With a theme such as Sharpen your blade – skills for a new reality, 2018’s MACE Excellence Awards promised to be a celebration of excellence in creativity this year.
Forming part of the MACE Annual National Congress, which aims to be a benchmarking, networking, and professional development platform for South Africa’s higher-education sector, these awards are much more than merely giving recognition to well-executed jobs.
A goal of the Marketing, Advancement and Communication in Education (MACE) Awards is to recognise the achievements of specialists and practitioners in the higher education sector, with a particular focus on communication, marketing, and advancement. But the programme is structured in such a way “to enhance the career development of marketing, advancement, and communication professionals working for tertiary institutions across the country,” (Source: MACE website). This is why only entries that are based on global best practices are considered.
One of these entries was the University of Pretoria’s virtual campus, designed and developed by ThoughtCorp.
As an instrumental component in the university’s vision to meet global benchmarks, the UP virtual campus platform was awarded silver in the Media division. This division recognises excellence in how a message is communicated and conveyed to specific target audiences.
Starting in December 2017 and launching in July 2018, UP’s virtual campus platform has placed the university at the forefront of new technologies for prospective student engagements. This highly interactive, mobile-friendly website offers visitors 360-degree panoramic views of the campus, providing a virtual tour of classrooms, campuses, and facilities.
In addition to accessing 360-degree panoramas, videos and other course-related, relevant information, users can either opt for a general tour of the university or enjoy a personalised tour of their preferred profession’s campus grounds. Users can easily navigate between panoramas of any of the nine faculties and explore hotspots that link to important information about each faculty.
Over 100 panoramas were shot, 600 photos showcased and 50 videos posted to ensure the final website has the optimal balance between visual storytelling, while simplifying what can be a daunting process with user-friendly navigational structures and user-centric content.
To date, thousands of local and international users have embarked on virtual tours to familiarise themselves with their potential futures as UP students.