This how-to is an introduction to heiCONF/heiCONF-Audimax. You will learn all the basic functions listed below:
- General information
- Rooms: creating and configuring rooms, adding and removing room users, inviting external participants, allowing external participants to start/moderate a conference
- Conferences: starting/participating in a conference, participating via phone, echo test, ending a conference, moderating a conference, enabling/disabling the microphone, enabling/disabling the webcam, chat, screen sharing, sharing a presentation, displaying/hiding a presentation, using the whiteboard, creating and configuring breakout rooms, playing a heiCAST Video in heiCONF
- Using heiCONF in Moodle
What is heiCONF?
heiCONF is a web conferencing system based on BigBlueButton, which enables users to hold audio and video conferences. The service is hosted and operated by Heidelberg University, so all data remains in the University's server rooms.
You can find further information on heiCONF/heiCONF-Audimax in our Service Catalogue.
The heiCONF variant heiCONF-Audimax is optimized for lectures. The basic functions remain the same and can be found in this how-to. Any differences between the two are mentioned in this text.
Note: Currently, this documentation is being extended and improved on a regular basis. If your questions aren't addressed here, you have suggestions for improvement or you spot a mistake, please contact the IT Service.
1. Go to the heiCONF website.
2. On the heiCONF homepage, click on the “Sign in via Uni ID” button in the top right corner.
Should you be unable to log in, please check in the Service Catalogue whether or not you have access to heiCONF. If you have access rights and still cannot log in, please contact the IT Service.
3. Now enter your Uni ID and password into the upper and lower text boxes, respectively. Confirm either by pressing enter or on the “Sign in via Uni ID” button beneath the text boxes.
Creating and configuring rooms
heiCONF communication takes place in virtual conference rooms. For each user, the application creates a “Home Room” that is immediately ready for use and cannot be deleted. Upon logging in, you can create and configure more rooms.
1. To create a new room, click the “Create a Room” block on your list of rooms.
2. Now, you can name your room (in the text box "Enter a room name...") and configure different settings to customize the room:
- Generate an optional room access code: Generates an access code that users must enter before they can join the room. An access code can be generated by clicking the dice icon on the left and removed by clicking the garbage icon on the right.
- Generate an optional moderator access code: Generates an access code that, when entered, automatically makes the user a moderator and starts the conference. Useful for allowing external users to start and moderate the conference themselves.
- Mute users when they join: All users are muted as soon as they join the room. Especially useful for larger conferences.
- Require moderator approval before joining: When new users try to join, the moderator is prompted to approve their entrance.
- All users join as moderators: All participants are granted moderator privileges for the room.
- Automatically join the room: As soon as the room is created, you join the room.
Adding and removing room users
1. Having created a room, you can add users. To do so, click the three dots to the right of the room name in the Room List. In the drop-down menu, click on “Manage Access”.
2. In the pop-up window that appears, click on the arrow icon next to "Select User".
3. You can now search for users using the search bar.
4. Click on a person's name to add them to the user list. This process can be repeated several times until all desired users have been added.
In order to remove a user, click on the red “x” icon next to their name.
5. Before closing the window, click on the “Save Changes” button to ensure the users are added or removed accordingly.
Inviting external participants
The internal heiCONF user search function only allows you to find people whose Uni ID has heiCONF access. However, it is still possible to include external participants, such as students, in conferences:
1. In the Room List, click on the room to which you want to invite external participants.
2. Copy the link in the text box below “Invite Participants” (either manually or by clicking the “Copy” button).
3. Send the link to the people you wish to invite. They can join the room using the link as soon as the conference has started without logging in.
Important note: Since anyone can access the conference via this link, it is advisable to set an access code or approve the entry of new users as a moderator (see point Creating and configuring rooms).
Tip: Access codes can be integrated into the conference room link!
To make user access easier, you can add the room access code to the link. This tip also works with the moderator access code. Copy the link as described above and add the following parameter in your browser:
?meeting_access_code=12345678. Replace „12345678“ with the room access code.
Allowing external participants to start/moderate a conference
External participants without an authorized Uni ID can also be made conference moderators and start meetings themselves.
1. For this, a user with an authorized Uni ID must generate an optional moderator access code for the intended room (see "Creating and configuring rooms").
2. Share the conference link and the generated moderator access code with the external participant. All basic participants will only receive the link and the room access code.
3. Upon opening the conference link, the external moderating participant can verify themselves using the moderator access code.
4. Then, all they have to do is enter their name and click "Join". This starts the conference, and the external participant can act as moderator.
Important note: Only those actually intended to start, moderate and end the conference should receive the moderator access code. All other participants should only receive the regular room access code.
Starting/participating in conferences
When the virtual room is ready and all participants have been invited and notified, you can start the conference.
1. In the Room List on the homepage, select the room in which the conference is to be held.
2. Click on the red button labeled “Start” (if you own the room) or “Join” (if you are participating).
3. You will now be asked if you want to participate using your microphone or listen only. Important note: This setting can only be changed by re-entering the conference.
Important note: If you select "Microphone", your browser may ask for microphone access, which you must allow for the microphone to work. If you accidentally denied microphone access to heiCONF, re-enter the room and allow access.
The microphone and webcam permissions for websites and web applications can be edited in your browser settings.
It is also possible to participate in a conference in heiCONF & heiCONF-Audimax by telephone. The telephone function is configured as a dial-in option, i.e. it is not possible to receive a call. The dial-in works as follows:
1. The room owner must explicitly enable the feature for the room in the Room Settings before the room is started.
2. Upon activation, a 12-digit PIN is assigned to enable access to the room.
3. In addition to the PIN, you need the system phone number:
heiCONF: +49 6221 431 0 410
heiCONF-Audimax: +49 6221 431 0 430
4. Now a participant can dial the appropriate number given above and enter the assigned PIN when prompted. Then the participant should be in the conference room.
Note: PIN and phone numbers can be shared in advance. For the conference call to work, the room must have been started by a moderator and at least one person must have logged into the room from a browser with their microphone activated.
The phone numbers and PIN will also be available on the web shortly before a user joins the conference. If telephone dial-in has been activated for a room, “Join using your phone” also appears below “Microphone” and "Listen only". If you click the latter, the phone numbers and PIN will be displayed.
The dial-in information can also be viewed by clicking on the three dots to the right of the room and selecting "Dial-in information".
A dialog box will appear with an overview of all the information for dialing-in by phone. If you click the “Copy” button at the bottom, then you can include this information in the conference invitation.
At the very end, you can find the dialing options especially for smartphones. Thanks to an old standard, you can enter the phone number and PIN at the start, so the smartphone dials everything at once. If you want to use this dial-in option, then enter the phone number and PIN as follows:
Phone number,,PIN (A comma can be inserted by holding the * key).
It is also possible to create a link that starts the dial-in directly without the need for a lot of typing:
tel: Phone number,, PIN
If you click on the link, the smartphone dials the phone number automatically, waits for the call to be answered and for someone to speak, and then transmits the PIN again automatically.
1. If you end your audio connection (click on the phone icon and select "Leave audio") and then rejoin the audio, you will be taken to an echo test. This test is needed to make sure that your microphone is working properly.
2. The test will start as soon as you see the “Yes” and “No” selections. During the test, you should be able to hear yourself. If this is not the case, it may be because the right microphone has not been selected. To change the microphone selection, please click on the “No” button. If you can hear yourself, click "Yes".
3. If you selected "No", microphone settings will appear. You can now select a microphone from the drop-down menu on the left or change the audio output device from the drop-down menu on the right. If you click on the “ Retry” button, you will be reconnected to the echo test and should now be able to hear yourself. If that is the case, please click on the “Yes” button.
Ending a conference
1. There are three dots in the top right corner of the conference room. Clicking on it will reveal a drop-down menu which has the option to end the meeting, in addition to other options.
Moderating a conference
As a moderator, you have the ability to grant different permissions and control the course of the conference.
In heiCONF Audimax this is even more important, since only the moderator has access to the camera functionality. Participants are automatically muted at the start. The moderator can grant them permissions individually.
1. To grant permissions, click on the name of the user in the list of users to the left. This opens a new drop-down menu.
2. In this drop-down menu, you can make the selected user a presenter or change them back a to listener. You can also mute users or remove them from the conference.
3. You can manage the user settings by clicking the gear icon at the top of the user list (on the left). You can mute all users, restrict users from specific features or create “breakout rooms” (smaller rooms that split off and run parallel to the main conference).
Enabling/disabling the microphone
1. In the main menu (in the bottom center of the conference view) you can turn your microphone on and off using the button with the microphone icon on the left.
Important note: If you joined the conference as a listener only, activating the microphone is only possible after leaving and re-entering the conference room. Please select microphone participation after rejoining.
Enabling/disabling the webcam
1. In the menu in the bottom center of the conference view, you can turn your webcam on or off using the second button from the right.
Important note: If you enable your webcam, your browser may ask for webcam access, which you should allow. If you accidentally denied heiCONF webcam access, re-enter the room and allow access.
The microphone and webcam permissions for websites and web applications can be edited in your browser settings.
1. Every conference includes a public chat, located to the right of the user list. If the chat is not visible, click on “Public Chat” at the top of the user list to the left. Should the user list be hidden, you can reveal it by clicking the person icon in the top left corner.
The chat is especially helpful for remotely assisting with audio problems or for users who cannot use their microphones at the time. It also allows you to share links quickly.
1. In the main menu at the bottom center of the conference view, you can share your screen using the button on the right.
2. It opens a menu in which you can select which content is to be transmitted. You can transmit the entire screen, individual windows or even individual browser tabs.
3. If you want to stop sharing your screen, you can do so by clicking the “Stop sharing” button in the pop-up notification, or if it doesn't appear, you can use the initial screen sharing button on the right in the menu at the bottom of the screen.
Sharing a presentation
1. Click on the plus button in the bottom left corner of the conference view. There, select "Upload a presentation".
2. In the pop-up window that appears, you can drag and drop the presentation to upload it or click on “or browse for files”.
3. By clicking the “Upload” button in the top right-hand corner, you can upload your presentation to the conference. This may take a moment. After uploading, the presentation will open immediately, and you can begin presenting.
Please note for presentations with animations: heiCONF converts PowerPoint presentations into PDF files during upload. Existing animations (e.g. for fading in content or for slide transitions) will be removed. All slide content will be immediately visible. If you need animations, we recommended using screen sharing instead, showing your slides in the presentation software.
Displaying/hiding a presentation
1. You can hide the presentation from your own view by clicking the blue button with the minus sign in the top right of the presentation view. This can be helpful when you don't need to see the presentation and want to focus better on the other participant's video feeds.
2. If you have hidden the presentation, you can reveal it again by clicking the blue button “Restore Presentation” in the bottom right.
Using the whiteboard
The whiteboard offers the moderator as well as all participants of the conference a surface for writing and drawing. At the beginning of the conference, it is activated for the moderator only.
In multi-user mode, all participants can use the whiteboard and make annotations. This mode can be activated and deactivated as needed. In multi-user mode, when a participant moves their mouse over the whiteboard, the name of the participant appears next to the cursor. This allows you to see who is using the whiteboard.
You can choose between different tools to add text to a presentation, draw circles or mark it up with a pen. You can also change the color and thickness of lines and text. To do so, select the desired tool/thickness/color in the menu on the right side of the presentation.
Hand icon: Pan, Pencil, Text, Shapes
Arrow icon: Undo annotation
Trash icon: Clear all annotations
Graph icon: Turn multi-user mode on/off
Creating and configuring breakout rooms
Within a heiCONF session, breakout rooms facilitate collaboration and exchange in small groups. Therefore, breakout rooms can be created as needed. Breakout rooms are full heiCONF sessions where each participant has moderator privileges. After a specified time, the participants will be brought back to the main room of the heiCONF session.
Moderators can create breakout rooms, assign participants to different rooms, monitor their interactions and close the breakout rooms at any time.
1. During a heiCONF session, the moderator can create breakout rooms by clicking on the gear icon in the left menu bar and then selecting "Create breakout rooms".
2. You will then be shown a configuration window, where you can specify the number and duration of the breakout rooms. You can assign the participants to a specific room, or they can be assigned randomly. You can also allow the participants to choose their own breakout room.
3. After clicking the “Create” button, all participants assigned to a room will be asked if they want to join the room. The breakout room will then pop up in a new browser window for them.
Important note: All participants also remain in the main conference room and can continue to use the shared chat, but their audio is automatically excluded.
4. As a moderator, you can join any breakout room (or only listen in on their audio). You can also close the breakout rooms at any time.
5. The breakout rooms have a countdown timer in a bar at the top that displays the remaining time to the participants. When the time runs out, the breakout rooms are closed automatically. Participants can then rejoin the main conference with audio.
Playing a heiCAST video in heiCONF
1. Log in to heiCAST as usual. If the video you want to play has not been uploaded in advance, upload it now. For more information on how to do this, see the heiCAST how-to above.
2. To play a heiCAST video in heiCONF, you need the video URL. To find the URL, select the gray folder for the video you want to play from the icons on the right.
3. In the next step, click on the “Attachments” tab; then in the “Media” row, click on “Details” on the far right.
4. Then, in the table that appears, select the “Details” again.
5. In the table that appears, there is a row labeled "URL". Everything in the second column should now be copied. The URL to be copied starts with "https://heicast.uni-heidelberg.de/assets/assets/........".
6. To play this video in heiCONF, open a conference as described above under "Starting/Participating in Conferences". After the conference has been started, click on the blue circle with the “+” , which is located on the bottom left of the conference view.
7. In the next step, select the “Share external video” item from the menu that appears.
8. This will open an input field where you can paste the video URL that you copied in step 5.
9. Clicking the “Share new video” button will start the video.
1. You can find the option “Settings” by clicking the three dots in the top right corner of the conference view. There, you can find your individual user settings for heiCONF.
2. Under the menu item "Application", you can change the setting for font size and enable pop-up and audio alerts.
3. Under the menu item “Data savings” you can disable your webcam or desktop sharing in general to save your bandwidth.
Using heiCONF in Moodle
1. To use a heiCONF conference room in Moodle, you can copy the room link via the heiCONF backend and publish it in the Moodle course. It is advisable to set up the room with an access code (see the section “Creating and configuring rooms”).
2. To make it easier for Moodle course participants to join a conference with an access code, you can add the code to the link. Your participants will no longer have to enter the code separately and can simply click on the link to join. This is described in the section “Inviting external participants”.