Adventure Design Development

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.


Tri-C Math MOOC

Believe IslandI just completed my first MOOC (Massive Open Online Course). It was a developmental math course with Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C). Apparently they received a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and now offer this developmental math course for free!

I’ve been checking out some courses to take this summer on Coursera, and a co-worker of mine pointed out that Tri-C was offering a free MOOC. So I had to sign up and try it out and see just how rusty my math skills had gotten.

The course uses Blackboard and was pretty easy to follow. It was broken up into four levels that you can take at your own leisure, with advancement to the next level upon completing a test at a certain score.

  • Level One – Integer Numbers
  • Level Two – Fractions & Decimals
  • Level Three  – Order of Operations
  • Level Four – Variable Expressions

While I did breeze through the course and completed it in two days, I did realize that I had forgotten how to divide fractions! I’ve been living in a decimal world and it just left me. Luckily the great tutorials shared in the course by Khan Academy got me back up to speed in no time.

Oh, by the way Khan Academy is awesome. So check it out often!

While I wouldn’t really agree that the course offered “game” mechanics, it was structured very well and easy to follow along. The quizzes and tests were very easy to complete and timely.

While I didn’t learn anything new, I was glad to refresh up on some dormant skills and am glad I game this class a shot. It’s a fantastic free resource that I’d highly recommend to anyone looking to brush up or to improve their developmental math skills.