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Revamp Computer Education With Multimedia And Game Technologies

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Computer Education Innovations II

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.1039.1 - 15.1039.8



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Paper Authors


Suxia Cui Prairie View A&M University

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Dr. Suxia Cui is an assistant professor in the department of Engineering Technology at Prairie
View A&M University. She received her BS and MS in Electrical Engineering from Beijing
Polytechnic University in 1997 and 1999 respectively. She received her Ph.D. in Computer
Engineering from Mississippi State University in 2003. Her research interests include digital
signal processing, data compression, image processing, video coding, and wavelets.

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Yonghui Wang Prairie View A&M University

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Dr. Yonghui Wang received the B.S. degree in technical physics from Xidian University, Xan,
China, in 1993, the M.S. degree in electrical engineering from Beijing Polytechnic University,
Beijing, China, in 1999, and the Ph.D. degree in computer engineering from Mississippi State
University, Starkville, MS, in 2003. From 1993 to 1996, he was an Engineer with the 41st
Electrical Research Institute, Bengbu, China. From 2000 to 2003, he was a research assistant with
the Visualization, Analysis, and Imaging Laboratory (VAIL), the GeoResources Institute (GRI),
Mississippi State. He is currently an Assistant Professor with the Department of Engineering
Technology, Prairie View A&M University, Prairie View, TX. His research interests include
image and signal processing, and image and video coding.

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Siew Koay Prairie View A&M University

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Dr. S. T. Koay is currently professor at Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Prairie View A&M University. His current research interests are analytical modeling for spatial tracking of mobile objects for real time applications, statistical signal processing, modeling and simulation.

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Yonggao Yang Prairie View A&M University

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Yonggao Yang is an associate professor in the Department of Computer Science at Prairie View A&M University in Texas. He joined the CS Department at PVAMU as an Assistant Professor in August 2002 immediately upon receiving a Ph.D. degree in Information Technology & Computer Science from George Mason University. His research interests include computer graphics, scientific visualization and virtual reality, computer animation, distributed virtual environments, and computer networks.

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Revamp Computer Education with Multimedia and Game Technologies Abstract

The booming computer technology has changed our daily lives dramatically in the past decade. We witnessed the microprocessor changing from 8-bit to 64-bit and the display from monochrome monitor to millions of colors LCD screen. However, the teaching of college level computer classes does not catch up with the pace. This widens the gap between advanced computing technology and the college computer education. Especially facing the fact that today’s youngsters are grown up in a computerized multimedia world – they are enthusiasts of internet, video games, ipod, MySpace, face book, and etc. even before they enter college. Having known lots of popular fancy applications using computer techniques, their expectation of their first computer class is not the same as students of twenty years ago. But the struggling for their first computing class in college resulted in low retention rate reported by many institutions.

To address this issue, a group of faculty members from computing discipline investigated to teach the traditional topics of computer courses unconventionally. Instead of working in a console environment (with text-based outputs), we explored new teaching approaches that allow students to learn computing by writing programs that produce graphics, manipulate images, working with audio and video, and developing computer games. Focuses are placed on students’ first computing class in two categories: Engineering major and non-Engineering major. C++ is the computing fundamental class for engineering majors. In order to avoid overwhelming students with game theory or the intricacies of a graphics library such as DirectX or OpenGL, we used the Microsoft product, Dark GDK (a free library that makes graphics programming simple enough for beginners), as the platform, so that students can focus on the fundamentals while creating interesting graphics and game programs. While covering the fundamental topics (such as data types, variables, input, output, control structures, functions, arrays, files classes, and objects), students learn to draw with primitive graphics, load and manipulate images, create sprites and animations, play music and sound effects. For non-engineering majors, the course is non C++ based computer application course. We choose Vizard—a popular virtual reality programming environment—to design course teaching modules to make the course learning full of fun since there is no need to teach this group of students as software developers, instead, they should be taught as tool modifiers.

In this project, faculty members developed new course modules and introduced them into the corresponding computing classes. Preliminary results were obtained and obstacles were discussed, and in the future, we are going to develop more new course modules and also involve more computing courses to be enhanced.


Teaching computer courses is challenging these days since this generation of students witnessed the fast development and wide spread of computer techniques. Most of them are already enthusiasts in popular computer applications, such as video games. However, the teaching of college level computer classes does not change much. This enlarges the gap between

Cui, S., & Wang, Y., & Koay, S., & Yang, Y. (2010, June), Revamp Computer Education With Multimedia And Game Technologies Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16560

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