Remote work poses challenges for all of us. How and where do we hold our video conferences, for example? Of course there are countless offers on the market. Whether it's the classic Google Hangouts, Skype, Zoom, TeamViewer or one of the thousands of WebRTC platforms. As friends of open source solutions, we have long used Jitsi Meet for our video conferences. But since a few weeks we have been running our own instance with BigBlueButton. A great piece of software.
BigBlueButton and learning platforms
The BBB community has set its own focus on learning platforms. So there are also many metaphors and functions that are typically used in the learning environment. The community had bet on the wrong horse in the past, as they had developed the user interface in Flash. In recent years, they have solved the Herculean task and replaced Flash with HTML5.
And since then it has been one of our favourite software in our daily work.
Registered users receive authorisation to create rooms. This is done easily and conveniently via a web browser, which is also the frontend for the video conference. Screensharing works easily from the browser and simultaneous rooms with different users are possible without any problems. We use a virtual machine with 4 cores and 16 GB RAM. So far, we have not encountered any problems with the number of simultaneous sessions.
Rooms can be created so that participants have to wait until a facilitator enters the room. Alternatively, rooms can be created that do not have this restriction. If a password has been set for the room, the password must be known as well as the URL. What we miss so far is a desired URL for rooms. Instead, the URL strategy is set by BigBlueButton.
The default start room has only one facilitator. All participants follow the moderator, who can give presentations and initiate screen sharing. With the moderator role, other participants can be made presenters or moderators. This function is not entirely self-explanatory. I have created a short video on this, which is linked below.
All conferences can be recorded and downloaded for later use.
We have married our FreePBX (VoIP telephone system) with BigBlueButton and thus achieve telephone dial-in, which gives people the opportunity to participate in the conference via audio even in environments with poor internet connection at landline costs. Reliable, hassle-free and privacy-compliant.