C&IT helps launch Wayne State Virtual Experience app
Wayne State University Computing & Information Technology partnered with the Office of the Provost, Enrollment, and Marketing and Communications to create a virtual experience for recruiting new students at country-wide events.
The vision of C&IT Senior Director of Desktop Technology and Customer Service, Melissa Crabtree, the tool is the first of its kind at Wayne State. What began as a historical virtual tour of the campus quickly turned into more once Crabtree presented it to Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Keith Whitfield.
With direction from Whitfield and great help from Gary Cendrowski, the associate director of IT for the College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts, the project began to take shape. Whitfield was impressed by Crabtree's first version of the app, but wanted to push the idea further and incorporate it in recruiting efforts. Crabtree rose to the occasion, soliciting help from teams at both C&IT and Wayne State Marketing and Communications to create what we see now. Through 360-degree video and drone footage, potential students experience a Wayne State football game from the sidelines, sit in on an orchestra rehearsal, and visit a College of Pharmacy classroom.
“I [wanted] to make any student in the world feel like they’re sitting in a classroom at Wayne State,” Crabtree said.
Potential students also see life outside of campus and are introduced to the vivacious opportunities in the surrounding city of Detroit. Viewers walk through the Detroit Jazz Festival in Hart Plaza, visit the Detroit Institute of Arts, and more.
“[The app] shows the heart of the classroom, the heart of Wayne State and the heart of Detroit,” Crabtree said.
This fall Wayne State recruiters will hit the road, VR glasses in hand, as they travel to multiple cities to meet new potential students.
Going forward Crabtree hopes to use this technology to further enhance the Wayne State experience for students, staff and alumni. Crabtree expressed enthusiasm about making the leap from virtual reality to augmented reality, where viewers interact with the content. Such a tool would completely change the way Wayne State manages satellite classes, online accessibility, and communication with donors. Faculty in the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences were not only excited to be a part of this current project, but at the prospect of utilizing augmented reality in place of the expensive mannequins they currently use to train students.
Get started with a pair of virtual reality (VR) glasses and the Wayne State Virtual Experience app, available for both Android and iOS devices. If you don’t have VR glasses, the app has an option to view the content right on your screen, or you can find it in a web browser at vr.wayne.edu.
Teaching & Technology
C&IT will be sharing the Wayne State Virtual Experience and limited-edition Wayne State VR glasses at the upcoming Teaching & Technology Day, Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018, from 1-4 p.m. All Wayne State faculty is invited to learn how to use new technology to engage with students. Learn more about Teaching & Technology Day at events.wayne.edu.
Photos: (Top) Sr. System Software Engineer for C&IT DeskTech, Eric Greene, demonstrates the new Wayne State Virtual Experience App Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. (Bottom) Gary Cendrowski (left), Melissa Crabtree and Eric Chapiewski discuss the new Wayne State Virtual Experience app in the VR workspace at Computing, Friday, Sept. 21, 2018.