Canvas Corner: April 2019 Edition

Canvas CornerEvery month in Canvas Corner, we discuss the new features and enhancements available in Canvas. This month, we focus on the huge redesign of the Canvas BigBlueButton Conference interface.

BigBlueButton Conferences Updated

The BigBlueButton Conferences interface has been redesigned using HTML 5 which proves a significant improvement in usability and performance. Participation in conferences remains unchanged as users will still be able to use computer microphone and webcam, communicate using public and private chat, share notes, and even annotate presentations using the multi-user whiteboard. As part of the improved experience, users can now choose between viewing the presentation area or only displaying webcams feeds.

Picture that shows the new HTML5 interface of canvas conferences

Shared Notes has been enhanced with additional functionality for formatting notes text. Notes can also be exported to an HTML, TXT, DOC, PDF, or ODC file. To reduce clutter, there is now a single Shared Notes window – the opening of additional notes windows is no longer available.

The Conferences interface supports a Settings menu which includes the new features for improved usability. Users can now enable icon animations that highlight conference participants who are speaking and audio and pop-up alerts for chat notifications. The Settings menu also includes options to disable both webcams and desktop sharing to improve bandwidth. While these data saving options are intended for use on mobile browsers, they can be enabled on any device supporting Canvas. The options to select a default language and font size are also available in the Settings but now include the ability to enable closed captioning in a conference. Unfortunately, closed captioning options are not currently supported in the HTML 5 client of the Conferences interface; however, it will be supported in a future release.

Picture that shows the new settings interface of canvas conferences

Need to use multiple files in a presentation? As a presenter, the ability to upload multiple files at the same time is possible. Presenters can event upload a YouTube video to a conference. When the video is playing, all users will see the same playback time and speed that is selected by the presenter with users having the option to enable their own captions. Regrettably, the shared YouTube videos will not appear in conference recordings. It is suggested to leave links to the YouTube videos in the conference notes.

Picture that shows how a youtube video is shared inside canvas conferences

Picture that shows how a youtube video is displayed inside canvas conferences


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Published by

Cassidy Porter