Todays review Module is the Easy Integration with BigBlueButton.
I had a look at this activity when co-authoring the book Moodle 2.0 for Business for PacktPub with Jason Cole and Jeanne Cole, so I had looked at it before. However, having seen the presentations at the recent imoot and Canadian Moodlemoot I decided to check it out for a review. It is created and maintained by Fred Dixon.
What does it do?
The activity provides an easy way for the teacher to create and manage a room on the BigBlueButton server, and for the student to log into the correct room.
For those who dont know, BigBlueButton is an open source web conferencing system used for distance education. It is relatively new the scene however has a good core set of features already including:
- strong whiteboard features
- desktop sharing
- public and private chat
- support for presenting with MS Office formats using open office
Although it has not got recording yet, that is on the roadmap so it is definately worth a look.
Is it simple to install?
This module isnt hosted in contrib but the source is in GitHub, however the company Blindside Networks hosts the download zip files and the documentation. This is a nice compromise with using GitHub and controlling the folder names as the folder names are not dynamically generated on the fly through the zip feature on GitHub, but manually renamed already for the user to simplify the process.
The zip holds one folder mod/bigbluebutton which contains the files for the activity so you can just upload this folder into your mod folder in Moodle.
When upgrading through the notifications page, it installed successfully.
One thing I really liked about this activity is that it ships with some default settings to test with BigBlueButton server provided by the company. This is a neat touch, and deserves a cookie!
The new global settings were just the URL for the BBB server and the security salt to authenticate.
Is there documentation for it?
The activity has some instructions on the plugin database entry, and a comprehensive README in the zip file. It also has a detailed integration page and step by step instructions on their website. There is also a video providing an overview on the module. This is plenty of good information but it would be nice to see a Moodle Docs page for the activity, even if it linked off to these other pages.
Is it easy for the teacher/admin to use?
There is not a lot in setting this activity up. You add activity from the dropdown on the course page and the select the name and choose if the students must wait for the moderator or not, and thats basically that.
After that, it just works, and launches into the service.
Is it easy for the learner/student to use?
The students have a smooth easy experience with this activity. It either keeps them waiting until a moderator joins, or allows them in immediately.
Does it do what it promises?
Yes, this module does what it says on the tin. This is a straight forward integration with no frills and no complications. For people who are looking for the open source solution for virtual classrooms, this is a nice easy activity to enable this feature in Moodle 2.0.
Stars: 3 out of 5 stars for this block.
These reviews check out the plugin for usability not for security. If you are considering installing any module on your site you should also check that is secure and does not impact the server performance.