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Tour of Discovery in the "Virtual Orangerie”

The University Computer Centre and the TUCdiscover project team have digitally reconstructed the central lecture hall building and made it possible to visit the Virtual TUCtage open house - prospective students can get a breath of university air

Since Monday, Chemnitz University of Technology has been inviting students to its 3rd Virtual TUCtage or Open House. Normally, prospective students would have been allowed to get to know the "Orangerie" - as the lecture hall building is affectionately called due to its facade - themselves and explore it on foot. But with the help of the "Virtual Orangerie," this event has not been eliminated; it has merely been shifted from the real to the digital world.

Sociology student Jakob Sampel has been working on the "Virtual Orangerie" for several weeks as a student assistant and member of the TUCdiscover project team. The idea: To enable prospective students to explore Chemnitz University of Technology as well as possible despite the current situation, the lecture hall building was virtually recreated in pixel graphics - with success. According to Sampel, "Visitors can expect a real digital treat." But what looks like fun and games is actually the result of hard work and weeks of preparation. "We were lucky because the Chemnitz Linux Days 2021 team had already virtually constructed the building and made it usable for us," says the student. "So the floor plan and the numerous seating areas were already digitized. I just had to virtually furnish the Orangerie and look for suitable carpets, floor coverings, and color concepts." But the young man is not only behind the look, he is also responsible for the functionality and creative design ideas of the replica.

Step inside the "Virtual Orangerie!"

Like the original building, the virtual copy of the lecture hall building consists of two levels on which users can move freely with the help of a self-created or prefabricated avatar. "The virtual Orangerie was set up almost exactly as we would have done for live visits," explains Dr. Maria Worf, a member of the TUCdiscover project team. Virtual guests can ask questions at the information desk in the middle of the second floor or buy Chemnitz University of Technology goodies in the digital merchandising store. On the first floor, all those interested in the fields of study of technology and computer science, chemistry, physics and mathematics, teaching, or studying abroad will find what they are looking for. If you approach stands and maps with your avatar, websites with further information or program notes will open automatically in an additional window. Some booths also offer meeting rooms for questions and discussions. As in the real Orangerie, prospective students can use the large staircase to reach the upper floor with its stands on the humanities, social sciences, and economics. In addition, the University Sports, the Student Council, and student initiatives and the university’s cooperation partners will present themselves there.

Hidden surprises for relaxed breaks

In addition to all kinds of information, there are also many surprises waiting for visitors. "We have hidden some highlights in the building. You shouldn’t forget to have fun and take a breather," says Sampel. He is happy to reveal a few fun stations that he recommends to guests: "You should definitely stop by the University Computer Centre and the University Library booths. There are really great games waiting for visitors there." For example, at the University Computer Centre, a penguin named TUX is longing to be released.

Physically separated, but still together

The best thing about live events like the TUCtage is the exchange with like-minded people. The "Virtual Orangerie" also provides this because there are also people there with whom you can exchange ideas or simply say "hello" because when your own avatar meets others, it automatically starts a conversation. Up to four people can communicate together as soon as they are in the same place.

Curious? Visit us for more information on the "Virtual Orangerie" and step-by-step instructions. Have fun exploring!

Additional information on the 3rd Virtual TUC Days: https://www.study-in-chemnitz.com/

(Author: Isabel Möller / Mario Steinebach / Translation: Chelsea Burris)

Matthias Fejes

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