Meet: Big Blue Button

This article covers:

  1. How to Meet Online Using Big Blue Button
  2. Student Interface Overview
  3. The Presentation Panel

How to Meet Online Using Big Blue Button

Big Blue Button is a tool that allows both staff members and students to meet in online sessions for discussions, lectures, or presentations.

Once you click the Meet button, you will see the Big Blue Button session page.

When the page opens, Big Blue Button will create a link to the meeting you have requested. Once the meeting link has been created, the link will be displayed. Click the link to enter the meeting.

Student Interface Overview

As a student, you can participate in online meetings several ways. You can chat to the entire audience or privately with one participant, raise your hand virtually to ask questions and use a webcam during the meeting. You can change the Presentation panel to view a different display of the presentation. Once you join the meeting as a student, you will see your name along with other meeting participants displayed in the Users panel. Your instructor will also be listed and will have the Presenter icon in the Status column next to his or her name.


The default language for the meeting is English. You may change the language by clicking on the drop-down menu and selecting your language of choice. Changing the language option will only change the language for Big Blue Button elements, not the content of the presentation. It will also only change the language settings for you, not for anyone else in the meeting.

The Shortcut Help button displays a floating panel of keyboard shortcuts that you can use in the meeting. To see this panel, click the Shortcut Help button.

Clicking the question mark icon will redirect your browser window to Big Blue Button help.

Clicking on the Log out button will log you out of the meeting.

Student meeting settings are displayed at the top of the meeting window. Here, you may choose to leave audio participation, share your webcam and in some cases, share your desktop.

NOTE: Screen sharing requires Java to be installed on your computer and also requires that the instructor has granted you Presenter rights for the meeting. Version 7u51 is the minimum required version to allow screen sharing for either students or presenters.

To join or leave Audio, click the Join/Leave Audio icon.

To share your webcam, click the Share/Stop Sharing My Webcam icon.

To share your desktop screen with the meeting, click Share My Desktop. This option will only be visible if your instructor has granted your Presenter rights within the meeting.

If you have been granted Presenter rights by your instructor, you will see the Presenter icon displayed next to your name in the Status column.

If you have not been granted Presenter rights, your view will be similar to the graphic below. From here, we can see that ‘Faculty Testing’ has the role of Presenter and that all three members in the meeting have muted their microphones.

The Raise Hand button allows you virtually raise your hand either to ask a question to the instructor or to request the presentation be paused briefly. To raise your hand in the meeting, click the Raise Hand button. To withdraw your request, click the button again to lower your own hand. The instructor may also lower your hand if he or she wishes to do so.


The Webcams panel displays the webcams of participants who have chosen to share their webcams with the meeting.

The Chat panel provides a means of synchronous communication between participants in the meeting. From this panel, you may send out a message to the entire meeting audience, or, a private message to just one participant. To send a message to everyone, click the Public tab, type your message into the text box and click Send.

To send a message to only one participant, click Options, then select the individual you wish to send the private message to.

Once you have selected the individual you wish to chat with, you will see their name appear in a separate tab.

Type your message into the text box and click Send. The message will appear in the tab of the participant you messaged. Each participant you send a private message to will appear in the Chat panel with his or her own tab.

To close a private chat, move your cursor to the upper right corner of the tab and click the red X next to the person’s name you wish to close.

Panels can be minimized during the meeting. To minimize a panel, click the Minimize indicator in the upper right corner of the panel.

Panels that have been minimized will appear at the bottom of the meeting window in the lower left corner.

To maximize a panel, simply click once on the panel’s tab to restore it to full size.

The Presentation window, by default, appears in the center of the meeting window.

To change the layout of how the Presentation panel is displayed, click the drop-down menu in the lower right corner.

Each layout will arrange the panels of the meeting window differently. You may change the layout as often as you wish throughout the meeting session. Below is an example of the Lecture Assistant layout.

You may also move panels by dragging the edges of a specific panel. If you modify the size of panels, the layout will change to *Custom layout until you select a standard layout from the drop-down menu.



The Presentation Panel

The Presentation panel is where you will view the presentation your instructor has prepared for the meeting. As the presenter moves his or her mouse cursor, you will see a red dot in the Presentationwindow that will move as the presenter moves the mouse. When you see the dot, the presenter is focusing attention to what is being displayed in the Presentation panel.

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  • Avatar
    Rita Ralph

    How do you listen to a session once it has been recorded?

  • Avatar
    Paul Meeker

    Hello Rita, if you click on "Apps" at the top when you are logged into the course and then "Meet", you should see a list of recordings open in a new tab.