Last updated on November 13, 2019
For the past six weeks, our Digital Storytelling class has been working together to create an accessibility map of the St. Joe’s campus. 55 buildings later, an interactive map has been created allowing current students, faculty, and prospective families to virtually tour the campus and see what buildings are accessible to people with disabilities, and what amenities they have.
Each campus building was mapped using virtual reality (VR) 360-degree cameras. VR videos enable viewers to see a space from all possible angles by clicking and dragging. In some cases, the mapping group filmed the outside of buildings; in others, they went inside to get a comprehensive understanding of a space’s accessibility features. All 55 buildings were evaluated on accessibility features like elevators, ramps, and proximity to parking.
The mapping group got to 55 out of the 88 buildings on campus over the course of the semester, which includes constantly busy hubs such as Merion Hall, Mandeville Hall, the library, Hagan Arena, O’Pake Recreation Center, and Barberlin Hall. Audio and video were also accomplished in Merion, Mandeville, and the library, among others. In addition, walkways and parking lots around campus were mapped as well. Many of the unmapped buildings and areas are expected to be mapped in the near future.
This semester’s Digital Storytelling classes quantified our campus’s accessibility features, while also gaining a personal perspective on what it means to move through the world as a person with a disability. Each course section had web development/social media, blogging, mapping, and podcast committees. The committee’s sections often needed to work in tandem to ensure that they weren’t duplicating coverage of a disability-related topic, mapping the same building, or interviewing the same person.
The blogging group was responsible for planning, writing and editing the project’s blog section. The podcast group wrote, edited and produced podcast episodes on disability-related topics and later transcribed them for the website. Web development/social media group members designed the project’s website and prepared content for posting online and on social media.
Overall, both sections contributed to a project that has resulted in six podcasts, seven blog posts, and an interactive accessibility map that spans a majority of the campus’s 88 buildings.
Next semester, you can expect to see a continuation of the project with the next section of the class. We are hoping that with our proposed recommendations for the university to become a more accessible campus, some changes will be made over the summer and the next class will continue to advocate for change and bring awareness of accessibility to students and faculty at SJU.