Take a trip from Freeman Athletic Center to the Center for Fine Arts, locate
all the wi-fi sites in between, find a place to eat, learn a little Wesleyan
trivia and even see what’s happening on campus – all without ever leaving
new Web site called “The Wesleyan Experience”
http://www.wesleyan.edu/virtualtour/ gives users a chance to do
all this a more. The site combines online tours with interactive-campus-wide
information using maps, audio, digital video and text presentations.
site was launched in May after more than a year of planning by the Office of
University Communications and the Office of Admission.
“Originally, we wanted the virtual tour to give prospective students a
glimpse into the day-in-the-life of a Wesleyan student,” says Jennifer
Carlstrom, Web manager and virtual tour project manager. “But when we
started building this, and adding campus maps and trivia, it became a tool
for the whole campus community.”
From “The Wesleyan Experience” home page, users have the option of seeing
the day’s events, going on campus-tours guided by three different students
clicking into campus maps for information about specific campus locations
campus map section of the site includes illustrations of all Wesleyan
buildings. When a user mouses over a structure, the building’s name appears.
Clicking on the building produces a pop-up window describing the facility’s
purpose. Photographs accompany all descriptions.
Users can obtain physical and factual information regarding all 50 buildings
on campus. Events of the day are noted, computer labs and wireless zones are
marked and the location of all the campus public safety call boxes are
displayed. Users can quickly find locations and descriptions of the campus’s
seven eateries. A campus-wide Wesleyan trivia map is also available and
provides fun and interesting facts that may come in handy as Wesleyan
approaches its 175th anniversary.
student-hosted tours offer a different view of campus. Each tour is told
from the particular student’s perspective, mixing audio, video and still
photography. The guides lead viewers through their typical day of classes,
sports practice, social events and extracurricular activities.
guided tour section of the site features three students, Nathan Victoria
’05, Micaela Gutierrez, ’07 and Al Asante ’07. Viewers can sit through
Nathan’s Wesleyan Student Assembly meeting; speak French with Micaela; or
attend football practice and choir concert with Al.
"Nathan, Micaela and Al's daily routines are snapshots of what typical
student life is like at Wesleyan University," says Laura Perillo, associate
director of media relations and copywriter for the project. "No two students
share the same Wesleyan experience - each is quite unique - and our goal
with the virtual tour is to highlight that for our perspective students."
Carlstrom and Perillo, along with World Wide Web administrator Pat Leone,
Web designer Ryan Lee and former Web designer Sasha Foppiano designed the
site. William Holder, director of Publications and David Low, associate
director of Publications, assisted with the writing and editing; and William
Burkhart, university photographer, photographed images used on the site.
Nancy Meislahn, dean of Admission and Financial Aid provided funds for the
project. Charlotte Lazor, associate director of the Admission Information
System, and Kristen McQueeny, program and events coordinator for the Office
of Admission, helped coordinate and conceptualize the site.
“Wesleyan had a virtual tour before, that basically replicated our walking
tour,” Lazor says. “It was time to bring this tour into the 21st
century. Now the virtual tour isn’t just a tour – it has many other
site uses Macromedia Flash technology, a tool used for creating interactive
and animated Web sites. Avenue A Razorfish, an interactive services firm,
aided with the site’s structure and back-end Flash technology.
“Since we were working with a younger audience, we thought we would create a
flashy, interactive Web site,” Carlstrom says. “We’re competing with movies
and video games, so we thought by using Flash technology, we’d be able to
draw the audience in, and keep them interested.”
site will be reevaluated during fall semester. The site’s creators are
planning to add incoming freshman as tour guides and add additional
hope the new virtual tour site is an easy, fun and interactive means by
which perspective Wesleyan students can learn about academic and campus
life,” Perillo says. “Perspectives are able to closely analyze different
avenues that our Wesleyan students are known for exploring. It's our hope
that the virtual tour site is just as dynamic as each of our students."