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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | Computer and Media Service | ZKI workshop "On the further development of BigBlueButton" on February 26, 2021

ZKI workshop "On the further development of BigBlueButton" on February 26, 2021

The working group "Strategy and Organization" of ZKI e.V. organized a workshop on the topic "Further Development of BigBlueButton"

The working group "Strategy and Organization" of ZKI e.V. in Germany organized a two-hour workshop on February 26 on the topic "Further Development of BigBlueButton" with five presentations and about 90 participants. On the one hand, the workshop addressed the growing use of the open source web conferencing system BigBlueButton (short, BBB) at schools and universities in German-speaking countries, and on the other hand, upcoming and planned enhancements of the software were presented. The background of the event was also a joint approach of German academic IT centers in to further develop the open software BBB in a coordinated manner for the requirements in higher education, after a survey has queried the need  . A first ZKI workshop had already taken place in December to exchange ideas about prerequisites and proposed solutions for the expansion and use of BBB as a privacy-compliant service for digital teaching at universities. Since then, a service agreement has been designed with the Canadian company BlindSide Networks to create capacities for the further development of BBB according to the requirements at German universities. (BlindSide Networks originally developed BigBlueButton and continues to organize releases of updates and new versions of the software).

From the responsible ZKI working group, Malte Dreyer (HU Berlin) summarized these activities on BBB since December and informed about the status of the service agreement, in which at least ten academic institutions from Germany are participating so far. Lars Kiesow from ELAN e.V. for media-based teaching at universities in Lower Saxony reported on the immense development of the BBB community since the beginning of the pandemic, when academic IT centers had to set up and/or greatly expand video conferencing systems as quickly as possible and BBB quickly became an attractive and independently deployable open source solution. Moreover, Christoph Martin from Gutenberg University Mainz explained the use of BBB at all schools and universities in Rhineland-Palatinate, which was also enabled under high time pressure since April 2020 and massively scaled up over the past year to the regular use of BBB for digital school teaching from December 2020. Christoph Martin also pointed out the strongly differing requirements for the conferencing system in the school and university context (recording option, event size, etc.).

Fred Dixon (BlindSide Networks, Canada) then provided an overview of the consistent shaping of BBB as open, community-driven software since its first release twelve years ago, and discussed the changes and enhancements to the BBB software towards the upcoming version 2.3. Finally, Ghazi Triki (RIADVICE, Tunisia) presented the planned open source webinar platform SpoutBreeze, which should also enable online teaching events for BBB with significantly more than 300 participants as webinars.

The presentation slides for the workshop can be found at:
Against the background of the growing commitment  of numerous universities in German-speaking countries to the use and consolidation of the BBB conference system, including in their own service portfolio for digital teaching, the ZKI working group "Strategy and Organization" is planning a continuation of the workshop series on BigBlueButton.