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Picture of Jeremy Hopkins
What do you think of Big Blue Button?
by Jeremy Hopkins - Friday, 16 May 2014, 10:18 PM
 

I was just wondering what you all think of Big Blue Button now you have had the chance to use it?

Picture of Richard Pilbery
Re: What do you think of Big Blue Button?
by Richard Pilbery - Friday, 16 May 2014, 10:36 PM
 

It works pretty well.  Good integration of presentation, screencasting and live chat, which has made for fun and interactive sessions.  An HTML5 option for iOS devices would be nice and I see that there is work going on in this area.

Picture of Jeremy Hopkins
Re: What do you think of Big Blue Button?
by Jeremy Hopkins - Friday, 16 May 2014, 11:58 PM
 

Yes not sure whats happening with that, the HTML5 interface has been on the cards for a long time now.

I think the only current solution for IOS is Puffin Browser which I have not got round to testing with it.

Picture of Randah Mouallem
Re: What do you think of Big Blue Button?
by Randah Mouallem - Friday, 16 May 2014, 11:14 PM
 

I find it, in comparison to Blackboard Collaborate which we use, to be very limiting for participants. I wish we could interact more during the session.

In Collaborate we can use emoticons, raise our hand, use polling options, draw on the whiteboard, text chat, etc. in BBB all we can do is text chat and I find I miss the other interactions.

-Randah

Picture of Jeremy Hopkins
Re: What do you think of Big Blue Button?
by Jeremy Hopkins - Friday, 16 May 2014, 11:57 PM
 

You can raise your hand in BBB but it depends on the role you enter with, and that depends on your role in the Moodle course.

I think they used to have more features and stripped it back to make it simpler to use.

We looked at Adobe connect which has more features but I am not sure how many we would use, I quite like the simplicity of BBB and the Moodle integration, but would add we are essentially an "offline" University, the vast majority of students attend full time, there is not much done in the way of distance / blended learning... yet.

For the kind of Moodle integration it offers (which was a pre-requisite for us) and the price (open source, just need to host it) its worked out quite well for us.

Picture of Randah Mouallem
Re: What do you think of Big Blue Button?
by Randah Mouallem - Saturday, 17 May 2014, 12:39 AM
 

I have entered with different roles and have never been able to raise my hand :(

I also HATE how the recordings start automatically. I am constantly scrolling through the recording to try find the actual start, sometimes that's 30 minutes into the recording. I don't think I'd choose BBB over Collaborate.

Picture of Jeremy Hopkins
Re: What do you think of Big Blue Button?
by Jeremy Hopkins - Saturday, 17 May 2014, 5:09 AM
 

Yeah Im not sure how the recordings are setup at imoot, they seem to start them off very early, perhaps just risk management as the people that set them up are not the presenters, guess they want to make sure they capture everything.

If you were in full control of your course / presentation you could avoid that.

Waving of hands does work but im not sure how iMoot have their roles setup, I think you need to go in with the role of "student" specifically for that to work.

I have not used collaborate, we used to use Wimba Live Classroom which was bought out by BlackBoard and I believe that products was dropped / assimilated into Collaborate. We paid quite a lot of money per year for that service and it was very niche, if you calculated the cost per session it was very high, but it was needed for for a small number of courses.

Also that ran entirely in Java which became a problem, eventually we swapped it out for BBB, initially self hosted and then moved to the same service iMoot is using from Blindside Networks, so far its worked really well.

Very affordable & flexible compared to the alternatives, but they do have some catching up to do in some areas. 

As you say being able to detect and remove inactive sections from recordings would be a big benefit, as would better mobile support. Its come a long way since we first used it though.

Picture of Paula Clough
Re: What do you think of Big Blue Button?
by Paula Clough - Saturday, 17 May 2014, 6:59 AM
 

I think they may have set the rooms up to start recording right away so that someone doesn't forget to turn it on at the start of the presentation.  I don't remember it being that way when I have seen BBB before.

Picture of Frederick Dixon
Re: What do you think of Big Blue Button?
by Frederick Dixon - Saturday, 17 May 2014, 7:32 AM
 

Hi Paula,

The rooms are set to auto record. 

When the videos of the sessions are uploaded to YouTube, the good folks at Pukunui will trim the videos so you won't need to advance into the recordings start viewing the session.

Regards,... Fred

Dorothy Waterhouse
Setting the start time for replaying
by Dorothy Waterhouse - Saturday, 17 May 2014, 4:44 PM
 

Hi Paula

I've put the actual spot that my replay starts so people can slide through to it and avoid the setup stuff.

I might put this as a suggestion in the presenters' forum.

Cheers

Dot

Picture of Joshua Bragg
Re: What do you think of Big Blue Button?
by Joshua Bragg - Friday, 16 May 2014, 11:36 PM
 

A couple of other people have pointed out the need to adjust the text sizes for large screens.

Picture of Dave Sherwin
Re: What do you think of Big Blue Button?
by Dave Sherwin - Saturday, 17 May 2014, 11:57 AM
 

Joshua - if the text the user wants to adjust is in the chat window, users can change the font to 18 points on the option tab in the chat module. 
If on the slide presentation, that is a more a consideration a presenter will have the be aware of in the development of their presentations.

Picture of Sarah Miller
Re: What do you think of Big Blue Button?
by Sarah Miller - Saturday, 17 May 2014, 12:12 AM
 

It seems fine. I didn't notice any "big blue buttons" however :). It seems pretty simple - not a lot of bells and whistles. I don't think that's a bad thing. Is it possible for presenters to allow participants to download slides from w/in BBB? I noticed that quite a few presenters posted their slides in their presentation link, but was just curious.

Picture of Jeremy Hopkins
Re: What do you think of Big Blue Button?
by Jeremy Hopkins - Saturday, 17 May 2014, 5:26 AM
 

I dont think you can allow download through BBB, but you can paste the link in chat or put the files in the Moodle course.

Picture of Sarah Miller
Re: What do you think of Big Blue Button?
by Sarah Miller - Saturday, 17 May 2014, 12:21 AM
 

Came up with one complaint. I can't view the presentations on my iPhone :).

Dorothy Waterhouse
Iphones, ipads and others Use Puffin Browser to replay or join BBB
by Dorothy Waterhouse - Saturday, 17 May 2014, 4:40 PM
 

Use the Free Puffin Browser

It works brilliantly for scorm courses and many other things that don't work in Safari.

Puffin Browser

Cheers


Sam Eneman
Re: Iphones, ipads and others Use Puffin Browser to replay or join BBB
by Sam Eneman - Saturday, 17 May 2014, 9:46 PM
 

I used the Puffin browser on my iPad, but couldn't type in chat. The on-screen keyboard never came up.  :-(

Dorothy Waterhouse
Re: Iphones, ipads and others Use Puffin Browser to replay or join BBB
by Dorothy Waterhouse - Sunday, 18 May 2014, 3:13 PM
 

I got the mouse up ok - but I didn't try the keyboard as I was on my iPhone - will try my iPad.

Cheers
Dot

Picture of Frederick Dixon
Re: Iphones, ipads and others Use Puffin Browser to replay or join BBB
by Frederick Dixon - Sunday, 18 May 2014, 7:58 PM
 

Hi Dorothy,

We don't testing BigBlueButton on the Puffin web browser -- still, it's pretty amazing that it lets you watch a live BigBlueButton session from your iPad.

We are working on a mobile client (Android and iOS) that will let you join a BigBlueButton session.  If others are interested in the status, check out the recording from the BigBlueButton presentation.

    https://2014.imoot.org/mod/recordingsbn/view.php?id=583

Regards,... Fred

Picture of Stephan Rinke
Re: What do you think of Big Blue Button?
by Stephan Rinke - Saturday, 17 May 2014, 1:03 AM
 

Worked brilliantly for us in our sessions!

Now I will have to find out if our municipal IT provider is able and willing to host it for us. So want a live online classroom solution but our city is in so much debt (https://www.essen.de/mobile/schuldenuhr_1.de.html) that I cannot see that happening if we have to buy software and/or pay a service provider...

Stephan

Picture of Frank Fucile
Re: What do you think of Big Blue Button?
by Frank Fucile - Saturday, 17 May 2014, 1:52 AM
 

Hello all and Jeremy - for initiating this conversation

Would love to hear and get feedback on the use of BBB. At the present time I am conducting a "Sandbox" project on the use of Big Blue Button here in the province of British Columbia.through the auspices of BCcampus - http://www.bccampus.ca/. BCcampus provides technology services to B.C.'s public post-secondary system in unique and effective ways: by aggregating demand, using collaborative business models and maximizing each institution's resources. We provide the IT infrastructure for student data exchange, shared services, online learning and distance education, communities of practice and online resources for educators.

I have been exploring and using Big Blue Button for a couple of years now and have seen many improvements moving forward - just like any open source product it is also the community that makes it great and I know that the team there is working diligently to make it a better experience for all of us.

On April 30 there was a BBB Developer Summit outlining the upcoming Road Map and new features - http://bigbluebutton.org/2014/04/30/bigbluebutton-developer-summit-iv-recordings/

Please feel free to reach out to me if you would like to chat further about our experience with BBB - you can email me at ffucile@bccampus.ca

cheers

frank

Picture of Jeremy Hopkins
Re: What do you think of Big Blue Button?
by Jeremy Hopkins - Saturday, 17 May 2014, 5:25 AM
 

Hi Frank,

There is an interesting case study of sorts from the University of Western Scotland here:

http://www.rsc-scotland.org/?p=881

I spoke to the guy in that video at length about what they did, which was to buy a decent pair of servers and self host. That made sense for them as they use it much more heavily than we do, I think they have around 700 users per day.

Their campuses are up to 100 miles apart so they use it for internal meetings. The weather is more severe in winter and terrain more difficult than many parts of the UK so they use it as a fall back if people cannot make it into Univesity.

I think they have had a lot of success self hosting.

Picture of Paula Clough
Re: What do you think of Big Blue Button?
by Paula Clough - Saturday, 17 May 2014, 7:02 AM
 

It's worked fine in my presentation session. I was glad to have Dom there just in case. Someone from your group checked in as well.  I haven't had any problems in the other sessions I have attended so far.  I'm going to mention it to my boss. We have some people who want to try doing this type of thing for their hybrid courses but we don't have enough committed to it to spend a lot on it.  We are also a very small school.


Picture of Jeremy Hopkins
Re: What do you think of Big Blue Button?
by Jeremy Hopkins - Saturday, 17 May 2014, 5:19 AM
 

I think a lot of people host on Amazon cloud, in fact I am sure the service used at iMoot is on there too.

There are a couple of companies that offer hosting, you can get that quite cheaply if you go with a shared instance and forgoe full Moodle integration, we use BlindSide networks service which costs more but allows full moodle integration.

Cost is an issue for small organisations though, supporting it internally can be tricky.

Some of the commercial alternatives like Connect are quite affordable for single named users (again without Moodle integration on those plans).

In our case we have several hundred staff, 20k students and we wanted all of them to have the option of using it seamlessly if they wanted to. You go to some of these providers and tell them you have 20k FTE and they want to bill you for 20k users regardless of the fact that only a tiny proportion will ever use it.

You say "but only 100 of them will use it" and they say "ahh, ok, then you need named users / accounts". We found it impossible to find anything other than BBB that offered full moodle integration and allowed anyone in our organisation to access freely on a "pay as you go" basis without locking you down to named users.

Also the support / SLA / service is robust, they offer dial in numbers and a level of resilliance to server failure we could not achieve self hosting....

After spending many many hours over several months looking at our options Im quite a fan of BBB :-)

Picture of Frederick Dixon
Re: What do you think of Big Blue Button?
by Frederick Dixon - Saturday, 17 May 2014, 5:54 AM
 

Hi Jeremy (and others),

I'm Fred Dixon, the product manager for BigBlueButton.  I'm also the co-author of the BigBlueButtonBN Moodle plug-in.

I'm also the CEO of Blindside Networks, the company providing support and hosting for BigBlueButton for iMoot 2014.

This is a great thread and I'm enjoying all the feedback.

I'll be giving a presentation on Sat 17 May, 17:00 (UTC -4.0) that will give everyone an update on the development underway for BigBlueButton and the road map ahead.  

I'll also give you an update on development of the HTML5 and mobile client.

Hope to see you there!,... Fred

Picture of Jeremy Hopkins
Re: What do you think of Big Blue Button?
by Jeremy Hopkins - Saturday, 17 May 2014, 6:15 AM
 

Hi Fred,

I noticed that and hope to attend, its a bit late in my TZ but hope to be there, if not will be sure to check the recording.


Picture of Ben Hinton
Re: What do you think of Big Blue Button?
by Ben Hinton - Saturday, 17 May 2014, 7:55 AM
 

Big Blue Button server is just not fast enough for me here in mainland China. My connection is very fast - but there is obviously some kind of shaping going on by the central government. Obviously in China I can't afford to place an overseas call to the Dial In Audio numbers.


Dorothy Waterhouse
Re: What do you think of Big Blue Button?
by Dorothy Waterhouse - Saturday, 17 May 2014, 5:04 PM
 

A BIG thank you to BBB for getting the replays up so quickly!
'Badge' attached

I've been to other recorded conferences and it has been weeks!

I had a panicked start at the practice sessions because I am used to using desktop sharing seamlessly.

However once I worked out some setup guidelines it all went very well.

Cheers
Dot



Picture of Gina Veliotis
Re: What do you think of Big Blue Button?
by Gina Veliotis - Sunday, 18 May 2014, 3:19 PM
 

I really like using it - it's very simple and stable. As a presenter, I would have like a few more tools, especially polls. It also needs to be compatible with iPads.

Picture of Andrew Chiu
Re: What do you think of Big Blue Button?
by Andrew Chiu - Sunday, 18 May 2014, 10:42 PM
 

Hi all,

In a couple of the sessions I thought it would be great if BBB had some function like airplay on the Apple TV - that would allow presenters to open a website / youtube video / media on the participant's computer, but it would be the participant's computer that directly connected to the resource.

This would be good to enable a good experience of video / media without relying on the presenter's bandwidth, although not everybody would be in-sync.

Presenters: would this have been helpful? Being able to cast video / media to participant's computers?

Just a thought.

Andrew