Virtual tour offers convenience, sutdent perspective of campus
By Samantha Sisk and Katherine Kuykendall
Imagine your iPod guiding you to the front of the Food Science Building at Purdue. Then, Ashley Feil, a sophomore biochemistry major, introduces herself and describes the building, aspects of campus life, and food science majors and career opportunities.
Illustration by Angela Hoffman
Purdue's Ag Ambassadors have been giving tours to campus visitors for years. Their new virtual tour project re-creates the tour experience for your portable MP3 player.
Feil and other members of the Purdue College of Agriculture Ambassadors are your personal campus tour guides even if you haven't arranged for one in advance or left home. The Ambassadors recently developed a student-led virtual campus tour. Future students, parents, visitors or anyone interested in Purdue can download the tour from the Purdue Agriculture GO in AG Web site and take a virtual stroll through campus on their iPods, MP3 players or home computers.
"We wanted potential students to have a resource to use when making their college decision that was easy to use and entertaining to watch," said Tyler Cotterman, a junior agricultural economics major from Monticello, Ind., and an Ag Ambassador. "With this tour, students are that much closer to actually being on campus and feeling the Purdue atmosphere."
The Ag Ambassadors have been leading campus tours for years. They play a key role in recruiting new students and see the virtual tour as a way to use technology to introduce the campus to those who may not be able to make the trip to West Lafayette.
Plus, the iPod tour offers virtual visitors an inside look at parts of the Purdue Agriculture campus that they may not be able to see during a typical visit to campus. "The tour guides students through the college using a campus map as only a supplement, making it easier to navigate around our sometimes confusing campus," said Seth Harden, a junior in forestry from Frankfort, Ind., and an Ag Ambassador.
The tour features video segments presented by Ag Ambassadors. The students describe life on campus, introduce visitors to Purdue Agriculture buildings, provide information about majors, describe career options and talk about classes available to all students. There also is an audio-only version of the tour so visitors can still get the experience even if they don't have a video MP3 player.
"Students should enjoy the fact that it is not the same boring newsletter they get from hundreds of other colleges," Cotterman said. "They're getting real information about our campus from actual Purdue students. And they can download it right to their video iPods to see whenever they want."
Despite giving dozens of tours to real people, some ambassadors discovered they had reservations about being on camera. "I was really nervous about being filmed at first," said Cotterman. Still, once he got used to it, Cotterman settled into his role. "By the end, I had turned on my radio voice and really had some fun."
This project is just the beginning of what the Ambassadors would like to do in the future. With new technology and media, they hope to work on more projects like this with the Office of Academic Programs.
But even with all the high-tech gadgets, Harden explains that you shouldn't write off that real-life visit to Purdue just yet. "Nothing can replace a red-blooded, living Ag Ambassador for answering questions and giving tours," he said.