Since Google Chrome browser offers the best support for BBB on all operating systems (except Apple iOS), we recommend using Chrome or another Chromium-based web browser for BBB conferences.
Real-time audio and video transmissions place significantly higher demands on network connections than regular websites. Therefore, it is recommended to use a wired network connection instead of WiFi, if possible. You can test the speed of your network connection at https://speedtest.rz.tu-clausthal.de/. For a stable connection, you need to have the following minimum results:
Current laptops are usually equipped with good webcams. However, when using a PC or external monitor, then a separate webcam is needed. The computing centre recommends the following Logitech webcams for individual work stations: models C925E and C930E for occasional use and model „Brio Ultra-HD Pro“ for lecturers and frequent users. For an optimal setup, please install the associated software Logi Tune.
Note that webcams for individual work stations are not sufficient for the use in meeting rooms. Please contact the computing centre for advice on how to best equip your meeting room with video conferencing technology.
From version 2.4, BBB offers virtual backgrounds for webcams. At present, these can only be provided centrally. They will occasionally be exchanged as part of system updates.
At present, it is not possible to record meetings or events on BBB. To record a lecture in a lecture hall, please use the Opencast system. To create your own lecture video using screen recording on a PC, the computing centre offers a license for Camtasia. See Camtasia for more information.
When we switched to BBB version 2.4, we decided to hide the start-up slide. This is because most participants are already familiar with BBB. By clicking the presentation button, individual participants can view the start-up slide, if needed.
Each user can create ten rooms in BBB.
Based on our own experience and those from other universities, we expect meetings with one or two presenters and approximately 300 listeners to be possible without any problems. It is further possible to have meetings with 50 participants who all use video. As the number of participants increases, the webcam resolution, refresh rate, and data rate are automatically reduced. This prevents overloading end devices. Once the number of participants reaches 16*, BBB changes to a page-by-page display (*32 for moderators).
When we started using BBB in 2020, it was not always very reliable and efficient. In addition, there was little experience with hosting larger events. Because of that, we had exclusive servers for important BBB events in a so-called VIP environment. Since then, BBB has significantly improved. In March 2022, we consolidated and unified the BBB server environment. We now have 12 equally strong BBB nodes across which all sessions are automatically distributed. Based on our utilization measurements over several months, we consider this environment to be sufficiently stable and efficient so that exclusive BBB servers are no longer needed.
If possible, please upload files using PDF format. PDF files should be a maximum of 200 pages long, have a maximum size of up to 30 MB, and their conversion should take a maximum of five minutes. If necessary, please split your files into several parts and upload them one by one.
When uploading MS Office files such as Word or PowerPoint, BBB automatically converts these files to PDF format using LibreOffice. Because of this, it is possible that fonts, symbols, drawings, and formatting are affected. Animations are typically not supported. Please convert any files to PDF format using the programme in which they were created, and check your results prior to uploading. If content or animations are missing, you can use screen sharing for the presentation instead.
The sound quality heavily depends on the quality of microphone being used. If several participants speak at the same time, it becomes incomprehensible. Therefore, we recommend to turn microphones off when not speaking. Background noises may also cause disruptions. As participants often do not notice these themselves, please inform them discreetly.
Real time audio and video transmissions place a significantly higher demand on the quality of network connections and performance of end devices than regular websites. This means that audio and video dropouts are typically the result of an unstable network connection or an overloaded PC, so please check your CPU utilization and your network connection. It is recommended to use a wired network connection instead of WiFi, if possible. You can test the speed of your network connection at https://speedtest.rz.tu-clausthal.de/.
In order to enable audio and video transmissions on your PC, you must first activate the webcam and microphone via the Windows Control Panel. Then you have to grant your browser permission to access them. If you have accidentally turned off permission, then you must first undo this as described in the instructions.
You can change audio devices by clicking the white check mark next to the speaker icon. It is also possible to set default audio devices in Windows by right-clicking the speaker icon on the taskbar and then opening the sound settings. The browser should then automatically use your default devices.
Note that your default devices may be unintentionally changed due to the sequence in which they are switched on, reconnecting devices or driver updates. Therefore, we recommend to disable any unwanted devices via “manage audio devices”.
During a lecture, it is recommended to have an assistant who can observe chat messages, take care of technical settings, and, for example, prepare surveys.
BBB is integrated into Stud.IP and Moodle via plugins. Please use either LMS to create and configure a BBB room for your course. See Plugin für Stud.IP zu Einbindung von BigBlueButton and Plugin für Moodle zur Einbindung von BigBlueButton for further instructions.
In large lecture halls at TU Clausthal, provisions have been made to transfer lectures from a PC to BBB. Audio transmissions from the audience are only possible to a limited extent. See BigBlueButton im Hörsaal for more information.
Seminar rooms often do not supply fixed audio equipment. To use BBB in seminar rooms, you can hire audio equipment from the equipment loan service in the computing centre. Again, audio transmissions from the audience are only possible to a limited extent and questions may have to be repeated by the speaker.
Some rooms, such as the Senate Meeting Room (A1-177) and the seminar room in the computing centre (B5-119), are equipped with microphones which allow audio transmissions without restrictions.
If a PC has multiple video sources, such as a webcam and a visualizer, then it is possible for BBB to transmit two video images at the same time, up to a maximum resolution of 1280×720 with 30 frames/s. Unfortunately, this means that data will be compressed which leads to a loss of quality. Therefore, the display of detail is limited.
In breakout rooms, BBB provides only one blank page on the whiteboard. It is therefore recommended that students create presentations using several blank pages and uploading them to the breakout room. At present, any work which is undertaken in a breakout room is not saved and cannot be transferred to the main room. Please advise your students to document their work using screenshots.
The integration of the BBB server in Rocket.Chat does not work, without restrictions, in all browsers. Please use the chat server https://chat.rz.tu-clausthal.de/ and the BBB server https://webconf.tu-clausthal.de/ independently of each other.
Unfortunately, the playback of videos from the TU Clausthal video server via the “external video” function in BBB is currently not supported. An exception are videos which are uploaded with an additional option: Einbinden eines Videos vom Video-Server in BigBlueButton
Some companies and countries (for example, China) have sealed themselves off with firewalls in such a way that it is not possible to establish a connection to the BBB server at TU Clausthal. The website then still loads but audio and video connections fail. You can ask your external partner if they can set up a meeting room on their video conference platform, or else, you can contact the RZ support team for an alternative.
BBB is, by default, displayed in the same language as your browser. You can change the language via “settings” in the main menu of BBB.
If your web browser or connected device malfunctions, then restarting your browser or PC often helps. If you use a browser other than Google Chrome, you can check if using Google Chrome solves the problem. If you are experiencing any other problems, please contact the RZ support team for help and indicate which operating system and web browser you are using as well as the time and URL of the meeting. In case audio and video transmission problems, please add your connection status from BBB and the results from https://speedtest.rz.tu-clausthal.de/.