How to Tour Colleges During A Global Pandemic? Explore 10 examples of virtual campus tours

Posted by Ulla-Maaria Koivula on Apr 14, 2020 4:43:30 PM
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April is exciting times for high school seniors, who throughout the world are receiving admission decisions from colleges and universities. Most students would like to visit the schools to which they have been admitted, which is why applicants are normally spending their spring breaks planning college visits and tours with their parents. But how do you tour colleges during a global pandemic?  

"Currently, it is impossible to visit the school, as we are only open to some children of Key Workers within Scarborough College. We understand that new pupils soon to start Scarborough College would love to visit the school, which is why we have created a virtual tour." (Scarborough College website)

Even if it’s hard to replicate the full experience of visiting a new school in person, colleges and universities are quickly putting together new resources available for students and their parents that can help make the final decision on where to study and spend the next years of their life. Here are some examples from the US, UK, and Australia.

Keele University, School of Geography, Geology and Environment

University of Keele is a public research university in Keele, approximately 3 miles from Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, England. In this month,  Keele University has created an informative interactive map of the School of Geography, Geology, and Environment campus. The map uses an aerial photo of the campus that connects to multiple points of information as well as 360 videos from different parts of the campus area. Included in the map are also example reports from international field trips.

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Loyola Marymount University, California

Loyola Marymount University is a private Jesuit and Marymount research university in Los Angeles, California. As Student Engagement Librarian and member of the William H. Hannon Library’s outreach department, Ray Andrade coordinates library orientations, student programs, and tours. In Spring 2019, Ray began plans to develop a 360-degree, virtual library tour that could serve all students. However, before creating a standard tour in English, he wanted to figure out a way to work with faculty, staff, and students to create a multilingual tour to support a special population: LMU’s international community. The creative process ultimately led to a 360 library tour consisting of eighteen 360 images with more than 65 interactive tags, 17 original videos (featuring Dr. Li’s students), and four “How To” videos. Read the full project description from LMU.

Johns Hopkins University Peabody Institute, Maryland

The Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University (JHU) is a music and dance conservatory and university-preparatory school in the Mount Vernon-Belvedere neighborhood of northern BaltimoreMarylandUnited States. In 2017, it was one of the first schools that created a complete virtual tour of its facilities, offering students the possibility to visit the school and its various spaces virtually.

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Charles Darwin University, Australia

Charles Darwin University used ThingLink to introduce Casuarina campus, the largest study location at CDU, and the main hub for Higher Education, Vocational Education and Training (VET), and Research programs. The tour features various buildings, landmarks, as well as links to more information and resources about the campus online.

Washington University Center at Olympic College Poulsbo, Washington

Olympic College Poulsbo is a collaboration between Olympic College and Western to serve the community and businesses on the Kitsap and Olympic Peninsulas. To make it possible for new applicants to visit the university remotely, the college used ThingLink to create a virtual tour of the college. The tour is available for all visitors of their website.

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University of Oregon, College of Design, Oregon

The College of Design at the University of Oregon created an interactive map with custom icons providing shortcuts to exploring different parts and functions of the campus. The informational hotspots contain both text and video, making it possible for viewers to read and translate the text to over 80 language using Immersive Reader.


Brevard College, North Carolina

Brevard college has taken an existing resource, a numbered map with a list of locations, and turned it into an interactive online resource by adding visual reference and description to each of the numbered spots.

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FAMU Law School, Florida

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University is a public, historically black university in Tallahassee, Florida. Their VR lead L. Michelle Salvant and Dr. Kelley Bailey are ThingLink Certified Educators from Florida A&M University, who started exploring the use of Virtual Tours in Higher Education already in 2016. This tour starts from the FAMU College Of Law's Atrium, giving the visitor quick links to the lecture room and library.

FAMU Law School

California State University, Fullerton

CSUF is a public university in Fullerton, California. With a total enrollment of about 40,400, it has the largest student body of the 23-campus California State University (CSU) system. This brief tour created by Maureen shows the locations of the Admissions & Records Office, College of Eduation, and the School of Business & Economics. 

University of Southampton, Valley Gardens, UK

The University of Southampton is situated in the city of Southampton, on the south coast of England. The Valley Gardens, home to many rare plant and animal species, are located on the Highfield Campus‚ behind Jubilee Sports Hall and the Students' Union. This beautiful tour of the Valley Gardens was created by Dr. Sarah Fielding, Professional Specialist in Learning Design. Enjoy the birds!

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