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The Hampton University Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications Launching New Augmented Reality Lab

HAMPTON, Va. (June 16, 2020) – The Hampton University Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications has partnered with EON Reality to bring students an exciting addition for this fall: a new Augmented and Virtual Reality Lab.

The new lab, located in the Scripps Howard School building in Room 148, further enhances the school’s already celebrated Center for Innovation in Digital Media. There are computers that will render HD graphics, animations and video, along with a virtual reality display measuring 8 feet tall by 40 feet wide to immerse the entire classroom in the experience.

Augmented Reality, or AR, is the simple combination of real and virtual, or computer-generated, objects. AR provides an interactive experience of a real-world environment where the objects in the real world are enhanced by computer-generated graphics and text.

Students who take JAC 450-01 Virtual Reality and Animation with Scripps Howard Endowed Professor Willie Moore will be among the first to utilize the lab. Scripps students in other journalism and strategic communication classes also will benefit from using the technology.

“We are very excited about the Augmented Virtual Reality Lab coming to the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications. This lab will offer our students an enriching learning experience that will keep them at the forefront of the ever-changing technological landscape of communications,” said Hampton University President, Dr. William R. Harvey.

Scripps Howard School Dean B. DàVida Plummer knows this lab will be a great tool for future journalists and communicators to utilize.

“Communication as we know it may never be the same post-COVID-19, and our need to tell stories will require technology that allows people to experience the event, to experience the scene, to experience the story without leaving wherever they are,” Plummer said. “Virtual reality is that tool. I am thrilled to see the technology coming to the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications so that our students are even better prepared to meet the challenges they await.”

When Scripps students apply for internships and jobs, they are sought after for the high caliber of technological skills they have that complement an already stellar education they receive in all facets of content generation for news, information, entertainment, global communication and creative services. /p

SHSJC Network Administrator Andre Smith detailed the benefits the lab will provide.

“EON Reality has created a platform that doesn’t require you to be a technology person to create augmented reality assets,” Smith said. “The new lab is going to be great for journalism students. Typically, journalists write on paper or on a computer, but in a 5G environment, AR and VR devices – like cellphones or headgear – will become the new computers. These devices will add another channel for news to be delivered and brands to interact with their customers. Understanding AR and VR content will empower journalists to tell their stories, while transmitting their audiences to the scene with interactive artifacts and immersive [360-degree] photos and videos. If we can accept the fact that we don’t all read on the same levels and come from various cultures and backgrounds, then we can see how adding more context to a story increases the likelihood that the article accurately communicates the point the journalist was trying to convey.”

Even though this lab will be housed in Scripps, it will be available for collaboration with other departments.

“The entire campus could benefit from experiencing their courses with augmented, mixed or even virtual reality,” Smith said.

The lab will give Scripps students the opportunity to create unique, interactive content for their classes and with their classmates.

“The new equipment will allow us to keep up with the modern ways of storytelling in the use of journalism and documentary broadcasting in the industry,” Moore said. “This opportunity could help in placing our students in the profession and competing in the broadcast and entertainment market. The new lab could also lead to enhance the motion graphics, animation and digital classes at Scripps Howard.”