A matter of time and place

Interactive media student Eric Johnsen and Associate Professor Jim Ferolo developed the first-of-its-kind iPad application.

By Susan Andrews
November 11, 2011

The iPad campus tour at Bradley is not about finding a way to fit the latest and coolest technological innovation into the student recruitment process. It’s about bringing to life the vibrant, engaging Bradley Experience — and just so happens to utilize a really cool mobile application developed by one of the University’s interactive media students.

Here is how it works. Bradley student guides activate a video programmed in their “pilot” iPads at key points along the hour-long tour to showcase Bradley’s classrooms and labs, performing arts and athletic events, activities on the campus’ quad, and more.

These video vignettes bring to life the Bradley Experience, especially on weekends and during breaks when students are not on campus. They provide glimpses into student life so that prospective students can better visualize the vibrant student life on and off campus.

The idea was conceived by Jim Ferolo, associate professor of interactive media and chair of Bradley’s Department of Interactive Media. The concept of using “video on demand” in a campus tour was based on the research of his spring 2010 interactive media class.

His class partnered with the Department of Theatre Arts in creating “America Live!” a successful interactive production that integrated improvisation and technology. As part of the class research component, the students used various media to promote the production, seeking to identify the most compelling form of advertisement that would attract the greatest number of Bradley students.

The class learned that Bradley students most often used mobile devices to click on a QR code (a two-dimensional barcode) located on event posters that drove them to a promotional video of “America Live!” “The research showed higher levels of engagement and richer experiences when used in a specific place at a specific time,” Ferolo explained.

“This contextualized idea of place and time supports the greater value of prospective students viewing videos while taking a campus tour as opposed to viewing the same videos at home,” he added.

Collaborating with University staff, interactive media student Eric Johnsen developed the iPad application.

"The attention the University and I have received from this project is impressive. I am glad it has provided people with the opportunity to learn about what Bradley has to offer in the field of interactive media,” Eric said. “In many ways this new media is the future, and through this project Bradley has proven itself to be at the forefront in applying this exciting technology." 

The iPad pilot project required no investment in equipment as Eric used the same hardware for software development that interactive media department students have used for projects.

“The beauty of this project is that it exemplifies a valuable partnership between an academic unit and the University to fulfill a business need to enhance the student recruitment process,” Ferolo said.

Eric is currently working on several feature enhancements for the iPad tour that are scheduled to go live at the beginning of 2012.

Read about Bradley’s iPad tour in the Chronicle of Higher Education and the Chicago Tribune.