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Exploring Virtual and Augmented Reality

Various students and faculty using virtual and augmented reality tools.

What is Virtual and Augmented Reality?

Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) have evolved to the point that users can be transported into environments that are rich, immersive, and engaging, creating novel opportunities for teaching and learning. Virtual reality immerses individuals into computer-simulated settings for learning, work or play. Augmented reality works slightly differently, overlaying information onto the real world using smartphones or special glasses, to create vistas with unprecedented richness and utility. 

The virtual and augmented reality (VAR) industries are exploding both in terms of application and creation. Applications have emerged fastest in the entertainment industry but are now expanding quickly into the fields of engineering, medicine and education. The effectiveness of virtual reality and augmented reality applications depends on the quality of content, which requires creativity, subject matter expertise, and knowledge of software to create. Such skills will be in high demand as these new industries unfold.

Virtual and Augmented Reality Exploration at CSUN (VARx)

The CSUN Faculty Technology Center (FTC) is facilitating a year-long series of virtual and augmented reality events (VARx) over the 2016-17 academic year designed to explore the potential of virtual and augmented reality for teaching, learning, and research. Toward this end, the FTC has purchased 20 Google Cardboards, a 3D camera, and an HTC Vive, and has partnered with Professor Jacob Enfield, Cinema & Television Arts faculty member in the CSUN College of Arts, Media & Communication. 

Download the Virtual and Augmented Reality overview here (.pdf) 

VAR Activities

Brown Bag Exploration Sessions

In Summer and Fall 2016, we invited faculty to join us monthly for an opportunity to try out VAR equipment. They met with other faculty and staff to discuss the potential educational value of VAR in their course and for the university. Each session, the discussion was accompanied by exhibition, and exploration and was focused on a set theme of art, science, and assistive technology. 

Past Events

October 7, 2016 | 9:00 - 11:00 a.m. | VARx Kickoff
October 14, 2016 | 12:00-1:00 p.m. | VAR in the Arts
November 4, 2016 | 12:00-1:00 p.m. | VAR in Science
December 2, 2016 | 12:00-1:00 p.m. | VAR for Accessibility 
March 8, 2017 | 11 - 12 p.m. | VR Social
April 12, 2017 | 12:00 - 1:00 p.m. | 360 Photo DIY  


In Spring 2017, all CSUN students were invited to participate in a competition to create the best virtual or augmented reality experience. VARJam was held from March 3 to April 7, 2017. View the VARJam web page to learn more.   

One-On-One Consultation

If you are interested in more training for VAR, please contact the respective person for each category.