June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
Computers in Education
15.1039.1 - 15.1039.8
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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