Virtual Campus expands to global mindset

MATCs Virtual Campus

Photo by Steve

MATC’s Virtual Campus

The Virtual Campus concept was inspired by virtual trade show software, but ebusiness and social media instructor, Steve Burleson and MATC students from several programs have created a masterpiece for marketing all of the greatness found here at MATC.
The Virtual Campus provides a realistic experience for anyone that wants to check out the campus. A click on the college homepage link at www.matc.edu will take you to the Virtual Campus website, and there can be found a wonderful array of career choice information. Brian Mennenoh, the animation instructor, helped the students capture the campus spirit.
Presented as a concept five years ago, budget cuts had the project on hold for years. A faculty innovation grant revived it, then eighteen months of collaborative work brought the project to fruition. It debuted last November. The site has videos, cartoons, charts, graphs, career counseling, job fairs, internships, and even future job demand projections. “The site was designed and implemented by MATC students, for MATC student success. It is the only virtual website for a college or university that is interactive in the country,” Burleson said.
The look and feel of the site is very similar to the actual student welcome center, and is very easy to navigate. The average age of MATC students is 30 years old. That is someone that has their life already in progress, with job, home, family, pets and other obligations. The virtual campus is open 24/7/365 so that busy students can have access to it when they need it.
The marketing use of the website has been very successful. High school students are being introduced to the resources available to them through their classes or counseling sessions. Ninety percent of most high school students’ career choices can be attained by completing a technical college degree at a much lower cost than a four-year college or university. Also the city of Milwaukee is using the site in conjunction with the workforce development department.
The school currently has plans to make every class available online, which will greatly expand the reach globally. Eleven- hundred users are on the site now, and each person visits an average of seven to eight sections on the site.
The career fair section is most popular with 3,400 booth visits, because all of the 106 companies featured want to hire graduates directly from this college. Aurora Health Care has had the most visits. Unlike some students who complete a four-year degree and cannot find a job, MATC graduates are job-ready, and often have been trained specifically with the industry requirements, on the state-of-the- art equipment for those jobs. The career fair booths are connected to the company so that job information is always current.
The next phase of the Virtual Campus is to be totally mobile, accessible and fully functional from a cell phone or tablet. Currently the job fair booths have a live chat feature, enabling an interview or the ability to ask questions with human resources personnel.
In the future, Skype communications and access to Blackboard will be available. Animated characters are being developed that will assist with navigating the site and will function as your tour guide.
The Virtual Campus is enjoying a very positive response and great satisfaction from the companies that are featured in the TechConnect, career fair and internship sections. The open house area has a booth for every program the college offers. Drop in on the Virtual Campus at www.matcvirtualcampus.com, take a look around and tell them what you think at [email protected]