HSE Virtual Tour: Stroll Around the University from the Comfort of Your Home
In June 2021, HSE University and Times Higher Education (THE) held the online Young Universities Summit. It marked the first time the summit was held with support from a Russian university, and the choice of HSE University was no coincidence—it is the only Russian university to be included in THE’s Young University Rankings. Preparations for the forum included the creation of a virtual tour of several HSE buildings. We spoke to Deputy Vice Rector Marina Kozak about the content of the tour and the practical applications of VR technology for the university.
— Where did the idea of a VR tour come from, and which university buildings can people see?
— The summit was held online, and we really wanted to show off our new campus on Pokrovka to the international university community. We are proud of it, and wanted to show students and partners that Pokrovka is one of the most advanced university complexes in Moscow and Russia. We wanted our audience to get a feel for our university, soak in the atmosphere, walk around the buildings and meet staff and students.
— The project allowed representatives of Russian and international universities at the summit to see more of HSE University remotely. How difficult was it to bring the project to life?
— While working with THE on the project, it was suggested that we use the Virtual Tour Company platform. We used it to create a virtual tour that allowed visitors to not only ‘walk around’ different university locations in the same building (including the library, coworking area, cafe and dining hall), but also to ‘visit’ various HSE University buildings in Moscow. The tour currently features 360-degree panoramas of Pokrovka and Shabolovka alongside video materials. And of course, visitors can watch videos about our programmes and faculties. In the future, we can add more digital content about other buildings so that anyone can familiarize themselves with the university’s campuses, faculties and programmes, as well as immerse themselves in the atmosphere and learn something new.
— Are there other tours like this? Will the project be further developed in the near future or expanded to include HSE University campuses in other cities?
— The university’s first project like this was a virtual tour of the St. Petersburg campus created by the German company ICEF. It proved very popular among applicants. We spent a lot of time examining virtual tour technologies and best practices for VR tours. ICEF’s solution is one of the most interesting and interactive, and we have plans to develop an immersive virtual tour. Last year, our colleagues at the Public Relations Office created a 3D tour of the Pokrovka campus that was very interesting and popular with users. This year, we added footage of the building on Shabolovka and merged them into one virtual tour.
— Are virtual tours a good format for people who want to learn more about HSE University?
— In our present situation, they are one of the most promising marketing tools in terms of appealing to prospective students. Virtual tours are also useful for HSE staff travelling abroad or to other parts of Russia who want to show off the campus using VR glasses. This lets anyone—no matter how far away they are from our campuses—to ‘walk around’ the university and ‘meet’ staff and students through video content.
We’re in our second year of planning to film an immersive experience, but border restrictions have complicated matters. We plan to finish filming a new immersive virtual tour in the near future for release in 2022. Until then, those interested can take the virtual tour of Pokrovka and Shabolovka developed for the Times Higher Education summit and the virtual tour of our St. Petersburg campus.
Prepared by Alina Ageeva, Head of Marketing Communications Centre, HSE University International Admissions Office.
HSE University commenced the new academic year with a housewarming party marking the long-awaited opening of its new campus complex on Pokrovsky Boulevard. Rector Yaroslav Kuzminov, Academic Supervisor Evgeny Yasin, and vice rectors of the university took part in the event to welcome students, faculty, and staff.
Students in the Faculty of Physics, one of the newest departments at HSE, will find a homey atmosphere, understanding teachers, and the opportunity to engage in science from the first year of studies. Physics students Arslan Galiullin (2nd year) and Sofia Lopatina (1st year) will be our guides for this instalment of the Open House project.
On July 25, upon the approval of the Moscow City Construction Supervision and the Department of Cultural Heritage of Moscow, HSE University’s new Pokrovka complex opened its doors. The complex, located at 11 Pokrovsky Boulevard, is HSE’s largest and most modern Moscow campus. Classes will begin there in September.
HSE University is famous for not only its various locations throughout Moscow, but also its regional campuses in three other major Russian cities. We are delighted to tell you about HSE’s second youngest campus in Perm, which is home to over 2,000 students (around 1,450 of them are full-time learners) and 120 teachers, while also offering 13 education programmes. Galina Volodina, Director of HSE Perm, tells The HSE Look about HSE Perm’s degree programmes, plans for development, and its meaningful contributions to the life of the city and the surrounding region.
It will be located in Building B and is an addition to the existing library in Building A. The new library will be a space not only for those willing to go somewhere private with a book or a tablet, but also for teams who need to get together to discuss joint research projects. The library opens on January 16 at noon. The first 300 visitors will get to participate in a prize draw, which will introduce the readers to the library’s collection.
The acquisition of new venues can improve the conditions for studies and research at these campuses.
Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, HSE’s St Petersburg campus came up with the slogan ‘Time to Make Your Dreams Come True.’
For foreign scholars who come to teach and conduct research at the Higher School of Economics, whether temporarily or on a permanent basis, Moscow, St. Petersburg and Nizhny Novgorod all provide a variety of interesting opportunities to enjoy a quality life. We spoke with several international scholars who now make these cities home about their experiences and the advice they would share with others who may be considering a move.
HSE will build a three-story fitness complex near the Kaluzhskaya metro stop in Moscow, adding to the university’s sports and recreation infrastructure. The complex will include a swimming pool along with a number of fitness rooms and sports halls. The Moscow Committee for Architecture and Urban Development has already given the project the green light. Let’s see what the city’s Chief Architect Sergey Kuznetsov had to say about HSE’s new addition.
What are Euclid and Descartes doing in a building that at one time belonged to the Gosplan? What does M+P+ mean, and how do you get an internship at Google? In the latest edition of Open House, Valentin Biryukov, a second-year student in the Applied Mathematics and Informatics programme, and Maria Gordenko, a fourth-year student in the Computer Engineering programme, talk about these questions and more.