Great students, great tour: Electronic Critique majors develop University’s new virtual tour

Highlighter & Laureate,
Fall 2003

Electronic Critique
One of only a handful of programs like it in the nation, UDM’s Electronic Critique is a unique, interdisciplinary tech-oriented program with a Liberal Arts focus. The program’s curriculum prepares students for careers in programming, design, advertising, marketing, business, teaching, media production, film directing, and journalism, among other opportunities. Students are encouraged to take a third year co-op option, and are offered ample internship opportunities with local and national organizations ranging from the Detroit Writers Guild to the Society of Manufacturing Engineers. The program is geared toward highly motivated students with a diverse range of interests and an entrepreneurial spirit.

Photo: UDM E-crit major Phil Barash and Assistant Professor Marcel O'Gorman work on developing the virtual tour.

Last Spring, University of Detroit Mercy’s University Advancement department and marketing consultants Lipman Hearn hired students Phil Barash and Nathan Blume to put their multimedia knowledge and creative minds to the test by developing and designing an online virtual tour for the UDM web site. The end result is an innovative, cutting-edge multimedia presentation that leads viewers on a unique and interactive tour of the McNichols Campus without ever having to leave their homes.

After conducting an investigation of university virtual tours on the Web, Barash and Blume, exemplary Electronic Critique (E-crit) majors, noticed a general lack of innovation and style.

“When Nathan and I looked at our competition, we realized most university virtual tours focused on locations, but locations do not make a college. It was a matter of time before we settled on a concept we felt would be the most natural way of experiencing the campus – through real students and faculty. It was an ‘Aha!’ moment for us, “ says Barash.

Assisted by Marcel O’Gorman, assistant professor of English and director of the Electronic Critique Program, and Jim Stout, desktop/media specialist for Information Technology Services, Barash and Blume created an interactive mix of live footage and still photography for the virtual tour. Tour guides (actual UDM students and faculty) escort the viewer around campus, providing information about the many activities and resources UDM has to offer.

The tour features 16 detailed segments of several University and off-campus locations and encourages viewers to further explore the University, as well as the City of Detroit, by offering links to online information such as alumni success stories, 365 facts about Detroit, and UDM’s library research portal.

According to O’Gorman, “This project indicates that E-Crit majors are not only capable of intelligently critiquing the impact of technology on our culture. They are also very good designers who understand the visual language of marketing.”

To take the virtual tour, visit www.udmercy.edu/greattour, and enjoy as students Monica Wehbe, Chris Nowak, Desiree Olden and Assistant Professor of English Chris Gilliard lead you on an informative and interactive tour of UDM's McNichols Campus.