Canvas Conferences (BigBlueButton) Interface Redesign - Canvas Skip to main content

Canvas Conferences (BigBlueButton) Interface Redesign


The BigBlueButton Conferences interface will be upgraded on May 20, 2019.  This upgrade features a redesign using HTML5 for improved usability.  Users may view training videos or test out the new interface using the public HTML5 test server. This feature update was posted in the Canvas Release Notes.

The new Conferences interface is not supported on Internet Explorer or Edge browsers. For best results, BigBlueButton recommends using Firefox or Chrome on desktop and Safari or Chrome on mobile devices. This change makes the Conferences interface faster and easier to use and removes the requirement for extensions or plugins.

Affected User Roles & Behaviors

All Users

The new BigBlueButton Conferences interface provides improved usability and performance for all users. Users can still participate in a conference using their computer microphone and webcam, communicate using public and private chat, share notes, and annotate presentations using the multi-user whiteboard. Users can select between viewing the presentation area or displaying webcams only.

Shared Notes includes additional functionality for formatting notes text. Users can also export their notes to an HTML, TXT, DOC, PDF, or ODC file. There is now a single Shared Notes window; opening additional notes windows is no longer supported.

The Conferences interface supports a Settings menu that includes new features for improved usability. Users can now enable icon animations that highlight conference participants who are speaking and audio and popup alerts for chat notifications. The Settings menu also includes options to disable webcams and desktop sharing to improve bandwidth. These data saving options are intended for use on mobile browsers but can be enabled on any device. Additionally the Settings menu includes previously-available options to select a default language and fault size.

The Settings menu also includes an option to enable closed captioning in a conference. Closed captioning options are not currently supported in the HTML5 client of the Conferences interface. These features will be supported in a future release.


Presenters can 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. However, users can enable their own captions. Shared YouTube videos will not appear in conference recordings.

When uploading a presentation file, presenters can upload multiple files at the same time.

Screen sharing is only supported through WebRTC. Previously, presenters could select to use WebRTC or Java for screen sharing. Screen sharing is only supported in Chrome and Firefox browsers on desktop.

Users may experience errors if the screen that is shared includes the Conferences interface. To correct these errors, simply share another window or application that does not display the Conferences interface.

Poll results are now only viewable to presenters after results have been published. Previously, poll results would display to presenters in real time.