System, announced yesterday that they now offer integrated web conferencing using BigBlueButton.   According to their web site, over 12,000 organizations now use the Docebo LMS.

You can see their blog post announcing the integration.  The blog post links to their integration manual (pdf) showing how BigBlueButton works within their system.  Here’s a screen shot from the manual.

It’s great to see another LMS vendor offering integration support for BigBlueButton!

Kansas City Gig Fest

Over the weekend of March 22-24th, three members from the BigBlueButton team (Chad Pilkey, Fred Dixon, Calvin Walton) journeyed to Kansas City, MO, to participate in the Kansas City Gig Fest.

Our goal was to figure out how to hack WebRTC into BigBlueButton.

We took two approaches.  The first hack was to modify the HTML5 client so that the WebRTC video/audio appeared within a fixed region of the HTML5 client.  As WebRTC creates P2P connections with other browsers, there was transmission of audio/video to the BigBlueButton server.  While good for small group collaboration, the downside of this approach is there are no recordings of the sessions.

For the second hack we used the WebRTC2SIP gateway to transmit voice from WebRTC to FreeSWITCH.  However, as FreeSWITCH does not (yet) support the encrypted data from WebRTC, we used Asterisk 11 and an intermediary server. The diagram below shows an overview of the hack.

These were true hacks.   We actually had to work on these two hacks weeks in advance of the event to get everything ready for the final sprint.  

We were able to demo two users using latest Chrome browser to join a BigBlueButton session using the BigBlueButton Flash client.  However, instead of using the built-in audio in Flash (which is TCP/IP), the users clicked a ‘Join’ button in Javascript that triggered the WebRTC call that eventually reached FreeSWITCH.

The result was what you would expect: lower latency audio (WebRTC uses UDP).  The WebRTC support for audio will enable us to start prototyping the HTML5 client: Phase II.

Just to calibrate expectations: none of these hacks are planned for inclusion in 0.81.  There is enough on our plate to finish 0.81 for now, but we’re pushing hard in parallel to make progress on the WebRTC + HTML5 client for BigBlueButton.

Thank to Google, Mozilla, and Kansas City for putting on a first-rate hackathon.