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Creative Techniques for Developing E-Learning Software for Computer

Graphics

Rajiv Dharaskar

Department of Computer Technology

MP Institute of Engineering & Technology, Gondia, MS, India 441614

rvdharaskar@rediffmail.com

Rajesh Dixit

Department of Electronics Engineering

MP Institute of Engineering & Technology, Gondia, MS, India 441614

rrdixit@yahoo.com

P. S. Mendole

Department of Computer Technology,

MP Institute of Engineering & Technology, Gondia, MS, India 441614

psmendole@rediffmail.com

Vishwajit Bajpayee

Department of Computer Technology,

MP Institute of Engineering & Technology, Gondia, MS, India 441614

bajpayee@rediffmail.com

Nilesh Choube

Department of Computer Technology,

MP Institute of Engineering & Technology, Gondia, MS, India 441614

nchoube@rediffmail.com

Abstract

The Computer Graphics is one of the core & difficult subjects of Computer discipline. To teach the working

of the complicated algorithms using blackboard is a difficult task because it involves complicated data

structures as well as constraints from computer hardware. On the top of this, three dimensional concepts

can not be explained with the help of traditional black board teaching techniques. To develop the e-

learning product for such subject is a challenging task. This paper describes innovative e-learning

methods, tools and techniques to develop effective e-learning product for this subject.

1. Introduction

The Computer Graphics is the core subject of computer stream. It is one of the difficult subjects for

teaching as well as learning. To understand this subject the knowledge of computer programming language

(C, C++, Java, DirectX, OpenGL, 3D Java API etc), data structure, advanced coordinate geometry and

computer hardware is needed. In many universities the students can opt the computer graphics subject only

after successful completion of course module on mathematics. On the top of that the data structure itself is

the difficult core subject. That is not all; the computer graphics is totally dependent on computer hardware.

In addition to this power of 3-D visualization plays important role. All these are interlinked. To teach one

topic many times the knowledge of other topics are required. For example, the knowledge of display

adapter cards, VDU memory, Random Access Memory, working of microprocessor, DAC Registers etc. is

needed to teach the preliminary concepts like pixel, Frame Buffer Array, bit planes, Text/Graphics modes,

Color palettes, Interlacing, and even the simplest DDA and Bresenham line drawing algorithms. The

advanced topics like Transformations, Polygon filling, Hidden line removal cannot be taught properly

without knowing the above mentioned preliminary concepts. Thus to develop the e-learning software for

this subject is always a challenging task [1] [2].

This paper describes a very effective technique for developing e-learning software for such a difficult

subject. To achieve this goal, the entire syllabus of this subject has been divided into four parts namely

algorithms, 2d/3d Graphics (Transformations), 3d Graphics, Working of Computer Graphics System. For

each task different e-learning techniques have been developed [3] [4] [5].

2. Techniques for Computer Graphics Algorithms

Fig 1. Main Screen Fig 2. Simulation

2.1. First Phase

The algorithms consume more than 50% teaching time for this subject. It is difficult to visualize the

working of these algorithms with the help of blackboard. To understand the logic of algorithms, the student

must know the effect of algorithm on drawing object in a step by step manner. The pseudo simulation of

the algorithm is the better technique teaching these algorithms [17]. In the first phase the pseudo

simulation technique has been developed with the help of MS PowerPoint as shown in figure 1 & 2. This

simulation shows every step of the algorithm and its effect diagrammatically. Generally 10 hours are

required to teach 15 important algorithms of this subject. Using this technique just one and half hour is

more than sufficient. It shows the efficiency of this method [6].

2.2 Second Phase

The MS PowerPoint has been preferred in the first phase because after feedback of students the necessary

modification can be done instantly. In addition to this, these PowerPoint slides can be utilized directly to

develop web based e-learning system through Reusable Learning Objects (RLO) with the help of SCORM

(Shareable Content Object Reference Model) specifications and Open Source Learning Management

System like Moodle [19]. The design part of this phase is completed and implementation is under process

[7].

2.3 Third Phase

According IDC (International Data Corporations), in 2003 the number of mobile phones exceeds the

number of PC in the world. On the top of this, the internet access through mobile/handheld devices is far

greater than desktop computers. Thus the m-learning (mobile learning) will be next generation of e-

learning. Many mobile/handheld devices can be used for m-learning like mobile phones, extensible mobile

phones, smart phones, laptops, notebooks, tablet PCs, PDAs, and Pocket PCs etc. The m-learning needs

totally different programming techniques. The planning of m-learning has been started for this phase using

Midlets with the help of J2ME (Java 2 for Micro Edition), Java Toolkit as well as through Macromedia

Flash Lite 1.1 for mobile devices. It will take one more year to complete this phase.

3. Two-Dimensional Graphics

3.1. First Phase

According to Gardners theory there are 7 types of learners and one third students are visual learners. This

means 2/3 are not visual learners. To teach, two/three dimensional graphic, to these category of students is

quite difficult using traditional methods like blackboard [18].

For 2-D/3D transformations, the new technique has been developed using C language. This software

demonstrates every type of two dimensional transformations for user selected shape. To draw this shape the

user provides the coordinates of vertices. The software shows original and transformed shape as shown in

figure 3 & 4. To teach entire two dimensional transformations minimum 12 hours are required. Using this

technique just 1 hour is sufficient. It’s a open source code, thus students can learn more by studying the C

coding of this program [8] [9] [10].

3.2. Second & Third Phase

The software will be converted into Java Applet for web based e-learning solution. For developing more

effective software Flash and Java combination will be used [11] [12] [13]. Again for M-Learning the design

process for third phase has been started.

Fig 3. Rotation by 270 degree Fig 4. Enlargment

4. Three Dimensional Graphics

The three dimensional graphics visualization is the most challenging task for the students. To demonstrate

this concept presently Rhino 2.0 software has been used (Figure 5). This software supports very useful

command line user interface. After drawing the object, it can be viewed by any angle. Even it supports

three dimensional views as well rotation facility. On the same line the development of Java Applet has been

started. It involves very complicated mathematics and will require 6 moths to develop [14 [15] [16].

5. Working of Computer Graphics System

The working of the computer graphics system has been simulated with the help of Flash and Java. As

compare to above techniques it is simple but time consuming job.

Fig 5. Rhino 2.0 Screen Shot

Conclusion

The innovative e-learning techniques have drastically reduced the teaching time of computer graphics. The

experience shows that these e-learning techniques make the teaching-learning process 4 times faster than

classroom teaching. This new method is more effective than traditional methods of teaching. It also helps a

lot for the memory retention process of students for this subject. The computer graphics is very complicated

subject and thus only 60% classroom teaching can be replaced using these techniques.

References

[1] Rosalee Wolfe, “Bringing the Introductory Computer Graphics Course into the 21st Century”

http://condor.depaul.edu/~rwolfe/research/pdf/GVE99.pdf

[2] Ching-Kuang Shene, “Teaching and Learning Computer Graphics Made Easy with GraphicsMentor”

http://imej.wfu.edu/articles/2002/2/07/index.asp

[3] B. Pham, J. Nunn*, I. Anderson, H. Mays, D. Bell, “Interactive Multimedia Software for Teaching

Computer Graphics”

http://www.ascilite.org.au/conferences/adelaide96/papers/33.html

[4] Scott Grissom, “Middle-Out Approach to Teaching Computer Graphics with uisGL”,

http://www.uis.edu/~grissom/UISGL

[5] Bing-Yu Chen, National Taiwan University, Computer Graphics

http://www.cmlab.csie.ntu.edu.tw/~robin/courses/

[6] Supporting the Teaching of Computer Graphics, Visualization, Multimedia and Virtual Environments,

Workshop Report 1996

http://www.agocg.ac.uk/wshop/28/28.pdf

[7] Rosalee Wolfe, DePaul University, New Possibilities in the Introductory Graphics Course for Computer

Science, May 1999

http://condor.depaul.edu/~rwolfe/research/pdf/CDMay99EdColumn.pdf

[8] Rosalee Wolfe, DePaul University, A Syllabus Survey: Examining the State of Current Practice in

Introductory Computer Graphics Courses, Feb 1999,

http://condor.depaul.edu/~rwolfe/research/pdf/CGFeb99EdColumn.pdf

[9] Gustav Taxén, “Teaching Computer Graphics Constructively”, Proceedings of ACM SIGGRAPH 2003

Educators Program,

http://cid.nada.kth.se/pdf/cid-225.pdf

[10] M. Walter, A. Frery, Carla M.D.S. Freitas, L´EO P. Magalh ˜A ES, Luiz Velho, “PANEL: Teaching

Computer Graphics in Brazil”

http://inf.unisinos.br/~marcelow/papers/sibgrapi2000/teachingcg.pdf

[11] André Luiz Battaiola, Nassim Chamel Elias, Rodrigo de Godoy Domingues, “Edugraph: Software to

Teach Computer Graphics Concepts”,

http://csdl.computer.org/comp/proceedings/sibgrapi/2002/1846/00/18460427.pdf

[12] Gustavo Augusto Gomes1, Isabel Harb Manssour2, “SIECG – An Interactive Tool to Teach Computer

Graphics”

http://www.vision.ime.usp.br/~sibgrapi2003/posters/p028.pdf

[13] G. Scott Owen, “HyperGraph: Using Hypermedia to Teach Computer Graphics”

[14] L. W. Pettersson, N. Jensen, S. Seipel, “A Virtual Laboratory for Computer Graphics Education”,

http://www.aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.ettersson_virtual_laboratory.pdf

[15] G. Scott Owen, “Teaching computer graphics using RenderMan”, Proceedings of the twenty-third

SIGCSE technical symposium on Computer science education, 1992, Pp 304 - 308

[16] Cary Laxer, “A Student Team Research Project Approach To the Second Course in Computer

Graphics”,

http://virtual.inesc.pt/cge02/pdfs/laxer.pdf

[17] Rajiv Dharaskar, “Generalized Pseudo Algorithms Simulation Technique (PAST) for E-Learning to

Develop Data Structures Algorithms Simulation Software”, Microsoft Research Conference “The 7th

International Conference on Information Technology (CIT) 2004, Dec 2004

[18] Rajiv Dharaskar, “E-Pedagogy: The Heart of Today’s E-Learning”, International Conference on ICT

(Information & Communication Technology) in Education & Development, Bhopal, 16-18 Dec 2004

[19] Open Source LMS Moodle

http://moodle.org