Take Your Students on a Virtual Field Trip

Feb. 8, 2023

A virtual field trip is a unique way to immerse your students in your course content, take them to new places, and tell a story that a traditional lecture video can’t.

Student using laptop. Illustration of video player and information boxes around laptop.


Nancy Pollock-Ellwand, Dean of CAPLA, Professor of Landscape Architecture, and course developer of LAR 565 Cultural Landscapes, traveled to various locations and filmed at these cultural sites:

Her virtual field trip videos are short (most are 1-3 minutes long) and give students a glimpse of essential places they ordinarily would be unable to visit. Because the content of the course is focused on cultural landscapes and historical sites, it was a natural fit for Professor Pollock-Ellwand to incorporate videos from the field into her course. 


Review the Tips for Field Sessions assembled by the Digital Learning Studio before entering the field. 

Professor Pollock-Ellwand worked with an instructional designer and the studio from the Digital Learning office. The studio team was able to film Professor Pollock-Ellwand on Tumamoc Hill since it’s located in Tucson. Professor Pollock-Ellwand filmed the other cultural landscapes with a DJI pocket camera and attached microphone. She submitted the footage to the studio for post-production treatment. 

Here are some other video ideas that may work for your course:

  • Visit a museum, workplace, restaurant, or different location that would reinforce your learning outcomes and intrigue your students. 
  • Consider connecting with a subject matter expert who can give a guided tour or interview on location.
  • Provide a behind-the-scenes look at how something is made.

You do not need to work with Digital Learning to make a virtual field trip. Some essential filming equipment and pre-planning to go to suitable locations are all it takes to make a worthwhile field video. Ensure that your field video aligns with your stated learning outcomes.

Notes from the Expert

Other things to note

If you are filming in the field, you may need to invest in equipment to enhance your videos, such as a microphone, camera/phone stabilizer, light, etc.  

You may need official permission to film at specific locations.

Potential Limitations

If you cannot travel to locations that would be meaningful to your course, consider looking on YouTube or similar platforms for footage. What you were looking to capture may already exist.