Abstract Technology and BigBlueButton
A partnership to meet the real-world needs of people in the education sector
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A VIRTUAL MEETING TOOL AND A VIRTUAL CLASSROOM SOFTWARE?
You are probably thinking about your experience in using different tools, in particular during the pandemic situation. Most of us were forced to switch from face-to-face meetings or workshops, and in-person lessons and training to the virtual environment. We started to try a lot of different software to manage this unexpected situation but nowadays working, learning, and collaborating with other people in a synchronous digital way has become routine.
Foto of Surface on Unsplash
At Abstract Technology, we are aware of the importance of an engaging and impactful digital experience for online learners. To support this learning path, we want to offer the best solution to apply the knowledge in a virtual classroom. This is possible through the integration of BigBlueButton in the Open edX® platform.
BigBlueButton (BBB) is an open-source virtual classroom designed specifically for online learning. BigBlueButton understands the goals of a teacher and a student in a virtual session and maximizes time for applied learning and feedback, thereby enabling the most effective learning outcomes. It doesn’t need a dedicated app installation and by sharing the screen in real-time, learners can participate and collaborate using different tools like whiteboards and shared notes. It facilitates remote learning and enables a pedagogic-centric approach.
Image of the whiteboard in BigBlueButton
The Engagement features in BigBlueButton, like the Multi-User Whiteboard, Smart Slides, Breakout Rooms and Polling allows the students to promptly apply what they learn in a classroom, thereby helping them effectively internalize the concepts being taught by the teacher.
BigBlueButton also provides live analytics during the session through its Learning Analytics Dashboard, which gives instructors clarity on the students' learning journey and helps them identify which students might need further help and guidance. The Dashboard captures all the engagement data during the session in real-time, including polling questions & answers, which enables the teacher to understand whether students are learning the content or not, and provide timely feedback to students to improve and excel.
Image of the analytics of BigBlueButton
The latest release - Big Blue Button 2.6 - includes many new features, such as:
- A whole new modern Whiteboard, based on TLDraw, here's a quick video showing the new whiteboard and how it will enhance the educators' ability to engage students to improve learning outcomes
- Ability to bring data/work from the Breakout Rooms back to the main session
- Live Automatic Closed Captions
- Ability to share presentations over the Chat to all users
Image of the analytics of BigBlueButton
All these useful and interactive implementations make BBB something different from a traditional video conferencing tool. On the other hand, from a technical perspective, it integrates seamlessly with major learning management systems such as Open edX® platform. This possibility is a reality now, through the Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) standard, which is used in two ways: as an LTI consumer in courses to enrich the learner experience by embedding learning contents/tools from external sources, and as an LTI provider to allow other LMS’s to embed Open edX® course content.
WHY DID WE DECIDE TO JOIN THE AFFILIATE PARTNER PROGRAM?
Abstract Technology believes in open-source technologies having strong expertise in the setup and customizing of different ‘free systems’. BBB has a world-wide community of open-source developers, good tutorial videos, and in-depth documentation. We share the same vision and we are both committed to developing a virtual classroom environment not to meet, but to learn. Therefore, through this affiliate partner program, both Abstract Technology and BBB will have opportunities to reach out to more customers who are in their time of need to provide relevant online learning solutions.