At Illinois Tech, many students appear to be unaware of most events on campus. This includes even prominent ones such as MTCC Late Niite. It also seems to be true that students and visitors to the Mies Campus have difficulties in finding their way around unfamiliar parts of the campus even though our campus is fairly compact, orthogonal and flat. In addition, the diversity of campus inhabitants and visitors who represent so many generations and so many nationalities, while pretty amazing, contributes to the challenges of effective communication for all.
There can be a variety of reasons for lack of awareness about events or way finding on campus, given the fire hose of multiple channels of information that flood us every minute of every day. It is a constant challenge for those with a message to figure out their audience(s), how to improve the odds of connecting with them and getting them to respond and act. And what seems to have been figured out to be effective for one generation may no longer work for the upcoming generation of students.
This IPRO project will explore the concept of an interactive wall, envisioned to be located in the McCormick Tribune Campus Center (MTCC) (you know where that is, right?) that would become the “go-to” place on campus to have basic questions answered concerning events and their locations. An element of the interactive wall might be an avatar that “hawks” events on campus and responds verbally to questions from those interacting with it. The Illinois Tech version of “Siri,” “Watson” or the wizard of Oz behind the curtain. It could be especially useful to create awareness at the last possible minute just-in-time before an event begins.
This is a student-initiated IPRO project proposed by Nina Tamras, Business Administration, that aims to contact and involve many Illinois Tech departments in exploring its feasibility and prototyping it. There is already interest from the Office of Technology Services and the Office of Campus Life. Other partners could include Institutional Advancement and Alumni Relations, Facilities, Admissions, the One-Stop, and Campus & Conference Centers. There will be various user-centered design aspects of this project that will be challenging and can involve students from many disciplines to develop a solid approach that explores the MTCC wall’s technical feasibility, user desirability and business viability.