U. of Pittsburgh campus tours go virtual
- The University of Pittsburgh will serve as a pilot campus for YouVisit's augmented reality campus tour app, which developers say will allow a prospective student's a virtual view of the campus, classrooms and surrounding city.
- The app provides users an interactive model to discover the campus community through a mobile device. Interactive elements showcase areas of interest and specific facilities that the developers say can build engagement without a physical visit to the campus.
- “AR represents a new frontier in immersive media, as well as a powerful new way to tell stories and captivate viewers,” said Abi Mandelbaum, CEO of YouVisit, which worked with Google on the product.
Virtual campus tours have been around for many years, but the YouVisit model provides a unique exposure to the surrounding city, and through technology that many prospective students and their families already possess. It is part of a growing movement in higher education to reduce costs and enhance experiences through virtual reality; from campus tours to medical training, colleges are building awareness of ways to engage potential and current students through AR and VR.
The proliferation of online education has shown how technology can create massive change in higher education, with students paying for the convenience of earning degrees at their own pace and off campus. Some experts think that VR technology will reinvent library and research materials access, distance education and curriculum engagement in the applied sciences and liberal arts, all accessible from smartphones and laptops.
Marketing, learning and intrusive support all meet by way of personal technology, and institutions that offer prospective and current students a robust experience through the convenience of checking an app will likely command attention from many learners who want credentials, but who do not want to pay the costs for campus facilities and resources they may rarely use.