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Creative Programming for Digital Media & Mobile Apps

I really wanted to take a course on Coursera this summer to learn something new. Learning stuff for the sake of learning is great. So after checking out what was being offered this summer, Creative Programming for Digital Media & Mobile Apps from the University of London International Programmes caught my eye. It sounded like some fun stuff.

The course was pretty nice. No additional materials were required besides downloading some open source software (Processing, Audacity, etc.). With video lectures posted every week and discussion forums to ask and answer questions.

The first week of the course started a bit rough. Setting up a working environment can always be tough, and it seemed that many were having similar issues in the forums. There were some coding errors in a few of the early examples that were giving me issues. Most notably the javascript examples. This was a pain to deal with, especially early on. But luckily, I’m a skilled enough coder already to of figured out and fixed it for myself. If I wasn’t already comfortable coding, I probably would have left the course though.

The remaining weeks the coding issues disappeared and it was much easier to follow along with the lectures. The video lectures were great and of very good quality. The instructors were easy to follow and a bit funny as well.

The quizzes and assignments were great too. Though I really aimed a bit too low with my first assignment, doing the peer reviews really had me step up what I’d do for my final assignment.

With the suggestion of a friend I decided to re-create Donkey.bas (the original DOS game) using Processing. I found a video of it being played on YouTube and just went from there.

It does have some gaming flaws as speed picks up still, and has been formatted to a mobile devices screen size. But overall I thought it turned out ok, and kept the cheesiness of an early 80’s DOS game.

All in all I was very satisfied with my experience with taking this class. If you’re into learning something new and don’t really care about a degree or grades to prove it (so overrated to me), then I can’t imagine there’s ever been a better time to gain new knowledge. It’s really an amazing time to be around with all the information so readily available.

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