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Virtually there: take a medical school tour without leaving home
CMAJ 2001;164(11):1610 [PDF]

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Choosing a medical school is fraught with difficult choices involving location, physical layout, mood, academic offerings and more. Site visits can be helpful, but not everyone can make the trek. To make the choice easier, some medical schools have begun showing off their wares online.

Dalhousie Medical School is leading the way with a new virtual tour — "the next best thing to visiting us in person." Using a series of 360 degree photos taken at different campus sites, the tour lets web users stroll around campus buildings, sit in on a class and visit area teaching hospitals. Small Java applets allow viewers to look around a scene just as if they were standing there, rotating in a circle.

Wes Robertson, the school's information technology director, said feedback has been positive. "People really love the feeling of 'being there' that they get from the tour," said Robertson. "We are confident that with the virtual tour we are now able to attract students who would not otherwise be considering coming to Dalhousie, or to the Maritimes."

To take the tour your browser must be Java-enabled; a high-speed Internet connection works better than a modem.

The University of Alberta's Faculty of Medicine also includes an electronic stroll through its facilities, as does Memorial University in Newfoundland. These use the more conventional approach of static clickable pictures to give potential students a view of the site. — Michael OReilly,



Copyright 2001 Canadian Medical Association or its licensors