BigBlueButton 1.1 Released

The BigBlueButton project is pleased to announce the release of BigBlueButton 1.1.

BigBlueButton is an open source web conferencing system for online learning.  It provides the instructor with real-time sharing of audio, video, slides, chat, polls, emojis and their screen.  BigBlueButton can also record and playback sessions for later viewing.

Major new features in BigBlueButton 1.1 include:

  • Breakout Rooms – Instructors can group students into breakout rooms for increased collaboration. Instructors can monitor activity in the breakout rooms and set a time limit for collaboration (see video).
  • Closed Captioning – BigBlueButton enables a stenographer to provide live closed captions in multiple languages during a session. After the session finishes, the captions will appear as subtitles in the recording (see video).
  • Faster Screen Sharing – Screen sharing is faster, works across all browsers (using a Java application that launches outside the browser) and now captures the cursor (see video).
  • GreenLight – Administrators can install a new front-end, called GreenLight, that makes it easy for users to quickly create meetings, invite others, and manage recordings on a BigBlueButton server. Using Docker, administrators can install on GreenLight the BigBlueButton server itself (no need for a separate server). GreenLight is written in Rails 5 and can be easily customized by any rails developer (see source on GitHub).
  • Ubuntu 16.04 packages – This release installs on Ubuntu 16.04 64-bit (the most recent long-term support release from Canonical) and uses systemd for new start/stop scripts for individual components.

For more information on this release see detailed list of new features and issues fixed in BigBlueButton 1.1.

We recommend anyone running an earlier version of BigBlueButton to setup a new Ubuntu 16.04 64-bit server, install this latest version and copy over any previous recordings (see the above install documentation for details).

The goal of the BigBlueButton project is to provide remote students a high-quality online learning experience.  This release (our fifteenth so far in over eight years of development) is a significant step towards that goal.  With this focus, many learning management systems have integrated BigBlueButton into their products using the BigBlueButton API.  For example, the stats for the BigBlueButtonBN plugin for Moodle shows over 4000 sites using the plugin.

“Our company has used BigBlueButton for over 7 years,” says Andrew Ensley, Chief Technical Officer, TaskMaster Pro Technologies, Inc.  “It has allowed our development team to quickly and easily collaborate from all across the country in a high-quality video/audio conference environment.  Its active development has enhanced the features and usability for our team in every release.”

Other organizations are achieving significant cost savings using BigBlueButton.  The US Department of Defense runs BigBlueButton internally at scale and saves over $12 million/year.

We want to thank everyone in the community who helped us test this release.  This has been, by far, our most heavily tested release (some organizations ran over a quarter of a million meetings on the beta version alone).

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