## Archive for August 14, 2013

### Experiences with Media Computation at U. Adelaide

Katrina Falkner has written up an excellent reflection (with gorgeous example student work) on her new MediaComp course at the University of Adelaide. I loved the artwork she shared, and I was particularly struck by the points she made about the value of “slowness” of the language, the challenges of helping students decontextualize programming after learning MediaComp, and the *students* complaining about using a curriculum “not invented here.”

The students didn’t really like working with Jython as it was very slow, but this had an unintended consequence, in that they became aware of the efficiency of their algorithms. I don’t think I have ever taught a first year course where students introduced efficiency as a discussion point on their own initiative. However, when working with their own images, which could sometimes be huge, they had to start thinking about whether there was a better way of solving their problems. I think this was a big win.

Creativity and ownership. The last assignment we ran was a group assignment, where the students had to develop a piece of art using and extending the techniques they had learnt in the course. This was fantastic. We had run a similar assignment in previous years where the students developed JavaScript games, and that worked reasonably well, but I think Media Computation produced a better result as the outcomes were more individual, and creative. The students had a lot more fun sharing their results.

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