Ade Malsasa Akbar contact
Senior author, Open Source enthusiast.
Friday, April 24, 2020 at 18:42

BigBlueButton is a communication technology which is designed for online schooling that is accessible for everybody via web browser. With BigBlueButton, teacher can connect to students by voice/video call, live whiteboard, live presentation, collaborative text editing, and easily send them assignments in form of document files, all done without installing any application for everyone. It is a complete alternative to Zoom in the time of COVID-19 worldwide pandemic. It is free and open for everybody. This short tutorial explains the quick procedure for teacher to teach online in BigBlueButton. Happy teaching!

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1. Register

For teacher, BigBlueButton needs account registration. For student, there is no registration needed. You can create a free account in the official server as the best example (more free servers available in the end of this article). In this official server, you are offered to signup with existing popular accounts you already have (Google, Twitter, Microsoft 365 Online) aside from signing up a fresh account. Once registered and logged in, teacher can start an online classroom. Students can join a classroom just by the link.

(BigBlueButton demo server's signup page)

2. Start a Room

You will see a classroom named Home Room available and a Start button over it. That is your room. Click Start button to start the room. Once started, you will see your screen getting dark as a sign it is still loading.

(After logged in, this is BigBlueButton teacher's control page)

3. Enable Voice

Once loading finished, every time you start a classroom you see a message How would you like to join the audio? asking for your answer. Click Microphone button instead of Listen Only button. Then you should see a selection asked by browser either "Monitor..." or "Built-in..." so select the "Built-in..." choice instead and click Allow button.


4. Enter Voice Test

Once Microphone has been set correctly, screen will display Connecting to echo test... and later display This is a private echo test. Speak a few words. Did you hear audio? with thumbs up and down signs. In this step, speak up using your microphone and you should hear your own voice and then click YES button. Finally, a notification says You are joined the audio conference. On this step you are ready to teach online.

5. Invite Students

For your students, to attent your classroom each of them must have the classroom link. Copy the link of your classroom to your students. For example, your classroom link should look like You can send that link via email or other medias. Instruct your students when opening that link to enter their name and click Join button and set the Microphone like above.

6. Start Teaching

After starting a classroom and students gathered in, at this point you can start giving lecture by voice heard by your students on BigBlueButton. Your students can also speak to you back.

(Classroom at a glance on BigBluebutton: biggest area is the presentation view with first slide says "Welcome To BigBlueButton")

(Classroom with students and chatting in text and presentation material from teacher)

For you information, I teach GNU/Linux in Indonesia via the internet and those were my students.

7. Enable Webcam (Optional)

To enable webcam, select Camera button on bottom and on the selection appears select your webcam name and click Allow button. Every participant must do so to share their webcam view to others. However, if your internet access is limited, it is better to not enable webcam at all.

8. Do a Presentation

File formats acceptable: pdf, odt, ods, odp, txt, rtf, doc, xls, ppt.

You display your teaching materials in form of a document. Click the blue + button on bottom and select Upload a Presentation and click the cloud upload button and select your presentation file you want to teach and finally click the blue Upload button. For example, here is how to upload a LibreOffice Presentation File's ODP.

(First, upload an .odp file until you see To be uploaded... message | Second, click the blue Upload button)

(Teaching done by teacher in front of students by voice and document view and a little bit red annotation online at BigBlueButton)

9. Annotate (Optional)

For teacher, every annotation scratched on presentation screen is real-time displayed for all students. By default, students cannot make annotation. To draw together, teacher should click Turn multi-user whiteboard on button. To disable draw together, click that button once again.

10. End Teaching

To end class session, click the triple dots button on top-right and select End meeting. Your students will not be able to join the class again unless you Started the class later.

Happy teaching, happy learning!

More Servers Available

Alternatively, you can choose below one among many BigBlueButton services on the net:

This article is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.