Each week you should attend two hours of lectures. Each week you should also attend your two hour mixed workshop class (the first hour of this class includes tutorial material; the second hour is practical time). For details of days, times and rooms for classes consult the timetables webpage. Note that mixed workshop classes commence in week 1. You should have selected a mixed workshop class during enrolment. You should attend the mixed workshop class which you are enrolled in. If you do not have a class, or if you wish to change one, you should follow the usual procedures for change of enrolment. Please note that you are expected to attend your mixed workshop class - this is the first place to obtain help with the unit.
Resources to assist your learning
iLearn is your first place to visit for weekly unit information including lectures, workshops, assignment specifications, discussion forums and other resources.
Echo360 Lecture Recordings and live lecture streaming are available - for more information, see the Echo360 student guide. If using lecture recordings, be sure to keep up to date with the lectures each week. The lectures will present material that is relevant to asignments and workshops, so keeping up with lectures is important for your progress in the unit.
The required textbook for this unit is Computer Graphics Programming in OpenGL with Java 2nd edition, by V. Scott Gordon and John Clevenger, 2019. This textbook is available for purchase through Booktopia (which has acquired the University Coop Bookshop). It is also available as an ebook in the library.
There are a number of online resources about OpenGL. You can use http://www.opengl.org/, as your starting point or use Google to look for specific items. The JOGL interface to OpenGL is described at https://jogamp.org/.
Technology used and required
We will use Java JDK, Eclipse and JOGL to develop and debug OpenGL programs. See iLearn for more details.
We will be using the University's online learning system iLearn. Students should check COMP3170 on iLearn regularly for updates.
We will use the forums hosted within iLearn. Feel free to post questions there. Important announcements (such as tips and clarifications on assignments) will often be posted there.
Teaching and learning strategy
COMP3170 is taught via lectures in a lecture room and live streamed, and mixed workshop classes in a laboratory. The work you do and the feedback that you receive play a crucial role in your learning. Lectures are used to introduce new material, give examples of the use of programming methods and techniques and put them in a wider context. Furthermore, to highlight the relationship between teaching, research and learning, an advanced topic will occasionally be introduced during the lectures. This additional material will not be examined as such but may prove useful to complete the assignments.
You learn by processing concepts, not just by hearing them. Mixed workshop classes are small group classes in the laboratories which give you the opportunity to do exactly that by interacting with a tutor who has a sound knowledge of the subject and with your peers. This also gives you a chance to practice your programming skills. You have many opportunities to seek and to receive feedback. During lectures, you are encouraged to ask the lecturer questions to clarify anything you might not be sure of. Each week, you will be given problems to solve in the mixed workshop classes. The discussion and the solutions provided will help you to understand the material in the unit, to do the work for the assignments, and to prepare you for the final exam. It is important that you keep up with these problems every week. Each week you should:
- Attend lectures, take notes, ask questions
- Study the on-line lecture slides/notes and textbook as directed by the lecturer
- Attend your mixed workshop class and seek feedback from your tutor on your work
- Attempt the weekly online quiz and study/seek assistance with any questions that you do not know how to answer correctly
- Start working on any assignments as soon as they have been released.
Time management and programming
COMP3170 is a ten credit point unit. You are therefore expected to spend approximately ten hours per week on this unit, including the study break weeks - 150 hours in total. Since each week each student should attend three hours of lectures, and attend a two hour mixed workshop, the remaining five hours per week will be spent on private study and assigned assessable work outside of class. A significant portion of the outside time will be spent on programming. Mastering some basic skills early in the semester can save you tenfold in time and energy. In particular, many students have difficulty managing large projects and have problems with some of the trickier aspects of OpenGL in Java. The textbook provides a good introduction to OpenGL and JOGL - read it!
You cannot learn graphics programming - or any kind of programming for that matter - simply by reading a textbook. You could make a start by copying some of the programs from the unit website, then modifying and running the programs to gain an understanding of how they work. Make sure you try to understand each line of code. Programming is a science and an art; it is not magic. The assignments in this unit could take many hours to complete. Don't expect to complete any of the assignments over a single weekend. Start each assignment early, get some basic functionality going, and try to become proficient in the parts of OpenGL that will be necessary for the assignment. It is often a good idea to write sample programs that let you test a single feature you are exploring before embedding it in the large project.