Synchronous learning with Big Blue Button in Moodle

Happy Friday, everyone!

I’ve just installed a fantastic module on my Moodle called BBB or BigBlueButton. It integrates into Moodle just like any other activity would and works a treat! I’m really excited about it all and the possibilities this presents to language teachers. It offers a range of features, most notably group web conferencing, desktop sharing, whiteboard sharing and recording, all right within Moodle. Very nice! There’s a big thread about it on here as well.

This YouTube video gives you quick overview of the installation and use of BBB:

You can try it out on the BBB website here or on my Moodle. BBB also has some concise instructional videos on what to do when you’re inside the software.

As with all great things, there is a downside to this, which is the server required to run it all. Video streaming is incredibly taxing on the ol’ infrastructure and this is what they recommend to run it:

We recommend installing BigBlueButton on a dedicated (non-virtual) server for optimal performance. To install BigBlueButton, you’ll need root access to a Ubuntu 10.04 server with

  1. 2 GB of memory (4 GB is better)
  2. Dual-core 2.6 GHZ CPU (quad core is better)
  3. Ports 80, 1935, 9123 accessible
  4. Port 80 is available and not used by another application
  5. 400G of free disk space (or more) for recordings

Sure, you can build a machine like that for less than $500 and all the software required is free, but you also need a good, fast pipeline to push it all through. In countries like Australia, this would be a problem. Renting a dedicated server with such specs also wouldn’t come cheap…maybe $150-$250/month? There is also a company that offers hosting called Generic Conferencing, which has a variety of plans available.

So, all in all, the server hardware requirements aside, this gets a big thumbs up from me :D

Watch this space for more on BBB and Moodle.

My next article will be on Adobe Edge, a web design tool that is currently available for free and seems to be very exciting for language teachers! More on that soon…I’m currently moving house and still have a lot of unpacking and cleaning to do.



Comments ( 2 )

  1. ReplyFred Dixon

    Hi Guido, Thanks for taking time to cover BigBlueButton in your blog. Your post helps spread the word so others can learn about our open source project, try it out, and give feedback as well. Regards,... Fred BigBlueButton Developer

    • Replyguido

      You're welcome Fred! Such a great product needs a a good plugging :) Thanks for your reply on the thread as well! Now I need to go find a server that can handle the bandwidth/OS/hardware requirements which is no easy task. My VPS runs on CentOS, but I used to run Ubuntu back in the day. I'll try the VM once I've got proper internet back at home...I'm currently using the iPhone as wireless modem and while it works really well, the 700MB VMware download is probably too much for it to handle... Keep up the good work, Guido

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