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 moodle.org here as well.
This YouTube video gives you quick overview of the installation and use of BBB:
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
- 2 GB of memory (4 GB is better)
- Dual-core 2.6 GHZ CPU (quad core is better)
- Ports 80, 1935, 9123 accessible
- Port 80 is available and not used by another application
- 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
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.