The Virtual and Augmented Reality Communication Lab (VARC) was founded by Dr. Paul Booth and Dr. Bree McEwan to bring VR/AR experiences to the DePaul community. Pre-COVID, the lab brought in speakers (Allison Eden, CARISMA lab, Michigan State) and presented VR in advertising courses. During Fall 2020 the lab made a pivot in order to support Dr. McEwan’s now-remote Discover Chicago class. The Discover experience was re-designed in order to send each enrolled first-year student a VR headset which allowed the course to be partially taught in the Vive Sync classroom. The VR classroom experience included lectures, watching video material together and hosting guest speakers including the chair of VR/AR Chicago and the designers of the HTC Vive classroom.
Discover Chicago in VR Images
Associate Professor, Communication Studies
Co-Director, Virtual and Augmented Reality Communication Lab
College of Communication
Bree McEwan is an associate professor of Communication Studies in the College of Communication and co-director (with Paul Booth) of the Virtual and Augmented Reality Communication Lab. Dr. McEwan’s research focuses on the intersection between interpersonal and communication technology. She is particularly interested in communication in friendships and networked relationships. Her teaching expertise includes computer-mediated communication, interpersonal communication, communication in networks, and quantitative research methods. Her dissertation was on the retention of first-year students and she regularly teaches Discover Chicago: Augmented Chicago.
Dr. McEwan is the author of Navigating New Media Networks, which explores communication challenges and opportunities that arise due to increased networked individualism through communication technology. In addition she has published articles in a variety of journals including Communication Monographs, Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, and Computers in Human Behavior.