An Environmental College Goes Virtual
In April/May 2022, Unity College completed a Closed Beta Test of their own custom built Virtual Campus.
I supported the Beta Test with Logistics and Event Management.
Welcome video prior to Campus opening
It shows an early built, the Ready Player Me avatar, and was meant to stir up excitement to join the application.
Student Avatar Fun!
These Ready Player Me avatars were the results of avatar creation parties!
Come to the island & explore!
Students could drop in anytime but we held events to talk about uses for a Virtual Campus.
The Virtual Campus was a Unity College creation with Unity programming that required a custom downloading and installing, bypassing several Microsoft security settings. Learners were supported in a Canvas course and had to agree to a code of conduct and create a Ready Player Me avatar before entering. Because it was a custom native application, learners had to complete a download and install that required circumventing computer security controls.
Later events used FrameVR.
All of these pieces required complete and updated instructions when the Virtual Campus and RPM changed over the 8 week Beta Test.
Earliest map (left), mid-journey map during load testing (right)
After load testing, we discovered that when there were more than 8 avatars on the island, the sound did not fully work. We had plans for 12+ live events on campus with invites for ~125 beta testers. We flexed from a specific launch date to a soft launch and ran our first event, a campus scavenger hunt, asynchronously over a week.
I wrote the launch change announcement, redesigned the live events, updated the Calendar, tested the instructions, and determined the Scavenger Hunt winner. During this time, we were also supporting learners in Canvas and via on-island and Zoom office hours.
During: Tech Support
Supporting asynchronous and live events with tech support for 8 weeks requires management and flexibility.
We opened Zoom 15 minutes before each event and staffed it for the entire live event.
Events ranged from Design Challenges to the final party with impromptu games like hide & seek and follow the leader.
Student Ambassadors contributed to events, talking about what it was like to attend Unity College online.
Faculty hosted Trivia Game Nights.
Logistics and support handled the Load Testing and Design Challenge events.
Sound problems made using the Virtual Campus difficult for large events.
WebXR, in this case, FrameVR, is simpler to enter and use.
Online students want access to social events with other students.