Thursday, April 8, 2021
A Message from Terri Graham, Interim President, West and Downtown Campuses
Jerry Reed knows how to capture his students’ interests: through an interesting marriage of programming and art.
“I have taken an increasingly ‘artistic’ approach in most of my classes over the last few years,” said Jerry, professor, computer programming and analysis. “I don’t claim to be any sort of artist, but I have always found that students liked coding programs with graphical output and found them interesting and engaging.”
Jerry recently had an opportunity to describe his teaching methods as well as showcase his students’ work during a presentation he shared recently at the Virtual Innovations Conference hosted by the League for Innovation in the Community College. To view Jerry’s presentation, click here.
“The approach that I describe has the students in my classes collaborating asynchronously on coding ‘crowd-sourced’ graphic software,” Jerry explained.
“In these projects, online students program a graphic design that they share with other students via Canvas discussions, and all students then code a composite design of their own choosing, composed of graphical code ‘blocks’ posted by other students.”
Jerry added that incorporating visuals into his coding lessons has resulted in better engaged students and reduced incentives to “copy and paste” code. The approach incorporates a concept known as generative art into teaching.
Generative art refers to art that in whole or in part has been created with the use of an autonomous system (i.e. something created by machine rather than by a human).
A sample of Jerry’s students’ programming work, which makes use of visualizations, can be seen above.
The Innovations Conference, now in its 23rd year, is the foremost convening for professionals dedicated to improving and enhancing teaching and learning, leadership and management, and the community college experience.
The event also provides a forum for collaboration among academic experts and thought leaders, while granting participants exclusive access to the most inventive and inspirational community college programs from around the world.
Jerry has also presented on this topic during Valencia’s Learning Day. In addition, he has had the opportunity to present at other events hosted by the League, such as its STEMtech conference.
He said he finds these gatherings helpful and conducive to better teaching.
“I usually find it a good spot to find out what leading community colleges are doing recently,” he said.