College of Communication > About > Centers & Initiatives > Center for Communication Engagement > Virtual and Augmented Reality Communication Lab (VARC)

Virtual and Augmented Reality Communication Lab

Virtual and Augmented Reality Communication Lab
Student using a virtual reality headset

Advancing ethical communication in VR and AR

The Virtual and Augmented Reality Communication Lab (VARC) houses state-of-the-art equipment for virtual and augmented reality. At the VARC Lab, we want to help people learn how to effectively and ethically communicate in VR and AR.

The lab is a space for students and faculty to experience VR/AR technology firsthand and explore how these tools impact society, culture, media and interpersonal relationships.

At the VARC Lab, we:

  • Engage with research that leverages VR and AR technology
  • Support courses at DePaul that make use of VR and AR in the classroom
  • Offer classes and workshops for DePaul students and communication professionals

The intersection of VR/AR and communication

At the College of Communication, we’re interested in exploring how communication and technology intersect, including how we use tools to communicate. The VARC Lab helps communication researchers explore topics like:

  • How virtual reality communication affects real-life friendships and romantic partnerships
  • How augmented reality adjusts our interaction with other people within real-world locations as a function of technology
  • How news stories reported in virtual reality are changing the way people receive their news
  • How VR or AR affects someone’s perception of advertising messages
  • How our cultural understanding of mass communication changes as new technologies develop

Meet the VARC Lab team

The VARC Lab is led by Professor Paul Booth and Associate Professor Bree McEwan. Get in touch with them to see how you can get involved with the VARC Lab.

Paul Booth

Paul Booth, Professor

Paul Booth is a professor of Media and Cinema Studies in the College of Communication at DePaul. He teaches and researches how audiences embrace new technologies to generate emotional connections to media texts, as well as the role that new technologies play in ongoing media franchises.

Bree McEwan

Bree McEwan, Associate Professor

Bree McEwan is an associate professor of Communication and Technology in the College of Communication at DePaul. Her research interests include how people use technology to form, manage and maintain interpersonal relationships. Among other classes, she teaches "Augmented Chicago," an Honors Discover Chicago experience course.