Virtual innovation: UPVCT-Interactive and EBIT Week

Posted on August 17, 2020

Six ladies walked into the University of Pretoria Campus Tours office at the start of the year with enthusiasm in their hearts. We were excited for 2020 to be the year in which we would be running around showing our campus to prospective students, foreign dignitaries, international visitors, the public and others. We learned a lot about the history of the University of Pretoria in the University Archives and how the University is constantly evolving as we are moving into the future. We had a few physical tours on campus where we could share that knowledge and we were excitedly making plans for UPCT campus campaigns and events.

When COVID-19 became a reality to us we were confined to our homes, unable to show people around our beloved campus. From these circumstances, UPVCT – Interactive was born, that is UP VIRTUAL Campus Tours. We made plans to change our approach. We were guided by Professor Harris to move campus tours to a virtual platform. 

We had multiple meetings about the format of these tours and which media medium would sufficiently meet our needs. After hours of research we had built up an information bank on all of the nine faculties of the University as well as Mamelodi Campus and TuksSport– we can then draw from this information when customising a tour. The faculty advisors were also contacted so that we could check the information we distribute on our tours. 

Some of the most important aspects that we had to consider was that we wanted the tours to be interactive - so that tour-goers could look their tourist guide in the eyes and engage with them in real-time – and customizable – so that we could build the tours around the individual needs of each of those that book tours with us. The tours last around 20 to 45 minutes, depending on the amount of questions tour-goers have. The tours take place on the Zoom application. 

On 8 August 2020 the Engineering Faculty (EBIT) had to take to a virtual platform for the first time for EBIT Week. After a successful trial tour with the faculty advisor, EBIT requested that UPVCT take part in the event in which a mass amount of prospective students interested in joining the University's Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and IT, take part. UPVCT customized a tour solely focused on aspects of the EBIT Faculty, which is only the tip of the iceberg of what is on offer at the University of Pretoria. This event was a first for UPVCT in terms of offering a virtual tour for a mass amount of prospective students (500+). The event progressed with ease and UPVCT received overwhelmingly positive feedback.

EBIT Faculty Dean, Professor Sunil Maharaj, commented, “I would like to place on record my sincere thanks to the team for putting this creative and fascinating virtual tour offering to our prospective EBIT students. As our Faculty motto is ‘Innovating our Tomorrow’ the UPVCT team lived up to this motto of being really innovative. Well Done!”

UPVCT not only offers customized Faculty tours but also a General Campus Tour in which the tourist guide will cover all the nine faculties and the campuses that form part of the University. Anyone who would like to book a tour with us is welcome to contact us on [email protected] so that we can build a tour that is right for you!

 

- Author UP Campus Tours
Published by Ian Macqueen

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