BigBlueButton is a synchronous learning tool that allows instructors and TAs to host live online classes, office hours or other meetings within their cuLearn course. Its features include:

  • a private room with audio, video, presentation and whiteboard capabilities allowing students to be fully engaged in the online environment
  • user authentication so each course can have its own private and secure room accessible from within the course
  • a recording feature that allows online courses to be automatically recorded and posted in cuLearn
  • for further details, view the Video Tutorials

Recording your sessions:

If you want to record and review your BigBlueButton session, you MUST add a RecordingsBN Resource to your course before you start your BigBlueButton (BBB) class.

  1. Click Turn editing on (button in the top right corner of your course page).
  2. Select RecordingsBN from the Add a Resource drop down menu.
  3. Type in a Recordings name.
  4. Choose your preferred settings associated with this recording and click Save and return to course.
  5. Your sessions can now be recorded.

Adding a BigBlueButton room to your course:

  1. Click Turn editing on (button in the top right corner of your course page).
  2. Select BigBlueButtonBN from the Add an activity drop down menu.
  3. Type in a Virtual classroom name.
  4. Choose your preferred settings associated with this room and click Save and return to course.
  5. You should now have a virtual BigBlueButtonBN room setup in your course.

Using BigBlueButton

You can access the BigBlueButton session by clicking on its icon on your main (cuLearn) course page. BigBlueButton has a student view and a teacher/designer view. In your role as classroom presenter you’ll have many more features and design capabilities than your students. Once the virtual classroom loads, you’ll see the four following primary windows:BigBlueButton


This window displays participants in the virtual classroom. The status column indicates all users’ roles in the classroom. The instructor can change the presenter role by clicking the icon on the bottom and highlighting the user’s name.


This window is only active if the instructor wants an audio component to the presentation. This would require use of a microphone by the instructor and students if they are expected to interact using voice.

  • The instructor can mute students’ microphones by clicking on the lock beside their name.
  • The instructor may eject a person from the audio conversation by highlighting their name and clicking the eject button.


This window is a key feature as it enables instructors to interact with students through visual presentations. It enables an instructor to upload any Microsoft Office program (Excel, PowerPoint, Word, etc.) in addition to PDF files. The uploaded file is presented within this window in a format visible to all students even if their computers do not support Microsoft Office programs.

  • To upload your presentation, click the Upload Presentation button at the bottom of the screen (see red box in image).
  • Browse to find your presentation and click upload.
  • Your presentation will load and present itself in this window.
  • Once you’ve loaded your presentation, the box changes by providing more options. Remember, everything within the presentation box will be visible to students at once!
  • The title “presentation” changes to the title of your uploaded file.
  • The black arrows at the bottom of the screen allow you to scroll through your presentation.
  • The red dot is actually your mouse. Students will be able to follow your mouse by following the red dot. This enables you to direct their attention e.g., point out key images.
  • You may also use the zoom feature to narrow in on a particular image.


This window enables text chatting with students. The instructor can speak to all students or set up a private chat with a particular student.

  • To chat with an individual student, click on the Options tab (beside the Public tab at the top of the Chat window-see above image). It will bring up a box with a list of names of all participants. Select the individual’s name and a separate chat window will open.
  • Font size can be changed by clicking on the Options tab (beside the Public tab at the top of the Chat window-see above image).  A font drop down menu will appear at the bottom of the Options box.
  • The chat window is viewable by all participants in the BigBlueButton session.

Audio/Video/Desktop sharing

On the top left of the virtual classroom are four icons:

  • The desktop view enables students to view the instructor’s desktop screen. This feature can be used to show material additional to the presentation window.
  • The headphones icon enables audio/voice chat.
  • The webcam when activated allows students to see the instructor live on camera.
  • The target icon allows an instructor or TA to record the BigBlueButton session.  *If you’d like to record your presentation, make sure you’ve added a RecordingsBN Resource to your cuLearn course BEFORE your BigBlueButton session.  (Please see instructions above).*