“Designing Collaborative Interdisciplinary CG Experiences in the Curriculum” by Lewis, Palazzi, Parent, Tarantino and Zuniga-Shaw

  • ©Matthew Lewis, Maria Palazzi, Richard (Rick) Parent, Mary Tarantino, and Norah Zuniga-Shaw

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    Designing Collaborative Interdisciplinary CG Experiences in the Curriculum

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    In the last twenty years, computer graphics has evolved as a field and become a staple in many educational institutions. However the disciplinary silos of academia have often made it difficult to approach this medium from its strongest advantage, via interdisciplinary collaboration. In addition, off-the-shelf software packages have made it seem as if the disciplines don’t really need each other. Often our teaching focuses on skills because the software remains complex. As a result, our students miss out on experiencing the contextual richness that evolves from working collaboratively across disciplines.

    At the Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design, we have been pioneers in building new ways of learning by seeking connections that once again require interdisciplinary expertise and knowledge. In the early 1970’s Ohio State professor and computer graphics pioneer Charles Csuri conceived of computer graphics as a field that would require a unique and powerful collaboration between the sciences and the arts. From the technology point of view it was a logical necessity that scientists would write it into existence. But Csuri’s foresight and background as a painter told him that this was an important medium for artists too and that science + art = a lot more than one without the other. From this ideal, a research center (CGRG/ACCAD) blossomed and fostered, not only the best of computer science but also accomplished artists and designers from the arts disciplines (dance, design, theatre, art). In the following years, production companies modeled themselves around the paradigm of artistic expression and scientific development, working side by side.

    At OSU we have created a series of academic experiences for our students that integrate disciplinary expertise, formulate new research questions, and require both faculty and students to reach beyond their knowledge domain to formulate new ways of thinking about technology, the arts, and interactivity.


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