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BigBlueButton

    This module provides integration of BigBlueButton conferencing in eFront.

    You can access the BigBlueButton public demo server at http://demo.bigbluebutton.org/ if you would like to see it first-hand.

    Overview

    BigBlueButton (henceforth to be refered as "BBB") is a free web-conferencing tool with text chat, audio and video capabilites, a virtual whiteboard and many more presentation and conferencing features.

    The main functions of the module are to:

    • Provide scheduling of BBB conferences in eFront.
    • Automate the task of sending e-mail invitations to the desired participants.
    • Make the BBB log-in procedure easy and simple.
    • Assign each conference participant a role (presenter/viewer) according to his/her eFront role.

    BBB module interface

    The BBB module functionality available depends on the role of the current eFront user:

    Administrator

    An Administrator is responsible for setting up the server information of the BBB server. After the module is installed, this menu can be accessed from the module button in the Administrator's control panel.


    BBB_ServerConfiguration07.png

    The first field should contain the BBB server's address. This can be either an IP (e.g. http://192.168.1.10/) or a URL (e.g http://www.mybbbserver.com/)

    The second field should contain the security salt (encryption key) set up on the BBB server.

    The last field is a checkbox. Make sure it is ticked if you are using BBB server version 0.7 or later, or keep it empty if you are using an earlier version.
    (introduced in BBB module v1.1)

    Remember, no changes are saved unless you press the 'Submit' button.

    Professor

    BBB conferencing must first be activated by a professor for every lesson where it is appropriate, from its administration page.

    After the module is enabled, there will be a conference menu link in the options menu of the lesson and on the left-hand sidebar where it is available. Conferences can be created by pressing "Add conference" in this menu.


    BBB_ScheduleConference.png

    To create a conference, a name must be given for the conference as well as a starting date, time, and duration.

    After you press 'Submit', the conference has been scheduled.

    You are then forwarded to the student invitation screen, where all the students who are enrolled for this particular lesson are shown.

     

    There, you have the option to send automated e-mails to any of the students you would like to attend the conference.

    Tick the boxes to the right of the students you wish to invite, and press 'Send notification email to participants'.

    Every scheduled conference has three buttons available on the far right:

    • Edit: Change the time and/or duration of the conference, or perform more e-mail invitations.
    • Start: Start a conference. This option is not available until the scheduled time for the conference has come.
    • Delete: Deletes an scheduled conference.
    BBBConferencesList.png
    Note: A deleted conference is purged from the eFront database but the room is not closed before the participating professor leaves.

    Student

    Students may view the list of conferences either at the related lesson page or at their dashboard.

    Students may only join conferences where the professor has set them to participate and only after they have been initiated, by clicking on the “Join” link of the appropriate meeting in the list.

    BigBlueButton Server

    To use BBB, you need to have a server available to host your meetings. There are some hosted (paid) solutions out there, but setting up your own server is not difficult.

    Setting up the BBB server

    The BBB server runs in Linux, so you have to choose between installing it on a computer using Linux, or using a virtual machine.

    Virtual machine

    You can follow the instructions found at: http://code.google.com/p/bigbluebutton/wiki/BigBlueButtonVM

    Linux installation

    The instructions to install in Ubuntu can be found here: http://code.google.com/p/bigbluebutton/wiki/InstallationUbuntu

    And here are the instructions for CentOS: http://code.google.com/p/bigbluebutton/wiki/InstallingBigBlueButtonCentOS

    Security salt

    The security salt is an encryption key that helps secure the communication between the module and the BBB server.

    You can see your currently set salt in your BBB server, at:

    /var/lib/tomcat6/webapps/bigbluebutton/WEB-INF/classes/bigbluebutton.properties

    and for the demo:

    /var/lib/tomcat6/webapps/bigbluebutton/demo/bbb_api_conf.jsp

     

    Changing the security Salt

    The process to change the security salt is different depending on the BBB Server version you are using. Version 0.7 introduced change through the command line, which makes things a lot easier.

    BBB Server v0.6x

    Change the salt directly in these files:

    /var/lib/tomcat6/webapps/bigbluebutton/WEB-INF/classes/bigbluebutton.properties

    and for the demo:

    /var/lib/tomcat6/webapps/bigbluebutton/demo/bbb_api_conf.jsp
    BBB Server v0.7

    Simply run:

    sudo bbb-conf --salt new_salt
    Note: Whenever you change the security salt in the server remember to also change it in the appropriate eFront menu.

    Version 0.7 changes

    The latest version of BBB (v0.7), brought some changes to the way the checksum is calculated in the message.

    If you haven't already, please download and use BBB module v1.1. It implements a setting in the admin menu that switches between the old and new type of calculation to support both old and new versions fully.

    Troubleshooting

    The BigBlueButton module is a bit more complicated to install, operate and troubleshoot than the average module.

    BBB needs an accompanying (successful) installation of the BigBlueButton server to operate and the setup of the module itself is dependent on your specific server installation.

    Try these first

    • Try to visit the BBB server's URL/IP from a web browser. If you haven't modified the installation manually, you should see the BBB demo page.
      • If you cannot visit the demo page at all, make sure your installed security software is not blocking access. This is an issue with Virtual Machine installations and you might need to add an exception rule in your firewall to enable connectivity.
      • If you see a "welcome to nginx!" message instead, the supporting infrastructure of your server was installed but the BBB server itself is malfunctioning.
    BBB_welcomenginx.jpg

    To install it manually, type these on your server console:

    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get upgrade
    sudo apt-get install bigbluebutton
    • Long, random strings of alphanumeric characters have a tendency to get typed wrong. Make sure the security salt you have set in your administration menu of the module is the same with the one set in your BBB server, at:
    /var/lib/tomcat6/webapps/bigbluebutton/WEB-INF/classes/bigbluebutton.properties
    • Be sure to tick or untick the BBB server 0.7+ checkbox according to your installed server version. In general, if you downloaded the BBB server after June 2010, you are using version 0.7+.
    • Make sure you have set up the server URL/IP in the appropriate field.

    Still not working?

    If none of the above solve your problem, please visit and post on our forum at http://forum.efrontlearning.net to receive more specific help on your issue.

    Please help us help you: Be as specific as you can about what you have done so far, and the kind of unexpected behaviour you have noticed.
    Page last modified 10:27, 10 Feb 2011 by elpapath

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