Leapfrogging the limits of video and conference calls
Davenport University is known for its smaller-than-average class sizes, high-quality programs and teaching, and a distinctly proactive campus culture. The university also has “a proud history of offering bachelor and graduate programs online,” says Dr. Richard J. Pappas, the university’s president.
So, when the COVID-19 pandemic struck in early 2020, Davenport University was determined to get ahead and find a way to maintain their standard of learning, their classroom culture, and their student/tutor relationships from home. Above all, they sought to preserve the sense of belonging found around their real-world campuses.
“We want to try to make sure we are in front of the curve. What really makes a school is a sense of place. That’s missing in most online learning programs.”
Brian Miller | Davenport’s Global Campus Dean
A sense of place brings a sense of belonging
With Virbela, the University of Davenport had an immediate solution to allay their concerns; Davenport Global, a custom virtual Campus, was born.
With interactive auditoriums and presentation screens, private tuition rooms, and the control to find your own space in-campus to socialize or study, Davenport Global recreated a real life day-to-day – and successfully emulated the emotional and practical experience of being a student or professor at a physical Davenport University campus.
Thanks to familiar surrounds and more human interactions, together Davenport and Virbela redefined the online learning experience for students and teachers alike – so much so that Davenport Global is now considered alongside the University’s physical campuses as a preferred option for students.
Davenport University gets ahead and stays ahead
Crucially, the creation of Davenport Global meant minimal disruption for students and staff in the wake of COVID-19 related adjustments. Engagement soared compared to regular video and conference call classes, and the freedom and empowerment experienced within a virtual Virbela world replicated the real-life campus experience for students. In fact, Davenport University are not only looking to expand the platform to include more and more of their bachelor’s degree programs, but will even be hosting virtual in-world graduate fairs, too.
Says Brian Miller, Davenport’s Global Campus Dean, “Virbela creates visual clues and a sense of being there. It’s also good for helping with skills for students. For example, it’s hard to replicate in online classes the feeling you get when standing up and looking at a bunch of people sitting there looking at you. This does that! It also offers visual feedback from the audience, so you can learn how to read an audience and adapt your message.”