Faculty Resources & Tutorials

big blue button

What is BigBlueButton?

BigBlueButton enables you to share your audio, slides, chat, video, and desktop with students.  Built-in polling makes it easy to engage students and recording your lectures means that you can make them available for later review.

When should I use BigBlueButton? A brief overview... 

There are two types of users in BigBlueButton: viewer and moderator. 

A viewer (typically the student) can chat, send/receive audio and video, respond to polls, display an emoji (such as their raised hand), and participate in breakout sessions. 

A moderator (typically the instructor) can do everything a viewer can, plus more. A moderator can mute/unmute other viewers, lockdown viewers (such as restrict them from using private chat), and make anyone the current presenter. There can be multiple moderators in a session. 

The presenter can do the following:  Upload slides, Use the whiteboard to annotate any side, Enable/disable multi-user whiteboard, Start a poll, Share a YouTube, Vimeo, or Canvas Studio video, Share their screen. More info 

BigBlueButton how-to resources 

Pedagogical Best Practice Recommendations for Synchronous Instruction 

  • Inform students: Provide students with clear information about when you’ll be hosting the web conference beforehand, including the time, date, and connection information. 
  • Set up early: Start/join the conference at least ten minutes before the start time you’ve told students. This will give you a chance to upload any slides/documents (if necessary) and ensure everything is working properly. 
  • Upload documents: Upload any slides or documents to the conference before the students arrive so they’re ready to go. 
  • If using a webcam, turn it on/test it out: If you need to adjust the view, you can before anyone arrives! Make sure you are not sitting directly in front of a light source or a messy background, if possible. 
  • Mute users: After the students have entered and you’re ready to start, you should mute all users to prevent audio feedback. 
  • Confirm that users can hear you before you start: Before you get started, ask your students to confirm that they can hear you (they can type yes or no in the text chat) and if they can see your slides (if you’ve uploaded any). 
  • Questions & communication: Make clear the method by which you’d like students to communicate with you. Students can ask questions in the text chat, or they can unmute their microphone and ask a question using audio–you should let them know what you prefer. Especially in large classes, it may be best to ask students to type “I have a question” in the text chat, and ask them to wait for you to call on them. Then, they can unmute their microphone and ask their question.