Over the summer, Joshua Tebeau ’16 worked to change the college touring process by creating a website dedicated to sharing 3-D tours of college campuses. “My role on the project is to help gather footage, find relevant information about schools, help develop the website, and design the 3-D videos” explained Tebeau, who hopes to officially launch the website in October.
Containing 360º videos of vital locations on various campuses, Josh’s website is a dream come true for international and domestic students who can’t spare the time or the money to visit schools in person. As an international student from Warsaw, Poland, Josh experienced the hardships firsthand. “College tours have been very difficult for me,” he said. “By creating an [online] platform for… tours, I can help make it a more accessible process for everyone.” As Isla Forster ’16 said, “I think [the website] would enable me to see more colleges than I could otherwise, and then I could have the option to visit them in person after getting in.”
Since most colleges are public spaces, Tebeau did not need special permission to film there. To ensure he captured the most important locations of campus, he surveyed the local students to deliver the most authentic information.
To film in 3-D, Tebeau’s project requireed the use of 14 GoPros mounted around a still unpatented rig, which attracted the attention of people he came across while directing the filming process. At Brown University, a professor even offered to show him the university’s VR (virtual reality) program. By next summer, Tebeau hopes to have a team of dedicated bloggers to create and update content for the website, while also directing more filming.
“Currently there are about 10 schools which will pilot the project, but we hope to collaborate with universities to get more schools and therefore more access for website visitors,” Tebeau said. Some featured schools include Columbia, Brown, Dartmouth, Wesleyan, and Harvard; Tebeau also created a 3-D tour of DA.
While the applications of such technologies are still a novelty, 3-D tours are not as rare as one might assume, and many famous landmarks offer such an experience. However, until Josh began his project, no colleges or universities had taken advantage of 3-D technology.
“The future of virtual reality and 360º video is really bright,” Tebeau said. “It is a more immersive experience and helps suspend disbelief more than previously thought possible. I can see all sorts of applications for Virtual Reality, whether it’s for college tours or visualizing data to help teach.”
College Advisor Jamie Bucci commented, “I really admire Josh’s effort. I continue to be impressed by how Josh sees social issues, cares about them, and puts his energy into finding and implementing creative solutions to them.”