Wednesday 26, April

Education 1: Freshmen and CG

Session chair: Jiri Zara

Session details: Wednesday 26, April, 9:00 – 10:30

Room: Rhône 1

D.G. Balreira, M. Walter, D.W. Fellner

Computer Graphics is a very active field, with new knowledge being published every day at a high rate. There is, therefore, some pressure to regularly review our teaching contents and adjust accordingly. Among the courses on a standard curriculum, the introductory computer graphics course is very often the door for students into the exciting area of computer graphics. It is also the opportunity to attract and engage the best talent for the field. In this paper, we address the question of what we are teaching in the introductory computer graphics course as a community. Our main motivation was to find out how our peers are teaching this first course and use this knowledge to ease the redesign of our introductory course. We have surveyed 20 introductory computer graphics undergraduate courses from higher level educational institutions from around the world. Our source of information was purely online available resources, such as the weekly list of topics, usually provided by the professors themselves. We gathered and processed this data using a bottom-up approach. The final top level list of subjects and percentages for the introductory computer graphics courses is as follows: Rendering (75%), Modeling (14%), Animation (7%), Fundamentals (3%), and Visualization (1%). Although there is a common body of knowledge and proposed standards for an introductory course in computer graphics, we also noticed considerable variation among institutions. We believe this survey will be helpful for institutions considering designing a new introductory course from scratch or redesigning an existing one.

N. A. Dodgson, A. Chalmers

We document the challenge of designing a technical computer graphics course for undergraduate students who have taken only a single undergraduate programming course and have not yet had to take any mathematics beyond high school. This course is the introduction to a major in computer graphics within a Bachelor of Science degree. We needed an introduction to the rigour of computer graphics that would attract students to continue with the major, that would provide a useful foundation for that major, and that could be attempted with minimal prerequisites.

E. F. Anderson

We present a graphics application programming assignment from an introductory programming course with a computer graphics focus. This assignment involves simple image-processing, asking students to write a conversion program that turns images into ASCII Art. Assessment of the assignment is simplified through the use of an interactive grading tool.

Education 2: Techniques and pedagogy

Session chair: Alejandra Magana

Session details: Wednesday 26, April, 13:30 – 15:00

Room: Rhône 1

B. Bürgisser, D. Steiner, and R. Pajarola

In this article, we present bRenderer, a basic educational 3D rendering framework that has resulted from four years of experience in teaching an introductory-level computer graphics course at the University of Zurich. Our renderer is based on the observation that teaching a single basic but comprehensive computer graphics course often means to face the choice between students learning a low-level graphics API bottom-up on one side, or a powerful (game) engine on the other. Solutions between these two extremes tend to be either too rudimentary to easily allow advanced visual effects in student projects, or too abstract to facilitate learning about the underlying principles of computer graphics. Our platform-independent framework abstracts the functionality of its underlying graphics API and libraries to an extent that still preserves the main concepts taught in a computer graphics course. Consequently, bRenderer can be used in student projects, as well as in exercises. It helps students to easily understand how a renderer is implemented without getting distracted by the particular implementation of the framework or platform-specific characteristics.

A. Toisoul, D. Rueckert, B. Kainz

Teaching fundamental principles of Computer Graphics requires a thoroughly prepared lecture alongside practical training. Modern graphics programming rarely provides a straightforward application programming interface (API) and the available APIs pose high entry barriers to students. Shader-based programming of standard graphics pipelines is often inaccessible through complex setup procedures and convoluted programming environments. In this paper we discuss an undergraduate entry level lecture with its according lab exercises. We present a programming framework that makes interactive graphics programming accessible while allowing to design individual tasks as instructive exercises to solidify the content of individual lecture units. The discussed teaching framework provides a well defined programmable graphics pipeline with geometry shading stages and image-based post processing functionality based on framebuffer objects. It is open-source and available online.

F. Liarokapis

In this paper, an activity-led learning approach is applied to computer graphics students at Masaryk University for the Master’s course called ‘Augmented Reality Interfaces’. The scope of this research is to demonstrate the learning effectiveness of augmented reality and project development approaches for higher education teaching. Students were presented with the theoretical background in augmented reality in the classical way (lectures) and were asked to implement the assignment using active learning approaches. The aim of the assignment was to design and implement an augmented reality interface demonstrating various computer graphics aspects which could be used to enhance the teaching process. Their main focus was to concentrate on three aspects: interface design, interaction mediums and collaboration aspects. Data was collected for two consecutive academic years (one semester with 13 weeks per year) and results showed a very high pass-rate as well as increased engagement and student satisfaction. However, students found that this sort of approach is harder than other approaches.

M. Fairén, M. Farrés, J. Moyés, E. Insa

Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) have been gradually introduced in the curriculum of schools given the benefits they bring to classical education. We present an experiment designed to expose students to a VR session where they can directly inspect 3D models of several human organs by using Virtual Reality systems. Our systems allow the students to see the models directly visualized in 3D and to interact with them as if they were real.

The experiment has involved 254 students of a Nursing Degree, enrolled in the Human anatomy and physiology course during 2 years (2 consecutive courses). It includes 10 3D models representing different anatomical structures which have been enhanced with meta-data to help the students understand the structure. In order to evaluate the students’ satisfaction facing such a new teaching methodology, the students were asked to fill in a questionnaire with two categories. The first one measured whether or not, the teaching session using VR facilitates the understanding of the structures. The second one measured the student’s satisfaction with this VR session.

From the results we can see that the items most valuated are the use of the activity as a learning tool, and the satisfaction of the students’ expectations. We can therefore conclude that VR session for teaching is a powerful learning tool that helps to understand the anatomical structures.

Education 3: VR and CGEMS

Session chair: Joaquim Jorge

Session details: Wednesday 26, April, 15:30 – 17:00

Room: Rhône 1

B. Sousa Santos, P. Dias, J. Jerald, T. Takala, J. Zara 

Never before has Virtual and Augmented Reality hardware been so affordable allowing so many new applications of these technologies; however, developing these applications implies specific skills that are not usually acquired in core courses in Computer Science/Engineering. In this context, specific courses introducing the basics on these technologies seem to be most relevant. With this panel we intend to foster a discussion concerning what should an introductory course on Virtual/Augmented Reality be as of 2017. A review of the courses described in literature is presented as well as guidelines issued by professional/scientific associations concerning a basic Virtual Reality course identifying a set of relevant aspects to be considered when organizing such a course.

E. F. Anderson, A. Duchowski, F. Liarokapis, A. Redford

ACM SIGGRAPH and Eurographics are restarting CGEMS, the Computer Graphics Educational Materials Source, an on-line repository of curricular material for computer graphics education. In this context, the question that we ask ourselves is: “How can CGEMS best meet the needs of educators”? The aim of this forum is to provide the audience with an idea of the purpose of CGEMS – a source of educational materials for educators by educators – and to give them an opportunity to contribute their views and ideas towards shaping the new CGEMS. Towards this purpose, we have identified a number of issues to resolve, which the panel will put forward to the participants of the forum for discussion.