WHY CAMPUS VR?
Why did I found CampusVR, a company whose focus is providing true Virtual Reality tours of college campuses? Actually it was my children’s idea!
While trying to plant a seed of the importance of college, I went online with my children (14, 12) to my alma mater’s web site. What we found was static, 360-degree images of buildings, fields, etc. that did nothing to highlight a gorgeous campus and, instead, bored them to the point of saying “Dad, you should create something that won’t bore us to tears.” And so CampusVR was born.
Fast forward to some of the points made in Melissa Ezarik‘s thorough Inside Higher Ed article – ‘Virtual or In Person, Students Say Campus Tours Could Achieve More’ – which describe my children’s views to a tee.
One of the main problems our internal focus groups pin-pointed was something we have since coined as “click-fatigue”. This describes the requirement of clicking to navigate from page to page, usually culminating in nothing more than frustration for the user. “One survey respondent at a public university in Texas, who couldn’t tour the institution in person during the pandemic, lamented that the virtual tour website was difficult to navigate. “I would need to go to 10 different pages, each saying variations on the same thing,” the student wrote.”
How did we solve this problem at CampusVR? Through the use of autonomous/remote controlled robots, we can successfully simulate the act of walking. This allows the viewer to feel as if he/she is moving along through the campus from one building or area to another, without having to do anything.
Another point (of many) made in this article was the importance of VR tours as it related to equity. “Visiting campus is not just for those who can afford to visit campus,” one director points out. Besides travel, the prospective student or parent needing to take time off from work is one cost.”
CampusVR‘s original mission statement included ‘access to college visitation for everyone notwithstanding the challenges of money, time, or convenience’. It is our goal that in the very near future, any student will have access to an Oculus-compatible VR tour of any school in this country.
I could go on and on. This article makes clear that “admissions officers and enrollment administrators will always encourage in-person visits, but the survey results point to the need to continue strengthening in-person and virtual campus tours”.