Fourth Summer 2011 Learning in 3D class

For this class, we were privileged to have Andrew Hughes, the president of Designing Digitally visit with us. And he gave us a tour of their browser-based 3D campus tour software.

You can check out this video to an idea of what the student’s experienced on their tour.

Andrew provided a great tour of all the wonderful features of the software, including the ability to play games within the virtual world, the ability to easily follow another avatar, the VOIP features and the ability to use the virtual world without having a thin client download.

The graphics were excellent and the 3D environment felt like an actual campus.

So the questions for this blog posting are:

  • Do you think this is an effective method of touring a campus for a college?
  • What other applications can you think about?
  • How would this campus like atmosphere translate into learning within this environment?
  • What did you like about this learning experience in this 3D virtual campus?

Posted in: 3D worlds, Avatar, Content Guide, virtual immersive environment

Leave a Comment (25) ↓


  1. Tracey Turnquist August 14, 2011

    I finally was able to take a tour of the 3D campus. I was impressed with the layout of the 3D world which is very similar to a real campus. What I also liked about this 3D world was the ability to have a personal tour of a simulated tour.

    I could see this type of 3D world for venues that house events. I would use this for banquet halls, concert venues, etc. If I were purchasing a ticket I would like to see where my seat is as comparison to the stage, the angle of my seat and that would be great to see before a purchase a ticket.

    I would love to be able to create college tours through 3D campuses so that students can make even a more intelligent decision about what colleges they would like to attend. They can visit more colleges and narrow down the main colleges they might want to attend. It would be most cost effective by allowing the student to tour the campus and see what it looks like without having to travel. This could also be incorporated into a career awareness class in high schools. I am getting excited about the future of this type of 3D world.

    I did like this type of 3D virtual campus because it incorporated games to help with interactivity for the student. It seemed simple to navigate and when approaching a door it just gave you a popup and you responded to the question with a yes or no. Simplicity is the key and the directions were clear as to how to engage the simulated tour guide. I would have like to have seen more campuses but they are in the beginning stages and do not have any others to view accept the military campus. I’d like to see how this Virtual 3D Campus progresses in the future.

  2. Ronald Wagner August 9, 2011

    Do you think this is an effective method of touring a campus for a college?

    Absolutely, in my brief experience with the demo university, I got a sense of the look and feel of the campus. I think prospective students can get a sense of the support services, size of campus, and types of activities that are available via a virtual 3D tour. On the other hand, I do not feel that the virtual tours will ever be a replacement for face to face tours. I think it is an excellent tool for students to narrow down which campuses they would like to visit.

    What other applications can you think about?

    While this particular application is geared toward students and parents, I think it is also a great tool for attracting faculty. Like students, prospective faculty can get a sense of the overall looking and feel of the campus and it’s vicinity to other desirable services (i.e., rivers, museums, Starbucks).

    How would this campus like atmosphere translate into learning within this environment?

    This atmosphere lends itself to the tech savvy students of today. Students are already connected through mobile devices while in the classroom. The 3D campus environment may eventually be embellished with iTunes U artifacts and Mediasite streaming media.

    What did you like about this learning experience in this 3D virtual campus?

    While I am not a gamer, I really enjoyed the game-like atmosphere. I felt like I needed a joy stick to navigate throughout the environment. The user interface was intuitive and the VOIP was superb once we overcame the initial technical issues.

  3. Jim Dougherty August 8, 2011

    I think the virtual campus is a pretty effective method for implementing a virtual tour–it’s certainly more engaging and immersive than the panoramic photos and flash-based slideshows that are so popular at so many institutions currently. The ability to generate virtual content that mirrors the actual campus for students offers a great foot in the door for folks who might not be able to make the sometimes long pilgrimages to visit prospective colleges. I wasn’t thrilled by the games, only because I don’t imagine prospective students would actually spend significant amounts of time with them, but they do add interesting color and variety.

    This approach could be used by corporate recruiters as well to demonstrate facilities in other locations, and potentially could be used to great effect by real estate agents and home builders to generate models of homes for potential buyers–particularly if they’re able to give legitimate ideas of the space and layout.

    As with the other 3D environments we’ve looked at, these 3D campuses could be very effective learning spaces if designed and implemented properly. This approach particularly lends itself to an academic theme; the ability to create a virtual version of existing campus buildings and hold virtual classes there would translate well as an extension of a brick-and-mortar campus, particularly if it’s implemented with lecture capture or some other method for students to be able to revisit the content after the synchronous class.

    I liked that Andrew took the time to give us all a guided tour of the software. Despite some potentially game-breaking VOIP issues, he was able to move us all through the tour efficiently and effectively. My one concern with this platform, and the other browser-based platforms that we’ve looked at, is that they seem to be so processor-intensive and don’t appear to take very effective advantage of 3D hardware. There were multiple instances for me where my machine would begin to really chug in crowded rooms, yet I’m able to run high end 3D games with hundreds of people instantiated with no problem. I’m sure this will improve as the technology improves, but for now it presents a disadvantage.

  4. Yousef Alshrari August 8, 2011

    It is clear to see that the campus environment is an effective method to use for the college environment. I really felt that I was inside the campus, especially when I moved around; such as when I was out of the building, I heard the birds singing and saw people walking around, which let me feel like I was on a real campus. The great design of this environment made it even easier for users to interact with the campus environment and act like students in real life.

    There are actually many application programs that we can use beside this environment such as shopping malls and advertisements. These applications would help users to have the ability to discover and to try new things. For example, building a virtual mall environment would persuade users to go and try new clothes and look for new products. It also can be used for advertisements to announce new technology, such as new products, etc. Using these applications would really grab users’ attention to them.

    The atmosphere could be translated into a learning environment by making classrooms inside the buildings. Creating these classrooms would be really useful for students to walk in and attend their classes together. It also would be a great idea to create a library environment, which helps students to schedule and have meetings, discuss material as a group, and feel like they are in a real meeting. Placing useful information about the university and its history around the virtual campus would also be useful for the learning environment, since it helps students obtain the information in a convenient way. Since graduate students have a lot of meetings, it would be a fantastic idea to create a meeting room environment that helps students to attend their meetings and feel like they are in actual meetings.

    I liked every aspect of the virtual campus, especially the fact that using this program does not require any downloading. The virtual campus is a great method to use for a learning environment, which lets you feel you are on a real campus. Also, I liked being able to change my avatar’s clothes and playing baseball and hockey. In this environment, I liked how you can move easily from one place to another. In conclusion, the 3D virtual campus design is nicely done, and I liked everything about it.

  5. Frederick Bloss August 8, 2011

    Nothing can take the place of a physical tour of a campus. That being said, this is definitely the next best thing if a prospective student cannot make it to the campus for a tour. Another application of this idea would be a virtual workplace so new employees can easily figure out where everything is located before their first day.

    The campus like environment can definitely be useful for learners who graduated or are still attending a college. It provides a level of familiarity that can make learning in a 3D environment easier.

    I definitely enjoyed how well it the program ran despite being an alpha build. It kicked me off a few times, but program itself ran well even though I had to use my netbook that day. The only area that gave me any lag was the outside area. I really enjoyed the guided tour which can be started and stopped at anytime. This program gives the individual the ability to guide the tour themselves, which is definitely an improvement to the traditional guided tour.

  6. Matt Thomas August 8, 2011

    Do you think this is an effective method of touring a campus for a college?
    What other applications can you think about?
    How would this campus like atmosphere translate into learning within this environment?
    What did you like about this learning experience in this 3D virtual campus?

    It’s difficult to say whether or not it’s an effective method for touring colleges — however — I would say that it’s definitely an engaging way that definitely could not hurt.

    I think the 3D Campus platform has many many other applications! Think about using this to tour a museum or science center such as Franklin Institute. I think it could also be a valuable tool for a profession like an Interior Designer to be able to tour a space that they could potentially design for.

    My favorite thing about this platform is that it’s built on top of the Unity 3D game engine. I’ve always wondered why a lot of simulators and virtual worlds out there are not modeled or based off of the same engines as some of the more popular MMOG’s such as World of Warcraft. They just seem to be extremely scalable, flexible, immersive, and perform really well. Campus 3D offers the cool factor of providing games within the world to engage its users/visitors. To me, it’s small nuances such as this that set 3D worlds apart from one another.

  7. Dan Kreisher August 8, 2011

    The software that we used to tour a college campus, I feel really was an effective way to experience a tour. It allowed for more interactivity than a traditional campus tour would allow. The ability to play games, to gather points and get items is an aspect that traditional tours do not have.

    I think that other applications that may lend well to this type of interactivity would be tours of manufacturing facilities for new workers. This would allow workers to get acclimated to the facility before they even step foot on the floor. They would be able to learn safety procedures, emergency exits, and locations of certain equipment.

    The environment would expose learners to real life scenarios that they would be exposed to on the manufacturing floor. The learners would be able to witness manufacturing processes, learn about each machine, what is done at each. Learn assembly procedures and best practices for efficiently and effectively assembling a product.

    I thought the interactivity in the 3D Campus was exceptional. Unlike others, I did not experience any technical difficulties which made the experience very good. From an industry specialist standpoint, I found the architecture of the buildings to be very impressive. The time and effort put into creating such realistic buildings to replicate an actual campus speaks volumes.

  8. Marcus Valeriano August 8, 2011

    I’m not sure if I would go as far as calling this method of touring a campus effective. I believe this is an amazing way to tour a campus. With the evolution of technology we can now experience places virtually and three-dimensionally simulating an environment as if we were actually there. Herein lies the problem we aren’t actually there. Touring a campus should be to experience the places and the people up close and personal. There could be plenty of people in the virtual tour that you think you may get along with if you chose that school but you aren’t completely sure until you actually meet them. The same goes for places at the school. They may look inviting but what if they aren’t kept the same way as the virtual world? You will not know for sure until you actually experience the campus with all of your senses in a true environment. Effective? Not so much. Engaging? Absolutely.

    The deeper we indulge in 3D virtual immersive worlds, the more rounded and knowledgeable we become about different ways to gain the attention of an audience through this medium. With Andrew Hughes software, we experienced one of the best ways to give a guided tour of a place within a virtual world. With this being the learning archetype of choice for Andrew Hughes, I think there could be many different virtual worlds that could be developed and utilized to engage in a virtual visit of a fascinating place. In other virtual worlds that we’ve experienced, everything was generalized to simply see the overall virtual world. With Andrew Hughes software, we had a more specified approach to a place and the features of that place. What comes to mind for me would be to develop places where we can train ourselves and experience before we actually perform them in the real world. For example, we could learn how to drive by experiencing a practice course that would be similar to a practice course at the DMV. Another world could be to learn how to cook and the elements of a kitchen. We could see what happens when flying if we have never flown before. The possibilities are endless in virtual worlds. The difference between virtual worlds and real worlds are that the true experience will be found in the real world. We can keep trying to come closer to making virtual worlds as real as possible, but they will never be able to duplicate an actual real world experience due to our senses and feelings.

    Learning about the main aspects of the campus was the focal point of our tour. I believe there is many different features behind closed doors or doors that weren’t shown to us that we could experience and learn from. I think a virtual classroom would be excellent for distance learning. If we had a replica of the lab classroom it would make it seem as if we were actually in the real environment. Physical education could be learned at the rec by viewing proper technique and repetition of workouts. Everything in the environment was seamlessly real, especially with their model of creating a campus that looks almost identical to the actual school. Therefore learning within this type of environment would have everything a student needed excluding the actual real life interaction with the people around them. Other than that exclusion, learning can translate quite easily into this type of environment.

    With the exception of the difficulty in bandwidth issues, I thought it was a very exciting place to view the techniques that Andrew Hughes has developed to create a successful Second Life experience for his clients and audiences. I liked the realistic features of the campus, which made it seem as if I was actually at a real campus. The interaction was great as well. We were shooting hoops in a virtual world! I really liked the idea of the A.I. helper that you could ask questions within each new room that was accessed. Overall, if I had more time and would have seen a real campus, I think this would have been my favorite 3D virtual immersive world. But until I see Bloomsburg University and can have all the time I need to experience it, VirtualU remains my favorite.

  9. Rachied Blythe August 8, 2011

    I think that the 3D virtual college tour is a great way to have perspective students look at different universities that they are interested. Everyone does not have the privilege to visit all the universities they are interested in, so by having this available to the public it could really help future students make their decisions on whether or not they would like to attend a certain university. If the campus is designed as well as the one we visited I think that this company could really profit off this and most importantly it would give future students a visual outlook on the campus.
    I wasn’t able to get the real experience because the site was not working properly, so due to the audio problems I had to leave the tour. By having any type of learning in a campus setting, I defiantly think that it would change the way student perform and most importantly their focus towards the topic.

  10. Lauren Dyer August 8, 2011

    Do you think this is an effective method of touring a campus for a college? Yes I do feel that this way is an effective way of touring a campus for some individuals. No body is alike, therefore, their preferences are different. For some people, and especially people that are far away from the college or university that they want to check out, this is an effective way to get a tour of the campus, without having to make the long trek to their destination. For others, who need to actually see the campus in person, I would still recommend this method as a preliminary tour to help decide if they truly want to spend more of their time checking out the campus in person.

    What other applications can you think about? Other applications that I think about when touring virtually would be other places that i would be spending a considerable amount of time at. Places such as hospitals if I were to have surgery of some sort, or even hotels or cruises if I were to go on vacation with my family. Having the ability to virtual tour a place before I go would help me decide if indeed I want to choose this location for myself.

    How would this campus like atmosphere translate into learning within this environment? This atmosphere could translate into learning in this environment by helping students that have online classes feel more like they are actually part of a college or university. If they are enrolled in nothing by online classes, they may feel like they aren’t getting the full college experience. However, by creating a virtual world that they can go to, to meet other online students that have the same classes they may feel more like they are a typical college student as a real university.

    What did you like about this learning experience in this 3D virtual campus? I really like the fact that the buildings looked and felt like they were the real thing. The fact that they went and took pictures of the buildings and campus grounds and scaled them down into this virtual world, means that they really took the time to get the real feel of the university campus. i also liked the fact that I was able to interact and score points by playing games like the hockey shoot and basketball shoot. Those points allowed me to buy outfits and change up my appearance.

  11. Aaron Forte August 7, 2011

    I think it is a great way just to get an idea of what a college campus is and has to offer the students. But as to experiencing a college tour, I think it is more important to view the school hands on and in person. Each school you visit in person holds an entirely new atmosphere. With that each visit is memorable and special in their own way and many of them becomes the defining factor for many students as to what school they will attend.

    I think an application where realistic worlds would be great. This application was good, but it only showed a small aspect of what virtual worlds could become. I think a great application would be a combination of all the worlds we have visited such as “Second Life” and “Venuegen” I think those application were very realistic and would be good for anyone to explore.

    Well I think learning in this environment would be great if you are attending college online because it would give the distance learning students a realistic feel for how attending college would be like for an academic purpose. I think the transition to learning would be very easy because now they are more engaged and it feels more like a college environment because all the student would have something in common and that Distance Learning.

    What I liked about learning in this environment was the feel of being a large campus. I felt like I was attending a different college. Visiting schools from a virtual aspect was very intriguing. I did not visit many schools and I enjoyed the fact I can view many school without traveling at all.

  12. Shannon Humphrey August 7, 2011

    I think that this virtual world in collaboration with an actual campus visit would together create an effective method for the touching of a potential college campus for oneself. I don’t think that this method alone would provide enough of a realistic visit for students who are looking into attending that college of choice. This campus-tour software does however create a forum where students can see more of the campus from right within their own home. Often enough, students have to travel a far distance for a visit to a potential college yet with this software they can get a pretty good idea of how the campus is set up from a 360 degree perspective. Therefore, if they find that they really like the virtual campus, then they can travel there for an actual visit. This software will eliminate the troubles of traveling to a college campus and immediately disliking the campus in general.

    Yet another reason why I don’t feel that this alone is an effective method for touring a college campus is the fact that students don’t get the chance to see the surrounding community outside of the college campus. This is extremely important for students because they should be familiar with the location of their campus and be able to locate grocery stores, pharmacies, etc. While the virtual world does allow the students to have a realistic outlook on the campus itself, the fact that the surrounding community is not part of the virtual world would personally pose as a big problem for me.

    This campus-like atmosphere could most definitely be translated into a learning environment because students who are already enrolled within a particular college would have the ability to virtually travel from their dormitory to their assigned classes. This prepares newly enrolled students or incoming freshman to be more familiar with their campus and with therefore make them feel more comfortable about the big changes that they will encounter upon entering college. Students could also locate places that they will frequent such as the library, dining halls, fitness center, etc. As a result, students will have a better idea of the route that they will need to take to get to these places before getting lost in such a new and unfamiliar area. In sum, I feel that this virtual world would primarily benefit those who are learning of a new area such as a college campus and could be a beneficial learning tool for them.

    I really like the fact that this learning experience directs relates to us as college students. Some of the virtual worlds that we entered would be used more for a business or corporate setting however as college students we can easily understand the immense benefits that a virtual world such as this has to offer other students. We are able to comprehend the varied uses that an online virtual campus tour has to offer a particular audience and can therefore summarize areas to improve or untouched aspects of having a 360 perspective of the actual campus where you will be attending. As a new student coming into Bloomsburg University, I was completely unfamiliar with the area and had never actually seen the campus until my first day of classes. Had I been aware of this type of virtual world I would have definitely taken advantage of the campus tour of Bloomsburg prior to the onset of my classes. I also like the fact that you can easily transport to any location within the campus. This allows the user to quickly go to a location to see it for themselves then quickly transporting back to their previous location. Consequently, I feel that once software is marketed and projected to college students that they too will see the benefits that such an online virtual tour has to offer them. I think that programs such as this will only continue to grow in popularity once people see how useful they are for them to visit a location from within their own home or office.

  13. Jessica Christ August 7, 2011

    In our last class we were able to take a 3D tour of a college campus. It was a fun, intriguing, and technology savvy way to tour a school. I thoroughly enjoyed the tour but immediately saw the good and bad in this being an effective way for a high school student to pick a school to go to. At first I thought wow this would be a fantastic way to see Bloomsburg University considering I’ve never actually been on a tour of the campus. I did my undergrad at Mansfield and the only time I was at Bloom was to play softball so I don’t actually know what the academic part of Bloomsburg looks like. So I can see how this would benefit me but merely as a fun feature since I’m already enrolled in the IT program at Bloom. Seeing the college didn’t actually have any influence in my decision so it is not a “must have” feature. I can see how this might be an intriguing way for high school students to view a college but I truly hope they do not make a decision based solely on an 3D virtual tour. I was being recruited out of high school so my college touring was slightly different, but being able to go on 5 official visits where I was able to visit the school and spend the night was the best way to see a school and truly helped me make my decision. Sometimes on paper or 3D something looks perfect but you can never be sure it’s a perfect fit for you unless you are actually there. So yes, I agree that it is a great starting point for students to see what a school has to offer, but definitely shouldn’t take the place of an official visit.

    I thought the idea was great I would just like them to add a few more areas to their tour. Some things that are critical when choosing a school are the classroom buildings, dorm rooms, bath/shower rooms, the cafeteria, and the gym for non athletes. I would have liked to actually be able to go into these places and tour. I feel like that would give a more realistic view of the school. But I really enjoyed seeing the school and being able to actually walk up the paths to the buildings. I thought the graphics were awesome and loved that all the avatars were dressed in school clothes. It was fun being able to play games and earn points that can be used to buy things (although I felt like that took away from the tour slightly). But overall the 3D virtual tour was interesting and with a couple things added could be a great way to see schools for the first time.

    I can definitely see this campus atmosphere translate into actual classrooms for online learning. I used to be nervous to take an online class because they used to just be a professor emailing assignments and the student was basically on their own with the learning process. But online learning has come a long way and with this 3D campus it could grow immensely!

  14. Katherine Hinkle August 7, 2011

    I think this is a great idea for college campus’s, and surprised there isn’t more out there already. This seems like an untapped market and colleges would benefit greatly for this. Like Andrew said, when you’re applying to colleges you can’t always afford the travel involved just to visit, so why not do it virtually in the comfort of your own home. I definately feel that it doesn’t give you the exact feel you would get if you actually were there, but it is an excellent alternative.

    This type of technology of virtual tours could be applied to a wide variety of services. One that I have some knowledge about would be the real estate industry. My mom is a real estate broker and has adopted similar technology into her sales tactics. This is effective for people searching for homes because they are able to also get the opinions of family and friends who don’t necessarily live in the area. It also gives them 24 hour access to a house that traditionally they would have to schedule to see.

    This atmosphere could translate easily into a learning environment by turning the virtual classrooms used in the tour, into actual online learning enviroments. They could make seperate web addresses using the same interface as to not get confused with the virtual campus tours. Admins and students can have seperate logins with different features assigned to both, like in other online learning environments.

    I liked the personalized tour we could take with our own interactive tour guide. I thought that was very true to the real college visit experience, minus the 20 other people that would typically be in your group. Made the college visitation process more personalized.

  15. Linda Brown August 7, 2011

    I think this is an effective method for touring a campus. It could be helpful to parents as well as students prior to visiting the campus to get a sense for the facilities and offerings at the campus. The added games would be engaging to students as well as parents. It’s also a great supplement to a live tour. The ‘bots” stationed throughout the campus add an additionally level of interactivity. Their scope of pre-programmed knowledge may allow students or parents to ask questions they may not be comfortable asking in a group setting. For example, I asked if the bot could help me with my grades. She responded, “You may be surprised at my vast knowledge.” The added humor will also keep those on the tour engaged.

    Regarding other applications, I think this concept would be beneficial for health care facilities for patients as well as employees. For patients, it may offer a sense of comfort in knowing more about an upcoming procedure (not in too much detail) as well as having someone to ask and answer questions they may have missed as part of pre-op. For employees, I suspect most would appreciate having a virtual setting to assist in familiarizing themselves with the hospital campus to get from point A to point B.

    I think the campus setting establishes a context for learning. Since most people affiliate a college campus with learning, it’s a natural fit. The setting may also add additional credibility to events for attendees and instructors. For example, Bloomsburg University use to the host of a Women’s Leadership Symposium. Imagine the increased potential for participants as well as the pool for instructors if travel was not longer an issue. It may also appeal to a more diverse audience by holding it virtually and engaging learners with activities.

    I was one of the few that had some trouble getting logged in. Andrew was nice enough to give us another tour. The size of campus was to scale and he explained the interior finishes were photos of the actual interiors. The attention to detail was phenomenal. I liked the bots stationed throughout the campus. It offered a level of personalization to the tour. The ability to travel along with a guide minimized the chance to get lost or stray. It may also be a time saver for learners not familiar with the 3D environment.

  16. Joshua Stoner August 7, 2011

    I believe the 3D environment appropriately provided touring capabilities for campuses and in a clean cut manner of replicating the actual campuses. Although I do not believe a virtual tour to me can replace the actual physical visitation it provides a great deal of insight to the general look and feel of the campus. The tour can also be a significant implementation for new students to explore and see where specific classes, buildings, offices and parking areas are located. In any sense I think it is great for preparation when coming onto the campus especially as a freshman. Therefore instead of just handing students a map like we are often given at BU, a page linking to a 3D environment of the campus could allow students to explore and direct themselves properly to where they will need to be, before classes start.
    Learning in this environment would establish a great way for people from anywhere to take courses, meet up within the same classes, and listen to a lecture as well as complete tasks just as if they were physically to be taking a course. Avatars can interact just as well for the teaching setting and with voice acceptance interaction remain personal.
    The 3D virtual campus showed a greater step towards schooling away from the standard online courses. My first thought happened to be, “what if courses were taken on the campus online?” There would no longer be a limitation for who would be able to attend certain schools due to travelling or moving, therefore a student can particularly pursue studies in what they want where they want. Only downfall is there would still be declines for students, tuition (price variation), and not many universities would jump on the bandwagon quickly.

  17. Eric Sellix August 7, 2011

    I feel like this would be an effective way to tour a college campus with one condition: Realistic student class size and traffic representations. What I mean by this is that one thing interested students typically do when taking a college tour is to sit in on a class and to visit on a day when classes are going on. If the 3D campus tour accurately represents these two things than it is better than taking an actual tour, since you don’t need to travel to far away colleges. In addition, if the virtual tour is impressive enough, there is more of a desire to pass it on and show it to a friend who is looking at colleges.

    An extension of this technology would be interactive museum tours. Elements of their permanent collections could be placed in a realistic representation of the museum. This would give you a better sense of size and shape as compared to 2D pictures of the pieces.

    What I liked most about learning in this 3D environment was that number 1: the avatars were fairly detailed, allowing for a range of expressions, and number 2: the application was browser based. This fact alone makes it more desirable than the other options we have seen so far. I firmly believe that browser integration is one of the defining technologies of the future, and is in fact already here. Google’s services as well as Microsoft and Apple are all offering cloud computing and storage, why shouldn’t your university offer everything through the cloud, including campus tours.

  18. Beckie Brisson August 6, 2011

    Do you think this is an effective method of touring a campus for a college?
    I think that for those students who are either in another country or don’t have enough money to tour the campuses they want the virtual tour is a great idea. I think that touring a campus i person is always the better of the two ways but for those students who aren’t able financially or placement wise I thinks its a great way to explore.
    What other applications can you think about?
    On other place you could use it is maybe a hotel at a vacation shot. The customers can see what the hotel looks like and what the rooms are like. Also, using the virtual tour at vacation destinations would be helpful. Using the application for touring a new job also would be helpful so the new employees know where they are going before even arriving.
    How would this campus like atmosphere translate into learning within this environment?
    The atmosphere resembles a college campus and a learning environment which would make learning easy. The enviornment is professional and educational making it a perfect artificial world for learning.
    What did you like about this learning experience in this 3D virtual campus?
    The world itself had very few glitches and was much more professional. I liked the sports area of the world and how the user could shoot basketballs, hockey, run on the track etc. So not only can the user see the educational aspect of the world but also the athletic. I liked also how the user can explore the entire campus outside and see how the layout of the campus works and which buildings are which.

  19. Alyssa Genovese August 6, 2011

    I thought the virtual tour of the campus was a great idea. It allows prospective students the chance to see what the campus is like without having to physically go there. A prospective student can view the dorms, the library, the fitness center and other places that can help them decide if they would like to make an actual visit to the campus. I didn’t understand why there were options for appearance and a student store to buy clothes for your avatar–if the main reason for the virtual environment is to allow prospective students to tour the campus and view the different amenities available, why is appearance important?

    I think guided tours of facilities for new job hires would be a viable resource. A virtual guided tour of a working environment can be beneficial for new employees of a company in a large working environment (i.e. hospitals, manufacturing plants, etc.). Also for entertainment environments, such as recreational parks, amusement parks, ski resorts, etc. A virtual (guided) tour of a large park/area can help prepare guests before they even get to the actual place. They can learn where important points of interest are located and have a better idea of where things are.

    Having this virtual environment does give way to a learning environment. Having actual information and lessons available in the classrooms, having actual articles from journals and book summaries available in the library are just some places that can be used to create a learning environment. In the athletic area there is already options to actually have your avatar play basketball or hockey, which is a fun aspect for students. To feature relevant options (as done in the athletic area) would be a nice incorporation of a more academically focused environment in appropriate areas. For a social aspect (such as the dorms) maybe featuring testimonials from students who are living in the dorms would be a nice feature for prospective students to hear from those who have experienced dorm life.

    I liked the strategically placed informative avatars that students can go and ask questions about a variety of different things involving the virtual environment. I also liked the interactivity of the athletic arena–in which I played basketball and hockey. It was a fun feature.

  20. Desiree Eddins August 6, 2011

    I think that this is an extremely effective method for touring a college campus. This virtual environment really showcases a college campus well. Touring a campus in this sense will provide future students the opportunity to visit more colleges around the country. This will help enhance a student’s options and help them feel more satisfied with their final choice of college. Virtually touring a college campus will give students who don’t have the means to visit a college campus the opportunity to do so. Therefore, exploring a college campus virtually will help students gain a good idea of what the campus looks like and what they have to offer.

    After visiting all of the different virtual worlds throughout the semester, I think it would be great to have an application where you can visit any place throughout the world. For example, it would be great to board a virtual airplane and arrive in England within minutes. We could then walk around the country as if we were really there visiting. We would be able to shop in stores and visit tourist attractions as if we were really there. This application could not only be used for personal reasons, but also as a learning tool for classrooms. Classrooms could use this application to take their students to China to learn about the Great Wall and the culture of the country. Therefore, history could really come to life for students without ever leaving the classroom.

    This campus like atmosphere would translate into learning within this environment because students would be able to explore the campus as if they were there in real life. With more and more people looking for online classes, virtual classes could be created on the virtual campus, where students could still engage in a classroom environment and collaborate with peers in the classroom. With students having to actually participate in activities that they would do on a real life campus, such as walk to class and participate in class, students will for more engaged and eager to learn in this virtual learning environment.

    I liked the real life aspect of this virtual learning environment. I think that it is great to have the opportunity to explore a college campus without having to actually visit it in real life. When I was a high school senior, I didn’t have the opportunity to visit any of the schools that I applied to. Therefore, I chose a college based on what I heard about the school from friends and what I learned from the school’s website. If I would have been able to visit the different schools via this virtual world, I think that I would have felt more prepared for my overall college experience. Therefore, I like the overall idea of being able to visit a college and see everything that it has to offer from the comforts of my own home.

  21. Amanda Bughman August 5, 2011

    Touring a campus virtually is an interesting idea, and it got me thinking about the fact that I haven’t stepped foot on Bloomsburg’s campus in 17 years! I’d be interested in taking a virtual tour of my grad school, but I don’t think I’d use it as a basis for making any decisions. I’d see it as merely a “cool” feature, and would put more emphasis on the other information and photos on the school’s web site. I went to an inner-city university, and I don’t think a virtual campus tour could have emulated such a rich sensory experience. If nothing else, I’m sure the school has a promotional DVD they could send me or a YouTube channel I could look-up.

    However, I see value in it as a new student, parent, or visitor who needs to find their way around campus. I love the 360-degree video tours some real estate companies use to market houses. And I extensively research and plan my travel and entertainment plans. A virtual tour would be a great way to orient me to Colonial Williamsburg or the Orlando airport!

    It’d be nice if this could be integrated with Centra. I was surprised to find how bland and full of meaningless links the online school environment is. I’d like to feel like I’m part of something!

    I appreciated that there was no download for this experience. I also enjoyed that there were some fun, distracting games to break up the campus tour spiel.

  22. Jessica Andrezze August 5, 2011

    I think the idea of having a virtual tour though a campus is a great idea, especially if the school is recruiting for technology based majors. It shows how technically advanced the school is. At the same time, if the tour doesn’t work flawlessly, potential students may be discouraged and think poorly of a school who boasts their technology programs, yet can’t have a properly working tour. I really enjoyed the tour and while I was unable to hear any sounds, I was able to listen in on a computer next to me. I think with a little more tweaking, this could be a really great program.

    Using a program like this for any kind of orientation would be useful. For an employee starting a new job at a very large company it can be overwhelming to learn where everything is. By having a 3D world like this for them to explore prior to coming to work they will know where their office is in relation to other offices, where the cafeteria and restrooms are located, etc.

    An atmosphere like this could easily translate into a learning environment by adding classrooms inside the buildings. Adding classrooms like we have seen in VenueGen to this campus would create the ultimate campus experience by having students actually have to walk to their classes, without ever leaving their homes. Another learning technique could be to add notes to various statues and buildings around the campus so students can learn about the campus’ history while exploring the grounds.

    I really liked the fact that there was nothing to download for this experience. I think this will make people more apt to try it. When I am browsing things online and I am prompted to download something I rarely do it. By making this experience so easily accessible I think people will be more likely to try it. I also liked how games were involved in the tour and the points you gained helped you to purchase new clothing. I think this was a great program and has a lot of potential for the future.

  23. Jamie Weaver August 5, 2011

    I think this is a good way for students to at least narrow their choices of colleges to a reason field for actual visits. The interface had a distinct gaming feel to it. They used this game aspect to make the tour more interactive with games like shooting the basketballs, clues hidden for trivia. (I always like when learning about something is disguised as play.)
    The real look of the buildings and other objects in the world made it feel more like a real-time experience. I have been in some organization’s buildings that are like a maze until you get oriented. I thought about an interface like this as an introduction for new employees.
    The other thought I had was for non-profit public event’s volunteers. When I have volunteered we have a meeting before the event and they give you general directions and instructions. But the day of the event, it is only the volunteers who have been there before that can direct everyone where they need to go for the registration, the displays, the raffles, the start points, etc. Something like this would make training volunteers easier (and more fun which would help attract volunteers). Perhaps it could even be used to promote the event in advance?

  24. Ken Boland August 5, 2011

    The virtual world we toured this week is a unique idea and a great way to tour a college campus. It allows potential students to get an idea of what some of the college campus looks like without having to actually plan a trip and visit the college. While it may help a potential student rule out certain colleges, it may not be enough for everyone to ultimately choose a college without seeing it in the real world. However, I can definitely see virtual campus tours taking off in the future as more digital natives are graduating from high school.

    I could see this idea being expanded into several other environments beyond college campuses. For example, it would be great advertising for vacation resorts or cruise ships to have a virtual tour like this, so people could make well-informed decisions about where they want to stay when they travel. Having amusement park tours would be a great application for this type of virtual world as well. Many amusement parks already have videos and animations you can watch of the rides, but expanding it to include a 3D virtual experience where you could walk around the park would be the next step to take. Walking your avatar around the park and even getting onto rides as your avatar would give you some familiarity with the park so when you visit in real life, you could already have a plan in place for which rides you want to go on and you would know how to get to them in the most efficient way. These ideas may already exist in some form, but probably not as graphically rich as the virtual campus.

    If the campus environment could be accessible to professors and current students, the actual classrooms on campus could be used to hold virtual class sessions. In addition, students could meet in the library or other areas of the virtual campus in order to have intellectual discussions. As the virtual campus stands now, it is mostly about seeing what the campus looks like and learning about some of the buildings and amenities that are available. However, it can also be used for new students to learn their way around campus as a sort of virtual map. With a little expansion upon the initial idea, the campus could be transformed so online classes could take place in the virtual campus and classrooms.

    This 3D learning experience was probably one of the most graphically rich virtual worlds that we have visited so far this semester. As explained to us by Andrew Hughes, the world is created using the same programs that are used for major titles in 3D games including “Call of Duty”. The fact they are using these same programs is unique and innovative. Another aspect that I found very interesting and impressive is that the developers build the campus environments to scale using only digital pictures that are captured of the campus; they don’t take any physical measurements. Overall it was a fun and engaging experience that I think will be successful in the near future.

  25. Scott Stahl August 4, 2011

    I think this is a very effective method for touring a college campus. Since the campus is built to scale it really allows viewers to get a good idea of the layout of the campus and the distance from one place to another.

    This may be really out there but when we were touring the campus I began thinking about virtual shopping malls. I know where I live the nearest mall does not have many of the popular stores such as Abercrombie and Fitch and it definitely does not have stores like Coach or other big names. How cool would it be to have a virtual mall where you could walk through stores and actually buy products online and have them shipped to your home!

    The obvious learning that occurs that we could see from our tour was that students are able to learn about the university and the campus of a particular university. As far as learning from classes being taught on a virtual campus I believe it could be quite affective. I believe it would be more affective than a traditional online course where materials and assignments are posted and students work through them at their own pace. The environment allows for a great deal of collaboration and discussion which so often leads to enriched learning experiences. This particular learning environment also had a game component which could be used for teaching concepts of games or other skill oriented concepts.

    I really liked that there was no download required to run the virtual campus. I thought the life-likeness and scale was especially important to give users a good feel for the campus or university they were visiting. I also enjoyed playing the games that were available to users. The ability for users to take a tour of a campus anytime they wanted by using the automated tour guides is a great feature as well.

Karl Kapp
  • About
  • Contact