Educators Program

University Track

Session I: Teaching Computer Graphics

Interactive Teaching Modules for Computer Graphics
Avi C. Naiman
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Abstract: We are developing a suite of interactive modules for teaching introductory computer graphics. The modules provide explanations of fundamental concepts, tutorial demonstrations of basic techniques, and interactive control of the parameters used in the execution of high-level representations of elementary algorithms. The modules are being used in laboratory sessions to supplement format lectures.

uisGL: A Teaching Tool
Scott Grissom
University of Illinois -- Springfield

Abstract: Computer science students are expected to write software that performs all three steps of the graphics pipeline: modeling, transformations and rendering. However, it may take all semester to develop this software, and only at the end of the term will students have the satisfaction of seeing the fruits of their labor. A better solution would allow students to create pictures from the first day while they investigate how the pictures are created. But this approach does not require students to understand the software because they did not develop it. The uisGL approach provides the software at the beginning of the term while still insisting that students develop their own software. This "plug-and-play" approach provides motivation early in the semester but allows for deep understanding of algorithms by the end of the semester.

How to Teach Graphics Using X (And Live to Tell About It)
Theo Pavlidis
State University of New York at Stony Brook

Abstract: X is a large and complex system, and its major toolkits (such as Motif) are oriented mainly towards GUIs. The Tk toolkit is simple and easy to use for GUI programs, but the lack of structures in Tcl makes it less appropriate for graphics programming. This presentation describes a toolkit that emphasizes programming for graphics rather than GUIs. It has been used for four terms in an undergraduate graphics course as well as in research projects. The toolkit hides the complexity of X from beginners but allows for gradual migration to the full X system (using Xlib and Xt calls) in contrast to other simple systems that are self-contained.

Identifying and Addressing Student Problems in Learning Computer Graphics
Amnon Shabo, Mark Guzdial, and John Stasko
Georgia Institute of Technology

Abstract: We believe that advances in computer science education are most likely to come from careful analysis of common student problems and misconceptions. Research on learning suggests that many learners' problems are due to wrong or incomplete answers that are not arbitrary but originate from a rational and explainable concept of an issue. Our project identifies student problems and provides a range of educational opportunities for addressing these learning problems, which can be cheaply provided through interactive applications on the WWW. We present some of our findings, including typical misconceptions that plague students trying to understand 3D transformations and hidden-surface elimination, and some of the tools that we are creating to facilitate building learning aids.

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