VAR Edu, Behrend’s immersive Open Lab, has been awarded a $100,000 grant by the Learning Space Committee to enhance the learning environment. The grant proposal was authored and submitted by Dr. Chris Shelton, the Director, and Marcus Jacobs, the graduate project manager, in Fall 2022. The funds will be used to equip the space with state-of-the-art projectors, additional hardware for the VR user spaces, and all the necessary infrastructure and furniture for a traditional classroom that will be located alongside the VR user spaces. 

The addition of a collocated classroom space will allow for subgroups to be formed, which eases congestion around the headsets and allows for students to receive contextual information immediately before or after their immersive experience. This will increase comprehension and retention among students. 

The current VAR Edu space is basic and utilitarian, lacking the infrastructure required to efficiently host the numerous events held in space. However, the grant will enable the Open Lab to expand and enhance its capabilities, promising a bright future for the program.