Virtual classrooms (BigBlueButton)

BigBlueButton is an OpenSource software and is licensed under the LGPL.

Virtual classrooms using BigBlueButton have a rich feature set, such as

  • Two roles: Moderators and participants
  • Desktop sharing and presentation of files (e.g. Microsoft Office documents, Open Office documents, PDF documents)
  • Active markers/notes directly in the document (e.g. pointer, zoom function and marker function)
  • Chat with everyone and private chats
  • Report function for participants
  • Active muting of all participants
  • Recording

Access to the application is via your event in Stud.IP with the "Meetings" module activated.

To relieve you in the current crisis we also offer two additional servers. For access to these servers, please contact the IT department of FIW (among others Mr. Eigenstetter).


Preparation

Personal preparation

Clothing
Just like lectures and seminars, online events should also be seen as a professional setting. Therefore, you should also wear a shirt or blouse and, if necessary, a jacket.

Gestures and language
Since the event is "live", you should pay attention to calm gestures and emphasized language. This also has the advantage that recordings can be better understood. It is especially helpful for beginners to talk through the slides in advance.

Create a rough storyboard
To help you plan your online event, it is helpful to make a storyboard. Most of the time, interaction is lost when combining a lecture/question-and-answer session. The storyboard allows you to clarify thematic connections, plan interactions in a targeted manner (including comprehension questions, checking conceptual knowledge) and integrate productive group work.

Technical requirements

Sound
A good tone is essential for a good online event. Therefore, check your microphone in advance and pay particular attention to the distance to your mouth (volume) and background noise. Since most built-in microphones are of rather poor quality or do not have an optimal distance to the speaker, we recommend the use of a headset or a table microphone. If the sound is too soft or not audible at all, check in the system settings of your operating system whether the correct microphone is selected by default. In a second step we also recommend using the "Audio Setup Wizard" of Adobe Connect.

Camera
In addition to good sound, a good picture is also conducive to creating a positive overall impression. You should make sure that your camera has the ability to record in 720p (HD) and at least 30 frames per second. This ensures that the picture arrives cleanly and smoothly at the participants. You should also pay attention to the quality of the picture, especially with built-in cameras. If artefacts such as picture noise, poor focus or too bright or too dark pictures occur, you can try to improve the picture by using better light. If the image does not improve significantly, we recommend buying separate webcams (e.g. from Microsoft or Logitech) that can provide a better image.

Light
If you are also using the video function, make sure you have good lighting, preferably from the front (a combination of ceiling and lamp light if possible). This will reduce the noise of your camera and students will see you better. Also make sure that there is no light source behind you. It is also recommended that you choose a low-distraction background.

Desktop
Clean up the desktop of your computer if you plan to share your screen. If students can see it, it will leave a professional impression.

Technology Check
Do a technical check before the event. Check that the microphone, the camera and the desired functions work correctly. A second person (e.g. the tutor) can be helpful.

Bandwidth
If you have a bad bandwidth, you can reduce the bandwidth under "Meetings/Preferences/Bandwidth". This is also useful if participants with a bad connection are connected.


Didactic hints

Planned interactions

Interactions can be used to increase the activity of the participants, to make their concept knowledge visible or to work productively on current content issues.

Various formats can be realised by means of the BigBlueButton. Voting is suitable, for example, for conducting anonymous votes. This is particularly useful if you want to check the understanding of a certain content and intervene if necessary.

Reflection and pause activation

Include elements of reflection in your online event to give participants time to organize their new knowledge. For example, by means of a short coffee break in which the participants are asked to reflect on issues by transferring them to the private household (as a current setting).

Another possibility could be a so-called One Minute Paper, in which the participants are asked to write down what they have understood within a fixed time window. In this way they can reflect on what they have heard and the teachers can identify any misconceptions.

Literature
  • Ebner, Martin und Schön, Sandra (Hrsg.) (2011): Lehrbuch für Lernen und Lehren mit Technologien. Berlin: Epubli.
  • Musekamp, Claudia und Staemmler, Daniel (2010): Webinare für Einsteiger: Online-Seminare lebendig gestalten. 1. Aufl. Hamburg: Infoport.
  • Salmon, Gilly (2004): E-tivities - der Schlüssel zu aktivem Online-Lernen. Zürich: Orell Füssli.

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