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Center for Teaching and Learning

Online meetings with BBB

BigBlueButton is a web conference system that you as a lecturer at the Viadrina can use for holding meetings in the scope of your teaching position. With it, you can create, for example, virtual conference and seminar rooms.

In the scope of online conferences, BBB offers functionalities such as

  • Audio and video chats,
  • A public text chat for all,
  • “Private” text chats between individual participants,
  • Shared notes that can be created collaboratively by the participants,
  • The sharing of presentations and PDF documents,
  • A survey tool,
  • A whiteboard function, and
  • The sharing of screens.

In the following, we are providing a brief overview of the key functions and features and the use of them in real life. However, before you hold an online meeting, please take note of the following:

  • BBB is suitable for up to 50 students with a microphone and webcam. In the case of events for more than 50 participants, please register in advance at: e
  • With a microphone but without a webcam for the participants, BBB is suitable for up to approx. 100 students. Without a microphone and without a webcam, BBB is suitable for up to about 200 students. 
  • Set up the online meeting at least 24 hours prior to use so that the IKMZ can provide sufficient server capacity for the event.
  • Use Google Chrome or Firefox as your browser.


Setting up an online meeting

Pfeil vor blau rechts ©Icons are licensed by user digitalcreed @

Using BBB with guests 

  • Setting up guest access outside
    of the educational institute
  • Allowing guests in the scope
    of a Moodle course

Pfeil vor blau rechts ©Icons are licensed by user digitalcreed @

Avoiding interruptions       

Pfeil vor blau rechts ©Icons are licensed by user digitalcreed @

Holding an online meeting

  • Restricting rights for participants
  • Preparing a video conference in BBB
  • Recognising requests to speak
  • Recording a lecture
  • Ensure data protection for recordings
  • Starting the recording and watching it later
  • Conducting a survey
  • Sharing your screen or application
  • Setting up breakout rooms for group work

Pfeil vor blau rechts ©Icons are licensed by user digitalcreed @


Setting up an online meeting

To set up a web conference for your Moodle course, please proceed as follows:

  1. Go to the desired Moodle course and activate the edit mode. 

  2. Create an “Big Blue Button” activity 

  3. A window will open where you can make various settings:.
Add an activity

Server: Select a server depending on the faculty or institution you belong to.

BBB basic setup
  • Wiwi - lecturers of the Economics faculty
  • Rewi - lecturers of the Law faculty
  • Kuwi - lecturers of the faculty for Cultural Science
  • SZ - staff and lecturers of the Language Centre
  • IKMZ - staff and lecturers from central institutions

Name: Please enter a name (Virtual classroom name) for your online meeting. The name must not contain umlauts.

Activating the recording: Please click on “Show more” underneath the name of the virtual classroom and select “The meeting can be recorded”

Managing the participants

In the “Participants” section, you choose whether all participants of the Moodle course or only certain people can take part in the BBB meeting.

BBB Teilnehmende administrieren
In addition, you can assign participants rights as “Observers” or as “Moderators”. You yourself are preset as a moderator. Moderators can, among others, mute participants or even exclude them from the meeting.

Restricting the length of access

In the ‘Schedule for session’ section, you can restrict the length of access to an online meeting to the time until which access is allowed and as of when it is closed again.

Tip: Enable autonomous group work
Create a BBB activity for a work group. Add only the participants of this work group and assign them moderator rights so that they can act in the BBB meeting.

By the way, the link set up for this online meeting can be reused, for example for further meetings in the scope of your course.



Holding an online meeting

You can open your online meeting in your Moodle course by clicking on its name in the course room and then selecting “Participate”:
Test Classroom

Please now join with a microphone. You can change this selection later on. If your browser asks whether you allow access to the microphone, please make sure you confirm this.

Audio setup

The system may now conduct a brief echo test with you. If you can hear yourself, then the right microphone has been selected. If you cannot hear yourself, please click on “No” and then select a different microphone in the “Audio settings” menu and restart the test. 


Restricting rights for participants

Especially in online meetings with many participants, it may make sense to disable spoken contributions to avoid interruptions. In addition to that, certain functions of BBB can be restricted for the current online meeting.

Muting participants

In order to deny a participant the ability to speak, please click on the name of the person to be activated in the box on the left-hand side of the list of users. A menu will open. Please select “Mute user”. You can reverse this by selecting “Cancel muting” in the same menu..

Muting all participants

Klick on the Settings symbol to the right of the users list. Click on “Lock viewers”. Here, you can now make various settings. Confirm your selection with the “Apply” selection box (bottom right).

Please note: Students’ web cams and microphones are frequently activated


Restricting rights for participants

Note: If the status “Locked” appears in the “Share microphone” function, then the users cannot activate their microphones. If the status “unlocked” appears, the users can activate their microphones.


Managing microphones or sound

Your microphone (also applies to students) can be found symbolised as an icon underneath the presentation area. A microphone with a black background shows that a microphone is deactivated. Click on it to activate it. It now has a blue background. Clicking again will deactivate it again.

The other buttons for audio, camera and screen react in the same way.

Ton administrieren

Note: You can not hear a student? Search for the student in the participant list on the far left. A green microphone shows that the microphone is active. You should be able to hear that person when they say something. The crossed out red microphone shows that the microphone is switched off.


Preparing a video conference in BBB

Before beginning the webinar or the online meeting, you should make some preparations 

  • Open the public chat. You can see your students’ feedback here.
  • Upload your presentation or the documents required for the webinar or online meeting. 

In BBB, you can upload documents in the formats PDF or PowerPoint. We recommend using PDF formats. Select “Upload a presentation”. Your students can see the presentation as soon as it is uploaded. Start poll


Recognising requests to speak

Students wishing to request to speak can click on their name in the users list, then “Status” and then “Raise”. Their name then vibrates in the users list. This may not be easy to recognise (especially where there are many participants).

Recommendation: Students should write a message in the chat that they have a question. You should take this into consideration in your moderation.

Recognising requests to speak erkennen


Recording a lecture

Ensure data protection for recordings

Holding online meetings with BBB is conform to data protection because they are processed via servers in Germany and the operator has submitted all necessary declarations.
If, however, you are planning a recording of your meeting, consent with regard to data protection of all the participants is necessary before beginning the recording. You can arrange for this as follows:

  1. Informing: After all participants have joined the meeting and any possible sound or image problems have been clarified, explain that this meeting is to be recorded. To the extent the educational setup of the course allows for this, the participants’ cameras and microphones should be switched off so that they cannot be seen or heard. When posting questions in the chat, however, their names can be seen.
  2. Obtaining a Declaration of Consent: All participants that do not agree, leave the online meeting room. As soon as only those participants that consent to the recording stay, the recording is started and the lecturer repeats at the beginning of the video what had just been agreed with all participants, in order to record everybody’s consent.

Tip: Limit the recording to your presentation and abstain from recording the discussion (and chats) with the students. Instead of that, one of the students can summarise it all in writing and make it available to everybody.

Starting the recording and watching it later

Click on “Start recording”. You will be asked again whether you really want to start the recording. Confirm with “Yes”.
You will then see the number of minutes already recorded on the upper screen edge. Click on it to pause the recording and to continue it later where necessary.

Note: The recording function must be allowed in the settings of the Moodle activity. To do this, select ‘Edit settings’ of your BBB activity, click on ‘more’ in the general settings section and activate the appropriate checkbox.
record meedting

After the recording has ended, it is automatically saved in your Moodle course. Depending on the length of the recording, the use of microphones and webcams and the number of recordings made in the environment at the same time, it can take up to 12 hours until the recording appears in Moodle. Students click on the name of the online meeting to watch the recording.


Conducting a survey

To conduct a survey among the participants during the online meeting, please write your questions on the bulletin board or add a slide with your question to your presentation. 

Word your questions such that the students can answer them in one of the following ways:

  • Yes/No
  • A/B
  • A/B/C/D
  • Right/wrong -A/B/C -A/B/C/D/E

Click on the plus symbol highlighted in blue and select “Start poll”. The window on the right opens. Now select what kind of answers are to be given to the students for your question. The survey starts immediately.

Conducting a survey

You can see the results when you select “Publish polling results”. The results are then visible to everybody.

Example: Question on the slide: Can you all hear me?

A: Yes, I can hear you. B: I cannot hear you.

Start the survey, select A/B answer options, the survey starts immediately, the students can select A or B.


Sharing your screen or application

Um Ihren Bildschirm oder eine Anwendung den Teilnehmenden zu zeigen, klicken Sie auf das Bildschirmsymbol. Nun erscheint ein Fenster, in dem Sie auswählen können, was Sie teilen möchten. Bestätigen Sie Ihre Auswahl durch  "Zulassen". Mit  "Freigabe beenden"  beenden Sie die Freigabe Ihres Bildschirms oder Ihrer Anwendung. 

Using a virtual pointer

To be able to use a virtual pointer in the presentation during your lecture, click on the hand on the right-hand edge of the presentation area. A bar will open with various tools that you can use during your presentation. To use a virtual pointer, select and remain on the hand function. 

You have to have uploaded a presentation beforehand if you wish to share it.

Virtueller Zeiger in BBB


Setting up breakout rooms for group work

To work on mutual results, it sometimes makes sense to divide students into groups, whose results are pooled at the end of a time frame. You can also reproduce this approach via BBB.

Behind “Users”, you will find a Settings symbol. Select “Create breakout rooms” there. Click on it and select the number of rooms needed and the respective length of time for working on the next screen. Setting up breakout rooms

Then select how the participants are to be divided among the rooms (the students select themselves; they are divided at random, or the lecturer assigns the students to the desired room via “drag and drop”. Then click on “Create”

The participants are now allocated. You can see the remaining work time on the upper screen. When the work time has lapsed, everybody is automatically back in the main room.

As the lecturer, you can switch over to the breakout rooms during work time. To do so, click on the desired rooms that you can find in the left-hand box above the participants.

Tip: Students cannot work together on PowerPoint files in the breakout rooms. They can, however, record the group discussion or work instructions via the “Common notes” box. On the left. They can “Copy” these notes and add them later to the “Mutual notes” in the main room to discuss them.


Using BBB with guests

Setting up guest access outside of the educational institute

If you would like to invite a guest lecturer or an external expert to a web conference, e.g. for interview or colloquiums or board work, please proceed as follows:

  1. Log in at .
  2. Go to “Create room” on the page and select the settings you require, e.g. Room access codes. .
  3. Now click on “Create room”. You will now return to the Overview page and can see the new room there, which you have just created.
  4. Copy the link at the top in the box “Invite participants” and send it to your participants.

Allowing guests in the scope of a Moodle course

If you would like to invite guests to a web conference in the scope of a Moodle course, you will first have to allow guest access to this course. Please proceed as follows: : 

  1. Put the corresponding course into ‘Edit mode’ (Turn editing on)..
  2. Then select ‘More’ in the same menu and, in the scope of course administration, change to the ‘Users’ tab and click on ‘Enrolment methods’.
  3. Click in the “Guest access” line on the crossed-out eye to allow guest access to your course.

Click on the “Wheel” next to the eye in the "Guest Access" line.
Allow users for guest access

You can now edit the settings. Please enter a guest code and confirm the selection.
Bildschirmfoto 2020-10-16 um 12.33.01 ©EUV - Moodle

Go back to the course, copy its link (in the browser) and pass it on to your guests. Guests can access the link and then log in with their code. This way, your guests have access to your course and can thus also use your web conference in BBB.


Avoiding interruptions

The success of your online event always depends on the quality of the online connection and the technical equipment used. Maybe one or the other tip from the list here will help you to avoid interruptions.

  • Use a headset (or at least headphones) to avoid sound issues and ask your participants to do the same
  • Mute your microphone when somebody else is speaking – this prevents feedback and additional ambient noise, and ask your participants to do the sameStop other intensive connections when you are working from home, e.g. connections to streaming portals (YouTube, Netflix, etc.) that are running in the background
  • Reduce the resolution of your webcam. This reduces the data traffic during an online conference
  • Even if Wi-Fi usually works well: Check whether you could maybe use an Internet connection via a LAN cable. LAN connections are usually more stable, especially if there are many other Wi-Fi connections nearby with which your Wi-Fi router has to share the frequencies
  • Abstain from mobile connections as far as possible
  • If not absolutely necessary: Abstain from the Viadrina VPN during an online conference
  • AS the lecturer, please do not select the option “Participants are waiting for the moderator” in the settings when you are creating the BBB activity in Moodle