1. Getting Started with BigBlueButton
    1. Not sure if BigBlueButton is the right web conferencing tool for your course?
    2. Where do I access BigBlueButton?
    3. Need help using BigBlueButton?
  2. Minimum requirements for connecting to BigBlueButton
    1. Computer Recommendations
    2. Browser Recommendations
    3. Audio Recommendations
    4. Mobile Device Recommendations
    5. Internet Bandwidth Recommendations
    6. Internet Speed Test
  3. Adding a BigBlueButton Session to Your cuLearn Course
    1. Restricting Access to Your BBB Session
  4. Launching and Configuring Your BigBlueButton Session
  5. Roles in BigBlueButton
  6. Managing a BBB Session
    1. Managing Viewers Audio (Mute/Unmute)
    2. Locking Viewers
    3. Assigning Presenters
    4. Creating Breakout Rooms
    5. Closed Captioning
    6. Ending Meetings
    7. Additional Recommendations for Moderator/Presenters
  7. Navigating Your Session
    1. User List/ Private Messages/ Shared Notes Toggle Menu
    2. Messages (Public and Private Chat)
    3. Shared Notes
    4. Users List
    5. Session Title and Start/Stop Record button
    6. Settings Menu
    7. Presenter/Moderator Actions button
    8. Microphone, Audio, Webcam and Screen share toolbar
  8. Using Polls in Your BBB Session
  9. Uploading Presentations in Your BBB session
    1. Navigating the Presentation
    2. Using Hotkeys (Keyboard Shortcuts) in Your Presentation
    3. Annotating a Presentation
  10. Recording a Session
    1. Downloading a copy of your BBB recording in cuLearn
    2. Viewing Statistics for Recorded BBB Sessions
  11. Setting a Status/Emoji
  12. Adding Guests to a BBB Session
  13. Exporting the BBB Session Participant’s List
  14. Best Practices and Student Support
  15. Video Tutorials for BigBlueButton  

BigBlueButton (BBB) is a synchronous web conferencing tool that allows instructors and TAs to host live online presentations, seminars, office hours, or other meetings. BigBlueButton is fully supported at Carleton University and easily accessible to both instructors and students from within cuLearn. BigBlueButton is simple to use and has many useful features for creating engaging, collaborative online learning experiences, including:

  • An interactive meeting room with audio, video, presentation, chat, polling, shared notes, and whiteboard capabilities that allows students to be fully engaged in the online environment
  • Secure user authentication so each course can have its own private room accessible to students from within cuLearn or via email invitation for guests from outside of the Carleton community 
  • A recording feature that allows online meetings to be automatically recorded and posted in cuLearn

NOTE: This page contains information for the new HTML5 client that was released in April 2019. Unlike the Flash client, the new HTML5 client runs on desktop, laptop, chromebook, and mobile devices (iOS 12.2+ and Android 6.0+) without requiring any plugins or extensions. You’ll also find the HTML5 client loads faster, is easier to use (than the previous client), and provides more ways for you to engage students (such as sharing YouTube videos). The HTML5 client runs within the browser so there is no app to install.

Getting Started with BigBlueButton

Not sure if BigBlueButton is the right web conferencing tool for your course?

Watch the BigBlueButton Video Tutorials to see if BigBlueButton would suit your needs. You can find out more information about web conferencing, including best practices and the differences between the tools (BigBlueButton, Microsoft Teams and Zoom) on our Web Conferencing at Carleton page.

If you are planning on using BigBlueButton or other synchronous activities in your course, it is important to consider the fact that not all students will have access to robust internet during the Covid pandemic. Watch the “To Synch or not to Synch?” video prior to designing your course for an overview of the differences between synchronous and asynchronous online teaching design.

Where do I access BigBlueButton?

You can access BigBlueButton within your cuLearn course page. To launch BBB you need to manually add a BigBlueButton session room to your course.

Please review the following prior to setting up a BigBlueButton session in your course:

Need help using BigBlueButton?

If you are interested in using BBB in your course and want assistance, contact the Educational Technology Team at the EDC by phone at extension 4433 or by email at edtech@carleton.ca

See the EDC Events page for information on upcoming online BigBlueButton workshops.

Minimum requirements for connecting to BigBlueButton

We recommend all users ensure they are meeting the minimum requirements below for BigBlueButton HTML5 prior to their first live session.

Below you will find Computer, Browser, Audio, Mobile Device, and Internet Bandwidth recommendations.

Computer Recommendations

  • We recommend using a laptop or desktop computer with (at least) 4GB of memory and a 2Ghz processor (Most computers bought in the last four years should meet the minimum requirement).

Browser Recommendations

  • Desktop/Laptop:  A current, up to date version of Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Edge. We recommend Google Chrome for use with BBB.
    NOTE: You can use Safari on Mac OS X, but you will not be able to access the screen sharing feature.
  • Mobile iOS: Safari Mobile IOS  Note; IOS does not support screen sharing
    NOTE: iOS does not support screen sharing.
  • Mobile Android: Chrome Mobile
  • BigBlue Button relies on a technology called WebRTC. WebRTC is an open framework for the web that enables Real-Time Communications (RTC) capabilities in the browser. Not all browsers fully support WebRTC. Google Chrome fully supports WebRTC.

Audio Recommendations

  • We strongly recommend using a headset  (headphones or earbuds) to ensure that viewers can hear your voice clearly without any echo or background noise.  You do not need to buy an expensive set — any basic headset with a built-in microphone will work.
  • Use external headphones and turn off or mute your computer speakers to eliminate audio feedback if you plan to speak.
  • Use an external microphone if possible. Typing on a laptop and using the built in microphone will not sound great.
  • If using Google Chrome: Make sure you give the browser permission to use the Microphone by clicking ‘Allow’ at the top right-hand corner of the screen (in most cases).
NOTE: A laptop with a built-in webcam and microphone may be sufficient as well if you’re in a quiet area, but headphones and an external microphone are preferred if possible for the best experience. Not using headphones posses a great risk of audio feedback as your microphone can hear your speakers.

Mobile Device Recommendations

  • Data Connection: We recommended 4G LTI for best results or minimum 3G Network to use audio, view presentation content and receive screen sharing.
  • Wireless Connection:  We recommend private networks versus public networks.
  • Device Settings: We recommend reducing device usage while connecting to BigBlueButton.  This means closing applications running in the background and reduce browsing activities.
  • Data Charges Mobile users should consider if data charges will apply. BBB uses a lot of data.

Internet Bandwidth Recommendations

We recommend moderators or presenters connect through a wired network (not wireless) if possible. If connecting from a wireless network that is not reliable, you may experience periodic disconnects or gaps in your audio. All users will benefit from using a wired ethernet connection.

Do an internet speed test in advance of using BBB for the first time or from a new location.

  • Presenter Role: You must have at least 2.0 Mbits/second upstream and 5 Mbits/second downstream.
  • Viewer Role: You must have at least 1.0 Mbits/second upstream and 2 Mbits/second downstream.

Internet Speed Test

  • Check your household internet bandwidth before using BBB to see if your internet meets the speed requirements. Sites such as https://speedtest.net  and Fast.com can be used to measure your internet connectivity.
  • Presenters should pay close attention to the upload speed as it will greatly impact the user experience.
  • Ask household members to refrain from using bandwidth intensive activities such as gaming online or streaming media while you are presenting as these activities can diminish the bandwidth needed for web conferencing.
TIP: Check the status page for BigBlueButton’s commercial hosting platform, Blindside Networks Inc., to view real-time and historical system performance updates.  Any system-wide issues affecting BBB meeting rooms or recording processing will be reported here.

Adding a BigBlueButton Session to Your cuLearn Course

When you add a BBB session to your course page, you are adding a virtual web conferencing space where the course community can meet.  The BBB session can be recorded or unrecorded based your needs. You can have one or many BBB rooms in your course depending on your teaching needs. Give your BBB sessions meaningful names.

To add a BBB session:

  1. Log in to cuLearn using your MyCarletonOne credentials.
  2. Click on your course link.
  3. Go to the topic section where you would like to add the BBB session.
  4. In the Add an activity drop-down menu, select BigBlueButtonBN (See the screen shot below)
    NOTE: If you are unable to see the Add an Activity menu, your course editing may be turned off. To turn on course editing, click the settings gear on the top-right side of your course page, and select Turn editing on from the drop-down menu.
  5. Select one of the following instance types for your session:
    • Room activity with recordings will allow you to access a BBB session room that you can use to communicate with students and record your meetings for later viewing.
    • Room activity only will allow you to access a BBB session room that you can use to communicate with students without the option to record for later viewing.
    • Recordings only will allow you to access recorded BBB sessions.
  6. Enter a Virtual classroom name for your BBB session. Try to make it meaningful. (Exam Review BBB session)
  7. Customize the settings options for your session, including the following:
    • Activity/Room 
      • You have the option to add a personalized welcome message for your session.
      • You can select Wait for Moderator if you want to prevent viewers from entering the session before the moderator who is managing the session.
    • Participant 
      • By default, all course members are enrolled in a BBB session. You can customize your BBB session enrolment by adding participants and setting their role as either a viewer (typically students) or moderator (typically instructor or TA).
        NOTE: As an instructor you are the moderator by default, but t’s a good practice to confirm this in the settings.  For information on the session permissions for viewers and moderators, see Roles in BigBlueButton

    • Schedule for Session 
      • By default, BBB sessions can be joined at any time. If you want to set your BBB session to be accessible during a specific time frame, enable open and close dates for your session.                                                                    
  8. Once you are finished customizing your settings, click Save and return to course. 

You should now see a link to your BBB session on your main course page (See example below).                     

Restricting Access to Your BBB Session

If you want to set up a private BBB session, you have the option to restrict access to the session link so that only a specific student or group can access it from their course page.

To Restrict Access to a Student

  1. On your course homepage, go to your BBB Session link or add a new session.
  2. To the right of your BBB session link, click Edit
  3. In the drop-down menu, select Edit Settings.
    NOTE: When you add a new session through the Add an Activity drop-down menu, you will automatically be taken to the settings page.
  4. Scroll down to the Restrict Access tab.
  5. Click Add Access Restriction…                                              
  6. In the pop-up window, select User Profile.
  7. Under the User Profile Field, set the following information:
    1. In the Choose… drop-down menu, select email address.
      NOTE: DO NOT select Student ID Number, as this can cause an error in cuLearn.
    2. In the text field, type the student’s Carleton email address.
      NOTE: Leave the other drop-down menus to the default selections of must or is equal to.

  8. To the left of the user profile field, click the eyeball icon to hide the BBB session link from all other users enrolled in the course (it will appear crossed out as in the screenshot above).
  9. Click Save and Display.

Your BBB session link will now only be visible to the student you have added the restriction for.

To Restrict Access to a Group

  1. On your course homepage, go to your BBB Session link or add a new session.
  2. To the right of your BBB session link, click Edit.
  3. In the drop-down menu, select Edit Settings.
    NOTE: When you add a new session through the Add an Activity drop-down menu, you will automatically be taken to the settings page.

  4. Scroll down to the Restrict Access tab.
  5. Click Add Access Restriction…                                              
  6. In the pop-up window, select Group.
  7. In the Choose… drop-down menu, select a group.
    NOTE: In order to restrict access to a group, you first need to set up groups for your course.

  8. To the left of group, click the eyeball icon to hide the BBB session link from all other users enrolled in the course (it will appear crossed out as in the screenshot above).
  9. Click Save and Display.

Your BBB session link will now only be visible to the students in the group you have added the restriction for.

Launching and Configuring Your BigBlueButton Session

BigBlueButton sessions are launched within your cuLearn course page. To launch and configure a new session, you will need to first add the big blue button session to your course page. Once a BBB session has been added, you can configure and test your audio/microphone settings and begin your meeting.

To launch and configure your BBB session:

  1. Log in to cuLearn and click on your course.
  2. Click on the link to your BigBlueButton session on your main course page.  NOTE: If you don’t see a BigBlueButton link, you will first need to add a BigBlueButton session                                        
  3. Click Join Session.                                                                   
  4. Choose whether to participate by using a microphone or listen only.   NOTE: As the session moderator, you should select microphone if you will be speaking during your meeting.                           
  5. Test your audio by speaking a few words and listening for the sound of your voice. See the screen shot below for a visual of the Echo test window. The Echo test will ask you to speak and then play back your words.                                             
  6. Click Yes if the audio test has been successful (i.e. you were able to hear yourself speak through the headset speakers).   Click No If your audio test was not successful. You can then check that you have selected the appropriate microphone, and that your microphone is plugged in correctly. 
NOTE: Click No if you have more than one microphone and BBB is using the wrong one.  A new menu will appear and you can select the correct microphone from the drop-down menu.  You can then re-attempt the audio test.

You are now successfully setup to begin your BBB session.

Roles in BigBlueButton

In a BigBlueButton session, there are three types of users: a Viewer, Presenter and Moderator.

  • Viewers (Students) have the following capabilities unless restricted by the Moderator:
    • Share audio & webcam
    • Chat/use emojis
    • Respond to polls
    • Write in the shared notes. Export the shared notes.
    • Respond to invites for breakout rooms.
    • Answer Poll questions
  • Presenters (Instructors or students) have the following capabilities:
    • Upload slides and advance slides
    • Use the annotation tools
    • Show an external video
    • Start a poll and publish poll results
NOTE: There can only be one presenter at a time.
Moderators are represented by a square icon and viewers are represented by a circle. The Presenter role is indicated by an additional,  small podium icon in the top, left hand corner of a users icon.

Managing a BBB Session

Managing Viewers Audio (Mute/Unmute)

Moderators can manage viewers audio by muting all users or muting individual users in the Users list on the left side of the session window. You may wish to do this if you want to turn off viewer’s microphones.

If you do not see the User list, you need to expand it by clicking the toggle icon at the top left side of the page

To mute all users

  1. Next to the Users List on the left side of your session window, click the Gear icon.                                  
  2. In the drop-down menu, select one of the following options:
    • Mute all users – Mute all users in your meeting, including presenters. Any users who join after this setting has been enabled will be automatically muted.
      NOTE: Applying the mute settings to users via the users list does not restrict their ability to unmute themselves.
    • Mute all users except presenter – Mute all users in your meeting except the individual with presenter status.
      NOTE: Moderators will also be muted but can unmute themselves at any time.

To unmute all users

  1. Next to the Users List on the left side of your session window, click the Gear icon.
  2. In the drop-down menu, select Turn off meeting mute.                                                 

To mute an individual user

  1. In the Users List on the left side of your session window, click the name of the user you want to mute.
  2. In the drop-down menu, select Mute User.
    NOTE: Even when muted, the user can still unmute themselves.

Muting When Not Speaking

It is considered a good practice to have users mute themselves if they are not currently the one speaking.This ensures that unwanted noises and sounds do not distract other users during the session. When it is time for a user to speak, they can unmute themselves, and then re-mute themselves when they are finished speaking.

NOTE: You want to make sure that your students perform an audio test as well. Testing the microphone and audio ensures that you and your students can successfully participate in the BBB session. Refer to the video tutorial for more information about setting up audio.

TIP: It is preferable for students to join the session with headphones/microphones as this allows students to participate fully in the session; however, in an emergency users can phone-in to access the audio portion of the BBB session if they are unable to their audio using a computer. This is called using the Phone Bridge.  BBB will display a phone number for dial-in access to the session. If students call in to the session, they will be able to hear the session and participate orally in the session, but they will not be able to see what is on the screen or in the chat windows. If their computer is only having an audio problem they can watch the computer screen while using their phone for audio. This may cause the presentation to be out of sync.

Phone Bridge

The Phone Bridge is a set of phone numbers that a user can call if they are having audio or internet issues. The phone bridge allows uses to call in to a Zoom session by phone. There is a local Ottawa number and a long distance toll free number. The toll free number is only valid in North America. Each BBB  session will generate a unique session PIN. You must enter the PIN when prompted by the system when you call in followed by the pound symbol #. The PIN is unique for the current BBB session and cannot be used or reused in another BBB session.

Locking Viewers

Moderators can lock viewers to prevent them from accessing various features within BBB, including the public chat, microphone sharing, webcam sharing, and shared notes. Below you’ll find examples of situations where you may want to lock your viewers:

  • Lock the private chat to encourage verbal/microphone participation
  • Lock the ability to share webcams to encourage the viewers to focus on the presentation content
  • Lock shared notes so that only moderators can view them

To lock all viewers

  1. On the left side of your session window, click the Gear icon next to the Users List.
  2. In the drop-down menu, select Lock viewers.        
  3. In the Lock viewers window, select the feature(s) you would like to lock.  Once you have locked a feature, it’s status button will turn red (see screenshot below).            
  4. When you have finished customizing your lock settings, click Apply.

To unlock all viewers, follow the same steps for locking your viewers above and click the status buttons to unlock features. 

To lock/unlock an individual viewer

  1. In the Users List on the left side of your session window, click the name of the user you want to lock.                                                     
  2. In the drop-down menu, select Lock User.
    NOTE: Once users have been locked, the Users List will display this beneath their names. You can unlock them by click on their name, and selecting unlock.

Assigning Presenters

As a moderator, you can assign a viewer the role of a Presenter to allow them to control the presentation area.  A presenter can upload slides, annotate the current slide with the whiteboard controls, enable/disable multi-user whiteboard, start a poll, and share their screen. Once the presenter has finished their presentation, you can easily take back presenter status to regain control of the presentation area. There can only be one presenter at a time.

To Assign a Presenter Role:

  1. Go to the Users list on the left side of your session window.
  2. Click on the name of the user you would like to assign as a presenter (See example below).
  3. In the drop-down menu, select Make Presenter.                                                              

To Take Back Presenter Status:

  1. Click on your name in the Users List or the blue + icon at the bottom of your session window.
  2. In the drop-down menu, select Take Presenter Role.

Creating Breakout Rooms

You can launch breakout rooms during your BBB session to facilitate small group discussions and student collaboration. Breakout rooms can be created and managed from your main session window.

To Create a Breakout Room:

  1. Launch your BBB session and go to the User’s List on the left side of your session window.
    NOTE: If you do not see the User list, you need to expand it by clicking the toggle icon at the top left side of the page
  2. To the right of the Users List, click the Gear icon.
  3. In the drop-down menu, select Create breakout rooms.            
  4. On the Breakout Rooms page, enter the following information:
    • Select the number of rooms from the drop-down menu.
    • Enter the duration (minutes).
    • Assign your session participants to a breakout room in one of the following ways:
      • To manually assign participants to a room, drag and drop users’ names from the not assigned field to a room number.
      • To randomly assign participants to a room, click Randomly assign.
        NOTE: Your session participants will be prompted to select a breakout room from a drop-down menu.
      • To allow participants to choose their own break out room, select the Allow users to choose a breakout room to join checkbox.              
  5. Click Create to instantly launch the breakout rooms.

A new breakout room window will automatically open with the “breakout room time remaining” displayed at the top of the window (see image below). 

Managing Breakout Rooms 

As a moderator, you can manage your breakout rooms from the Breakout Rooms control panel in your main session window. Once you’ve created a breakout room, the control panel will automatically appear above the User’s List on the left side of your screen. This is where you can access an overview of all breakout rooms, including the names and number of participants in each room. If a participant accidentally exits a breakout room, you can re-assign them by sending a breakout room invitation. You also have the following capabilities as a moderator:

  • Join Room – Select this option to instantly join a breakout room. You will be prompted to join the audio for the room you have selected.
  • End all breakout rooms 

NOTE: Resources created in Breakout rooms expire

Any resources created in breakout rooms such as Shared Notes must be exported before the breakout expires. Any resources in the breakout room will be deleted when the breakout room expires.The shared white board and any annotations cannot be exported in the current version of BBB.

Re-assigning Participants to a Breakout Room

If a participant accidentally exits their breakout room window, they will need to be re-invited into the breakout room by the session moderator.

To send a breakout room invitation:

  1. To the right of the Users List, click the Gear icon.
  2. In the drop-down menu, select Breakout room invitation.                     

Closed Captioning

Moderators can use the live closed captioning feature to allow students with audio accessibility barriers to engage in the BBB session. You can also export your captions and save them to your computer.

NOTE: This is not an auto captioning  feature so manual text input is required. You may need a volunteer to type the captions during your session. You then assign this person as the “captioner”.

To access Closed Captioning: 

  1. Launch your BBB session and go to the User’s List on the left side of your session window.
    NOTE: If you do not see the User list, you need to expand it by clicking the toggle icon at the top left side of the page
  2. To the right of the Users List, click the Gear icon.                            
  3. In the drop-down menu, select Write closed captions.
  4. In the Closed captions pop-up window, select a language for closed captions within your session (English is selected by default).            
  5. Click Start.
  6. A Captions editor will open in the menu on the left side of your screen (see screenshot below).  Type your captions in the text area.                   
  7. To enable live captioning during your session, click the Closed Captioning (CC) icon at the bottom of the presentation area. You will be prompted to customize the text colour, background colour, font style, and font size for your captions.    
  8. When you have finished customizing the appearance of your closed captions, click Start. Your closed captions will now appear live in the presentation area as you type them in the Captions editor (See example “Welcome” text below).    
NOTE: Your Closed Captions (CC) icon will appear blue while live captioning is enabled (See screenshot above). Click the icon to disable live captioning at any time.

To export Closed Captions:

  1. Open your Captions editor on the left side of your session window.
  2. Click the import/export icon (reverse arrows) at the top of the text editor.
  3. Select one of the following document format options for your exported file:
    • HTML
    • Plain text

Your .html or .txt file will automatically begin downloading to your computer

Ending Meetings

Only moderators can end a BBB session for all viewers.

To end your meeting:

  1. Click the settings menu (see image below) on the top-right side of your session window.  
  2. In the drop-down menu, select End Meeting.
  3. You will be prompted with the message “are you sure you want to end this meeting” , then click Yes.

You will automatically be taken back to your BBB page in cuLearn where you first joined the session. If you recorded your session you will now be able to access your recordings in cuLearn.   

The video tutorial below provides an overview of your capabilities as a moderator, including how you can mute/unmute users, assign presenters, create breakout rooms for student discussions, and share your screen:

Additional Recommendations for Moderator/Presenters

  • Moderators and presenters can join BigBlueButton using a mobile device, however, use of more bandwidth intensive features, such as the screen sharing, may be limited. We recommend Moderators and Presenters connect from a desktop or laptop device whenever possible to ensure all features and functions available in BigBlueButton are accessible to the user.
  • For screen sharing, we recommend using FireFox or Chrome for best results. Screen sharing uses more bandwidth than sharing a webcam, so a good upstream bandwidth is required (at least 1 Mbits/sec) .
  • We recommend moderators or presenters connect through a wired network (not wireless) if possible.  If connecting from a wireless network that is not reliable, you may experience periodic disconnects or gaps in your audio.

Navigating Your Session

The screenshot below provides a visual of the BBB default session layout, which includes the User List/Messages/Notes toggle menu, the presenter/moderator actions button, the settings menu, the stop/start record button, and the Microphone, Audio, Webcam, and Screen share toolbar.

User List/ Private Messages/ Shared Notes Toggle Menu

On the left side of your session window is the User List/Chat Toggle Menu. You can hide or unhide this menu using the toggle icon (see image below). From this menu you can access Messages (Public and Private chat), Shared Notes, and a User’s List.

Messages (Public and Private Chat)

Under Messages you can access the public and private chat areas.

  • Public Chat – A chat window accessible to all BBB session participants.  To send a public message:
    1. Click Public Chat under Messages.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
    2. Type your message in the Send message to public chat field, then click the blue send icon   
      NOTE: You can save, copy, or clear all public chat messages through the settings menu on the top-right side of the chat area.                                                                     
  • Private Chat – You can chat privately with any viewer in your session. To start a private chat:
    1. Click on the name of a session participant in the Users List (see image below).
    2. In the drop-down menu, select Chat.
    3. Type a message in the Message field and click the blue send icon (see image below).         
      NOTE: You can minimize (<) or exit (x) a private chat using the icons circled in the image above. Private chats can only be read by the participants involved.

Shared Notes

A space for sharing text notes with all BBB session participants.                     

You can format shared notes using the text editor (bold, italic, underline, etc.) and download the notepad using the import/export button (circled in red in the image below):

Users List

A list of all users (viewer and moderators) that have joined your BBB session. If you click on a User’s name, you have the option to start a private chat, promote the user presenter status, remove a user from the session, or remove presenter status. You can also set a status emoji to indicate your status to your session participants. The User list can be exported by a moderator. To do this, click on the gear icon and select the Save user names menu item.

Session Title and Start/Stop Record button

At the top of your Session window is the Session Title and the Start/Stop Record button. The session title will be whatever you called the BBB activity in your cuLearn course.

NOTE: Moderators can use the recording button to record the BBB session. Recordings can take many hours to a day to appear in your cuLearn course. You must remember to start the recording or nothing will be recorded.

Settings Menu

On the top-right side of the session window is the Settings menu. From this drop-down menu, you can make your session fullscreen, logout, end your meeting, use hotkeys, or customize your session settings.

BBB Session Settings

You can change your session language or enable/disable webcam use, chat notifications, and more in your BBB session settings.

To adjust your BBB session settings:

  1. Launch your BBB session.
  2. On the top-right side of your session window, click the settings icon
  3. In the drop-down menu, select Settings.
  4. Configure your settings under the Applications and Data Savings tabs
    • Under Applications, you can customize the following settings using the on/off buttons:
      • Animations
      • Audio Alerts for Chat
      • Popup Alerts for Chat
      • Audio Alerts for User Join
      • Popup Alerts for User Join
        NOTE: All of the Applications settings are disabled by default except for the Animations setting.

      • To change the language of your session, select a language from the Application language drop-down menu.
    • Under Data Savings, you can adjust the following settings using the on/off buttons to save your bandwidth:
      • Enable Webcams – Webcams are enabled by default.
      • Enable Desktop Sharing – Desktop Sharing is enabled by default.
  5. When you are done adjusting your settings, click Save.

Presenter/Moderator Actions button

By clicking the presenter/moderator actions button on the lower-left side of the presentation window, you can do the following:

Microphone, Audio, Webcam and Screen share toolbar

At the bottom of your screen is a toolbar where you can enable/disable your microphone, audio or a webcam, or share your screen.

The toolbar icons perform the functions indicated in the list below (matching the toolbar icons from left to right):

  • Microphone Mute button: Use this button to mute and unmute your microphone during the BBB session.                                                                                                                                                         
  • Join Audio button: This button turns audio input on and off. You can use this to reset your microphone.                                                                                                                                                   
  • Webcam button: Use this button to Share your webcam. This button turns webcam video on and off. This option can be bandwidth intensive.                                                                                               
  • Desktop Sharing button: Use this button to broadcast your desktop for all users to see. This button turns webcam video on and off. This option can be bandwidth intensive.                                             

Using Polls in Your BBB Session

To create a poll in your BBB session:

  1. Click the Plus button located at the bottom of the session window.
  2. Click Start a poll.                                                                                                              
  3. Select the type of poll you would like to use. You can use preset poll types, such as true/false or 4 answer multiple choice polls, or you can create a custom poll.
  4. Create your poll questions.
  5. Prompt participants to answer the poll.
  6. When all or most participants have answered the poll, click Publish polling results and the poll totals will display in the session.

See the screen shot below for a visual of the Live Poll Results window with the Publish button.

Uploading Presentations in Your BBB session

To upload a presentation (powerpoint, etc.) to your BBB session:

  1. Click the Plus button located at the bottom of the session window.
  2. Click Upload a Presentation.                                                                                                                                   
    NOTE: Your slides will automatically be converted to a PDF once uploaded into BBB, but we recommend converting your presentation to a pdf before you upload to ensure your pdf slides are formatted the way you want.
  3. Click browse for files or drag and drop your presentation file into the upload area (see image below).             
  4. Once your file has finished uploading, click Confirm.

Navigating the Presentation

The presentation progress buttons at the bottom of the Presentation window allow the moderator to move through the presentation.

  • The forward arrow advances the slides.
  • The backward arrow moves the slides backward.

  •  The Slide menu in the middle displays your current slide and allows you to jump to any slide in the presentation.

Using Hotkeys (Keyboard Shortcuts) in Your Presentation

Hotkeys are keyboard shortcuts that will help you manage your presentation more smoothly. Hotkeys can be accessed through the Settings Menu on the top right hand corner of the BBB window (See image below)

When you click on the Hotkeys button, a table of shortcuts and their functions appears (See image below).

Annotating a Presentation

Annotation tools allow the moderator to highlight and annotate slides in the presentation window.  The annotation toolbar is located on the right-hand side of the presentation window.

NOTE: Only the session moderator is able to annotate the presentation. You can allow participants to annotate the presentation by changing their role to presenter or by enabling the multi-user whiteboard.

See the screen shot below for a close up of the annotation tools:

Annotation tools and their functions are explained in the list below:

  •  The hand icon allows the moderator to pan and zoom in the presentation.
  • The pencil icon, square icon, triangle icon, circle icon, diagonal line icon, and T icon button allow the moderator to mark and annotate the presentation with text and graphics.

  •  The small circle icon allows the moderator to select different line widths for the annotations.
  •  The rectangular box icon allows the moderator to select a colour.
  • The backward arrow icon is an undo button that removes the most recent annotation.
  • The trash bin icon clears all the annotations added to the presentation.
  • The rectangular box icon with a curved line turns on the multi-user whiteboard on.

Using the Multi-User Whiteboard

The multi-user whiteboard is a great feature for engaging students in your BBB session. When you turn on the multi-user whiteboard, your session participants will have access to the annotation toolbar and can annotate the presentation area. Click the multi-user whiteboard icon to enable/disable the multi-user whiteboard

TIP: You can include a blank slide in your presentation to create a “whiteboard” space for students to annotate

Recording a Session

NOTE: Recordings take many hours up to a full day to process on the server depending on the traffic. If your recordings have not appeared after 24 hours, please email edtech@carleton.ca.

To record a session in BBB:

  1. Login to your cuLearn course
  2. Click the BBB link
  3. Click Join session
  4. Click the Start recording button located at the top of the Presentation window.                        
  5. In the Start recording confirmation window, click Yes
  6. You will know that the session is being recorded by the indicators of the red circle and running time.          
    NOTE: You can pause the recording any time during the session and re-start the recording again. The recorded session will contain all the recorded instances in one recorded video link.
  7. When you are finished your meeting, click the Settings menu (three stacked dots in the top right of the BBB session window).
  8. Click End Meeting from the Settings drop-down menu to end your meeting and recording.
NOTE: The recording link will take time to process. The link to the recording will appear automatically inside the BBB session link.

To access your BBB recording in cuLearn:

  1. Login to your cuLearn course
  2. Click on the BBB link you used to host/record the session. Your completed recording will automatically appear under the Recordings heading (see image below).
    NOTE: Longer recordings may take longer to appear because the video processing time is longer. If the session was recent, you may need to wait several hours to a day for the server to complete processing the recording before it will appear in the list.
  3. Under Playback, click video or presentation to view your recorded session.
TIP: You can click statistics to access an overview of your session, a breakdown of student engagement during your session, poll results, etc. You can also download a CSV. file of your session statistics.

NOTE: Students will automatically be able to view the recording when they click on the BBB session link on your cuLearn course page.  To make your recording private, click the lock icon under the Toolbar.

Downloading a copy of your BBB recording in cuLearn

  1. Log into cuLearn using your MyCarletonOne credentials.
  2. Enter the cuLearn course that has the BBB recording.
  3. Click on the BBB session that has the recording in your cuLearn course. Under Recordings, you will see a list of previous recordings associated with your BBB room.  4. Under the Playback Column, click on the video button next to the recording you wish to download.  A new browser tab will open displaying your selected video.
  4. Right click on the Video to open the menu.
  5. Click to select Save video as from the menu options.
  6. Enter a file name and select where to save the video.
  7. Click Save. The video will begin downloading to your computer.

Viewing Statistics for Recorded BBB Sessions

In cuLearn, you can access a statistics page for your recorded BBB sessions that provides an overview of session participation, including a participant’s list, polling results, meeting duration data, and more.

To access your BBB recording statistics:

  1. Log in to cuLearn using your MyCarletonOne credentials.
  2. Click on your cuLearn course.
  3. Click on the BBB link you used to host/record the session. Your completed recording will automatically appear under the Recordings heading (see image below).
    NOTE: Longer recordings may take longer to appear because the video processing time is longer. If the session was recent, you may need to wait several hours to a day for the server to complete processing the recording before it will appear in the list.

  4. Under Playback, click Statistics. You will automatically be taken to a page displaying a overview of your BBB session.
TIP: You can download a .csv file of your session statistics by clicking the download csv button on the top-right side of your statistics overview page.

See the video below for an overview of the BBB statistics page:

Setting a Status/Emoji

You can use an emoji to indicate your status to your session participants.  For example, you can indicate that you are away from the computer, happy, confused, or need assistance.

To set a status:

  1. Select your user icon (name) in the User List.      
    NOTE: If you do not see the User list, you need to expand it by clicking the toggle icon at the top-left side of the page
  2. Select Set status.
  3. In the drop-down menu, select one of the emoji options (see image below).  

The emoji will appearing your Use List icon (see example below of a “happy” emoji)

To Clear your status:

  1. Select your user icon (name) in the User List.
  2. In the drop-down menu, select Clear status.                                         

Adding Guests to a BBB Session

If you want to add a guest to your BBB session who is not enrolled in your cuLearn course, you can send them an invitation link to your meeting via email. This invitation cannot be created in advance. The invitation link is created after the BBB session is initiated. The invitation link is only valid during the current session and will no longer work after the session has ended. Each new session generates a new invitation. You must start the session and then email the invitation link to your guest.

To invite a guest to your session:

  1. In the Public Chat window, click Invite a guest to join this meeting.                 
  2. Click Email an invite to open a new email composer window.                           
  3. Compose and Send your invitation email.  By default, you will see the message below with a link to your BBB session.       

Exporting the BBB Session Participant’s List

You have the option to export a list of participants who attended your BBB session.  You can export a list of participants during your BBB session, or you can access a list of participants for your recorded BBB sessions in cuLearn.

To export a participants list during your BBB session:

  1. Launch your BBB session
  2. Click on the gear icon next to the User’s List on the left side of your session window.
  3. In the drop-down menu, select Save user names.

A .txt file will automatically begin downloading to your computer

To access the participants list for recorded BBB sessions in cuLearn:

  1. Log in to cuLearn using your MyCarletonOne credentials.
  2. Click on your cuLearn course.
  3. Click on the BBB link you used to host/record the session. Your completed recording will automatically appear under the Recordings heading (see image below).
    NOTE: Longer recordings may take longer to appear because the video processing time is longer. If the session was recent, you may need to wait several hours to a day for the server to complete processing the recording before it will appear in the list.

  4. Under Playback, click Statistics. You will automatically be taken to a page displaying a overview of your BBB session, including a list of participants. See the Meeting statistics format overview video for an overview of the BigBlueButton Statistics page.

Best Practices and Student Support

Not all students will have access to robust internet during the Covid pandemic. Please take this into consideration when designing your course with synchronous activities. Please watch this video prior to designing your course. The video gives an overview of the differences in synchronous and asynchronous online teaching design.

BigBlueButton Student Support Page

  • Encourage users to connect with a current version of Chrome or Firefox browsers
  • Encourage users to use a headset and microphone, not their laptop/computer microphone
  • Open the session early
  • Alert students if you will be recording. This should be done in advance and at the start of each session.
  • Send participants directions and reminders ahead of time
  • Have a BBB session early in the semester to allow students to get familiar with the tool.
  • Request input for the session agenda from students
  • Review the session layout with participants, reminding them that they can chat or raise a hand to ask questions
  • Create an opening slide with set up instructions
  • Have participants introduce themselves
  • Use polling and emoticons to keep students engaged
  • If a student is promoted to a Moderator or Presenter role they will require higher internet bandwidth to use the presentation tools. Please refer to the bandwidth requirement section of this support site.

Video Tutorials for BigBlueButton  

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