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Virtual reality specs bring Trinity alive

Monday, June 15, 2015

Cardboard glasses showcase campus in 3D, 360-degree virtual tour

by Carlos Anchondo '14

One moment you are in a classroom, a library, or maybe a crowded gymnasium full of students, teachers, and college admissions counselors. The next moment you are transported. You find yourself gazing over lush green lawns, the intricate branches of live oak trees, and bright white Adirondack chairs appear, grouped together for conversation. Red brick buildings rise up on all sides and a soaring bell tower anchors it all.

Thanks to virtual reality and cardboard glasses, you have just visited Trinity University.

The cutting-edge technology provides users with 360-degree views of the entire Trinity campus by inserting a smartphone into a front section of the glasses. Users can tour campus by browsing to virtualvisit.trinity.edu and selecting locations from a gallery of image panels. High-definition pictures allow the user to feel as though he or she is literally moving across campus.

The virtual reality tour is compatible with Samsung Galaxy S4 and S5, Nexus 4 and 5, Motorola Moto X, and the iPhone series with iOS 8 or higher.

Trinity makes their own visual reality specs

Michelle Bartonico, director of marketing at Trinity University, pursued the cardboard glasses as the University brought a new virtual tour to the website through YouVisit, a virtual tour outfitter.

“These glasses are innovative, convenient, and experiential,” Bartonico says. “Using them, you truly feel like you are transported to a different environment.”

Bartonico says the glasses are a “forward thinking” piece of technology that is relatively new to the higher education market and delivers a high-quality experience. While there is no substitute to physically visiting Trinity’s campus, Bartonico says the glasses can give prospective students the ability to see Trinity’s beautiful facilities when traveling, costs, or distance gets in the way.

Future Tigers will be able to access the virtual reality glasses through college fair visits from Trinity admissions counselors, at Trinity’s campus, and at select events, like the recent National Speech and Debate Tournament held in Dallas.

Matthew Barsalou, communication management supervisor in the office of admissions, says that seeing and visiting a college campus plays an influential role in a prospective student’s decision making process.

“It is important to see the campus where you are going to be a part of that community as a student,” Barsalou says. “These glasses are a great tool to help students explore Trinity.”

Barsalou echoes Bartonico and says that nothing can replace a physical tour of Trinity’s campus because the virtual reality glasses cannot provide the human interaction of speaking with a tour guide or meeting professors and current students. However, Barsalou says an added bonus is that the glasses take prospective students to some campus locations that students miss on the tour due to time constraints.

"Virtual Reality" specs are very popular and Trinity created their own version

Unlike the glasses, the online virtual tour provides a walking tour guided audio commentary. Both the glasses and the online tour were created in a two-day photography session by YouVisit, Bartonico, Barsalou, and Taylor Stakes, video and web multimedia content developer.

Bartonico and Barsalou believe that students who use the glasses before physically visiting Trinity will be able to ask tailored questions about specific spaces and facilities while on their campus tour.

For him, Barsalou says the magic of the Trinity campus is in its open spaces where students and faculty are able to gather together for the “in-depth conversations someone would expect” on a college campus. He says the glasses do a quality job showcasing everything Trinity has to offer.

“The glasses are a terrific piece of the puzzle,” Barsalou says. “Using the glasses, reading the information on our website, and then stepping foot on the campus are great ways to see all of it come together during your college search.”

Carlos Anchondo is a writer and editor for marketing communications and a 2014 Trinity graduate. He can be found on Twitter at @cjanchondo or at canchond [at] trinity.edu.