Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):BigBlueButton(BBB) Meetings eTool

BigBlueButton(BBB) is an external plugin to iKamva (separate web conferencing tool that has been integrated into iKamva).

BigBlueButton(BBB) is a web conferencing tool that supports real-time sharing of audio, video, slides, chat, and screens. This eTool is integrated within the institutional Learning Management System, iKamva and has been named Meetings.

Lecturers need to select the eTool within their online modules in order to create synchronous/live lectures. BBB offers a variety of features that allows you to prepare for your lectures before engaging in an online meeting.

Below is a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Technical & Operational

FAQsAnswer/Feedback
Which browser best supports the BBB?●        Desktop/Laptop: Chrome (any Chromium Based browser) and Firefox●        Mobile iOS (12.2+): Safari Mobile●        Mobile Android (6.0+): Chrome Mobile
How do I access the Meeting/BigBlueButton from iKamva?This eTool should be selected/enabled in your module which would allow you to create the Meeting
Is BigBlueButton zero-rated?Yes, BBB is part of the list of URLs that are zero-rated for all UWC users. Students will not incur data costs. NB: The ICS department has advised users to login to OpenVPN (please refer to ICS email communication). Contact ServiceDesk regarding OpenVPN setup. OpenVPN allows students not to use their own data.
Why do I need to do an Echo (mic & earphones) test?To verify that your earphone and microphone is working (sound check). 
What are my minimum specifications for computers?Desktop/Laptop UsersThe following settings are recommended for all users connecting to BigBlueButton via desktop or laptop device:For computers, you need a laptop or desktop computer with (at least) 4G of memory and a 2+ Ghz processor (any computer bought in the last three years should be fine), or any Chromebook with 4G of memory and a 1.5+ Ghz processor.For bandwidth, you must have at least 1.0 Mbits/second upstream and 2 Mbits/second downstream.  To check bandwidth use, https://speedtest.net/.For audio, we strongly recommend using a headset.  A headset will ensure that others can hear your voice clearly and you don’t cause echo or background noise for others. A laptop with a built-in webcam and microphone will be sufficient as well, if you’re in a quiet area.
What are my minimum specifications for mobile devices?For data networks, we recommend 4G LTE for the best results or minimum 3G connection to use audio, view presentation content, and receive screen sharing. For device settings, we recommend reducing device usage while connecting to BigBlueButton; close applications that may run in the background and reduce browsing activities.
How does Load Shedding affect my BigBlueButton experience?Laptops will be operating on battery power and your online presence will be shortened. Often when there’s load shedding, the mobile network’s antennas provide limited or no internet connectivity. After a load shedding period, mobile networks will take some time to become available again. This will show that you don’t have any connectivity.
What happens when a student is ‘kicked out’ of a session? How do they re-enter?In order to re-enter a session, a student must select: ‘End’. Thereafter the student clicks on the ‘Join’ option.
Can I record my sessions?You are able to record the lecture. You need to select the ‘record’ option when you create the Meeting. The recorded session can be viewed in classes/groups.
Can my students view my pre-recorded lectures?Lecturers are able to pre-record a lecture within BBB. These pre-recorded lectures are made available to students.
When will my class/lecture recording become available?  Recordings are not available immediately, but become available after about 1- 24 hours of the session (this also depends on the length of the lecture). This depends on the type of content (including digital media components) which was recorded during the live sessions. This is because the system requires time to encode it in viewable form.
How long will this recorded lecture be visible within BigBlueButton?The recordings are available for as long as the module is published and available to students.
Is there a ‘time-limit’ for the lecture to be conducted?There is no ‘time-limit’ for the meeting/live lecture. However, be advised that the longer the meeting, the greater the delay before the recording can be processed for viewing.
What is the capacity of BigBlueButton?- How many students can join my class onlineWe advise that you do not exceed a capacity of 100 users (per session) within BBB (recommended limit/capacity by BBB developers). It should be noted that once you have a class larger than 100 users the quality of the presentation will be compromised. The BBB vendor recommends hosting sessions of 100 users (or less). This is not hard-coded, you can have 101, 102, etc. However, as more users join in the session, in general overall performance may be compromised, due to the extra server load and data usage.It should be noted that these capacity recommendations have been advised by the vendor/developers of BBB. iKamva is a seperate platform to BBB.
Can I share my screen using the BigBlueButton? Lecturers and Tutors are able to share their scree (video lectures, presentations) when they conduct live lectures.
Can I upload and present lecture presentations? Yes. Lecturers and Tutors can upload and present their lectures (Pdfs, PowerPoint slides) to display while conducting the live lecture using BBB/Meetings.
Can I use Microsoft Word Document in my presentations?Yes, you can. BigBlueButton converts Microsoft Office documents into PDF. For best results, save your Word or PowerPoint document as PDF. It is recommended to use PDF files for presentation.
Why does my presentation animation disappear?When the file is uploaded to BigBlueButton, it is converted to SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) and does not retain any animations. SVG is smaller and retains good visual quality, even when zooming into slides. It should be noted that GIF animations are also excluded.
Can students share their video in the BigBlueButton/Meeting? Students are able to share their web cameras while engaging in the live lecture. Lecturers are able to deselect this option.  Many cameras being shared at once will increase data use. (recommended that only the lecturer enables their webcam).
Why do I get an error/pop-up message when I set up my Meeting?When you create a meeting please do not select the ‘Notify participants‘ option. 
Should I include a closing date and time for my session?It is advised that lecturers do not select the option to close this session. This will allow users to access the recordings through the meeting tab instead of the recordings tab.
Can I download the recording?These recordings are available in your module within iKamva under the ‘recordings’ tab and can be viewed as many times as possible. It cannot be downloaded.
Why must students wait for the moderator?If the lecturer enables the “wait for moderator” option, students can only join the live lecture once the moderator/lecturer has joined the class. It is best to allow users to join the class while the class is in session.
Why should I create group sessions (different time slots for large classes)?Lecturers are able to create group sessions for large classes. The recorded session can be presented in the follow-up classes/groups; and students can engage in discussions.
Can I have continuous “permanent” sessions in BBB?The BigBlueButton service does not support continuous or permanent sessions.

Contact the CIECT team to assist with setting up your live lecture.

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