May 04, 2010

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Go to Virtual Tour

By Tom Evelyn

LEWISBURG, Pa. — Bucknell University's virtual tour has won a Webby Award for "Best School/University Website" in the 14th annual international contest honoring excellence on the Internet.

(Related stories: The Chronicle of Higher Education, Higher Ed Assessment, Intermedia - Interactive media in higher ed communications)

"Nominees like Bucknell and Fastspot (the company that partnered with Bucknell to design its virtual tour) are setting the standard for innovation and creativity on the Internet," said David-Michel Davies, executive director of the Webby Awards. "It is an incredible achievement to be selected among the best from the nearly 10,000 entries we received this year."

Winners will be honored at a ceremony in New York on June 14.

Communications colleagues
"We appreciate this recognition from an objective international evaluator, and their endorsement of the excellence of the Bucknell virtual tour," said Pete Mackey, vice president for communications. "Our special congratulations go to our communications colleagues who were so deeply involved in designing this tour, especially Roberta Sims and Molly O'Brien-Foelsch, and to our exceptional partners in developing it, Fastspot."

Bucknell partnered with Fastspot in 2008 to redesign Bucknell's website and virtual tour. Fastspot was asked to develop a virtual tour that was innovative, informative and engaging, and that would encourage prospective students and their parents to visit campus and help them determine if Bucknell was a good fit.

The tour features customized tools that allow visitors to create individualized sentences describing their interests. Those sentences then point the visitor to an extensive library of facts, photos and video about related areas on campus and the Bucknell educational experience. "Consistent with the University's admissions strategy, the virtual tour helps prospective students think about who they are, what they bring to Bucknell and what they want to become," Sims said.

More than 50,000 visitors
Since it launched in March 2009, the virtual tour has had more than 50,000 unique visitors from 134 different countries.

Established in 1996, the Webby Awards annually receive nearly 10,000 entries from all 50 states and more than 60 countries worldwide. They are presented by The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences.

The final nominees in the Best School/University Website included submissions from Bucknell, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Point Park University, the University of Puget Sound and Wheaton College. View the full list of nominees and their entries.

Contact: Division of Communications