Bongo is a virtual classroom tool integrated within Brightspace. It was previously known as YouSeeU and, like other virtual classroom tools can be used for online presentations, collaboration and screen sharing. In addition, Bongo is the software that powers Brightspace's video assignment function.
Over the next few pages, we'll look at how to schedule meetings and how the interface works.
Official guidance - Although accurate and contextualised for UHI, the guidance provided in this resource just scrapes the surface when compared with the official guidance available from Bongo. So, please visit and bookmark the Bongo Virtual Classroom guidance page (which contains a troubleshooting section).
From Bongo: "Virtual Classroom does not currently support the user joining audio through the browser with either iPadOS 13.4 or iOS 13.4." We appreciate that during lockdown iPads and other iOS devices may be the only devices available to certain users. However, due to current audio issues, we would suggest that you should advise students, if at all possible, to use either PC or Android devices for Bongo.
Read full troubleshooting update on device compatibility.
There are two ways to schedule a meeting: either via the navbar or the Table of Contents. The content below covers how to schedule meetings using both these methods.
The first step in using the navbart is to use the Communication and Collaboration dropdown menu to select Virtual Classroom (shown opposite)
Clicking on Communication and Collaboration > Virtual Classroom takes you to the Meetings screen, where you will see [if you already have set any up] active meetings, and recorded meetings.
Use the plus symbol (+) at the bottom right of the screen to schedule a new meeting.
Another way of setting up a meeting is to use the ‘Existing Activities’ menu within the Table of Contents.
To do this, first navigate to the appropriate area of your Table of Contents (e.g. Week 1; Bongo meetings, etc.). Next, click on Existing Activities, then Virtual Classroom.
Next, use the popup to either add an existing meeting (simply click on the blue meeting title, shown below); or click Schedule meeting.
After clicking Schedule meeting complete the form as appropriate, then scroll to the bottom and click Save.
Finally, from the Class Meetings screen, click on the title of the meeting you just created. This will add it to your Table of Contents (and automatically to the Course Schedule)
Scheduling one to one (or small group) meetings
Although, the default settings in Bongo anticipate a large group meeting (the checkbox 'Invite entire class' is ticked by default), it is easy to tweak those settings and set up one to one (or small group) meetings. To do this follow the steps below.
Inviting external participants
Although Bongo makes it easy to invite all of those enrolled on a single unit or module to a meeting ('Invite entire class'), you are not restricted to inviting only those enrolled in your unit or module. There are is an easy way to invite people not enrolled in your unit/module, or those external to the institution. See the steps below:
From the Communication and Collaboration dropdown menu in the navbar select Virtual Classroom (shown opposite)
This takes you to the Meetings screen,.
Use the plus symbol (+) at the bottom right of the screen to schedule a new meeting.
You will now see a ‘Schedule meeting’ popup in the middle of your screen. From this screen give your meeting a title, date and time. And from the options at the bottom, make sure you tick the box marked 'Allow external participants'.
Then click Save.
You will be returned to the Virtual Classroom ‘Meetings’ screen. You now have to copy a link in order to share the meeting with those not enrolled on your unit/module. To do this, click on the three vertical dots to the right of the meeting title (Actions menu) and select Copy External Link (shown opposite).
You can advise them that when the time comes for them to join the call, they should click on the link and follow the prompts (to check their audio and video).
As long as you (the moderator) have already joined the call, they will be able to join you in your meeting.
Staff user experience (Moderator)
On entering a meeting the first thing that all participants are asked is ‘How would you like to join the audio?’ Microphone or Listen Only.
If participation is likely select Microphone (your browser might ask you if you'll give Bongo permission to access your microphone, accept this). You will then be asked to say a few words. If you could hear yourself, click Yes. If you did not hear yourself, click No, then Audio Settings where you can choose a different audio input.
Note: if you choose Listen Only and then want to change your mind during the meeting, you can do so.
You are now in the meeting room. If you wish to add video to your call, click on the Video menu button at the foot of the screen and agree to Share webcam.
Like many virtual classroom tools, as a Moderator in Bongo you can:
- upload a presentation,
- annotate the screen,
- share your screen,
- poll the audience and much more via intuitive icons placed around the perimeter of the screen.
See the headings below for further examples of what Bongo can do.
From the circular icons at the bottom middle of the interface, you can open or mute your microphone and share a live vie of yourself via a webcam.
In addition to these functions, you can share your screen (see picture opposite).
This powerful feature of Bongo allows you to share either your entire screen, any open applications (e.g. Word or PowerPoint) and, if you are using Chrome, any tab you have open in your web browser.
Clicking on the Tools menu (far right, middle of interface, picture opposite) will bring up a set of annotation tools which you can use to annotate a blank screen or any item (e.g. Word doc, PDF, image file) that you upload as a presentation.
With the annotation tools you can add text boxes, draw freehand, lines, shapes etc.
You can select colour and thickness of annotations.
In the top left of the interface there are two icons: a person (User list) and a speech bubble (Chat - see picture opposite).
Clicking on the User list icon will show a full list of who is in the meeting. Clicking on your own name allows you to set your status (Hhappy, sad, hand raised, etc.). Clicking on any other user allows you to start a private chat with them; it also allows the moderator to change the user's role (make presenter or moderator, or remove them entirely).
Clicking on the Chat icon allows any user to add to a public chat and share files.
Although accurate and contextualised for UHI the guidance provided here just scrapes the surface when compared with the official guidance available from Bongo.
So, please visit and bookmark the Bongo Virtual Classroom guidance page.The page opposite covers everything from the basics of setting up a meeting, to recording, and troubleshooting.
Below you will find details of how to record and save Bongo sessions.
When you join a Bongo meeting as an Instructor you will see, at the top of the screen the phrase 'Not recording'
To begin recording, simply click on Not recording
After clicking Not recording, you will see the message at the top of the screen has changed to Recording
To end a recording, click on Recording. This will bring up a popup message. If you are sure you want to stop recording, select STOP RECORDING
There are two ways that staff and students can access recordings in Bongo. Firstly, via the Navbar. To do this, go to Communication and Collaboration > Virtual Classroom. At the bottom of the screen you will see a list of any available recordings.
To access a recording, click on the Actions menu at the right side of the screen. From there you can either preview, copy a public url (which you can share with the students as an announcement, a content item or in an email) or download.
Alternatively, simply returning to the link in the Table of Contents after the session has ended and clicking on the link will launch the recording (shown opposite).
The recording will include any screen sharing, uploaded files and chat messages.
There are [at least] four different ways that you can give your students access to Bongo meetings. See the accordions below.
All meetings (immediate or scheduled) are automatically added to the Course Schedule. To access Bongo in this way, students should navigate to the Course Schedule on the left side of the unit/module page
From there, students can select the appropriate meeting and click on the link to access the Bongo interface
Alternatively, students can reach meeting links via the navbar: Communication and Collaboration > Virtual Classroom > Select appropriate meeting > Launch
Clicking on Virtual Classroom opens the Meetings screen. To join a meeting, students should click on the Actions menu (circled)
From the Actions menu, select Launch
If you created a meeting using the Existing Activities menu when in the Table of Contents, students accessing the particular area of the Table of Contents will see a link they can click on
Clicking on the meeting link will take them to a Meeting Lobby Page. This page features a variety of guidance. When ready, they should click on Enter Meeting Room
There is one final way you can give students access to a scheduled Bongo meeting. In the html editor (e.g. as part of the Create a File screen) you can use the Insert Quicklink option and then select Virtual Classroom from that list. This way you can make a link to a meeting part of a larger item.
From the popup, scroll down to Virtual Classroom; then select the meeting you want by clicking on its title
This is what students would see in this case