|Do you really want to
||CPSC 581 is an unconventional course,
because it is set up, as much as possible, as a 'design studio'. As such, it
makes unusual demands upon students. What this really means is that you
should take 581 only if you are keen on it.
- Longer than usual class times. The class time and the labs
are merged together into a single class time of about 2 1/4 hours twice a week.
Classes are 'compulsory' in the sense that if you don't go to classes, I
will likely ask you to drop out.
- Mixed class content. The class will vary between
traditional lectures, lab-type lectures where you are learning about
technologies and trying them at the same time, demonstrations that you give
to others, and coding time.
- Active participation through demonstrations and critiques.
Assignments are in stages. You will be demonstrating your work to
the class at regular intervals, and participating in critiquing other
people's work. That is, you will be an active participant in the class, and
your work will be very visible to all.
- Intensive coding in unfamiliar areas. Assignments are in unusual areas of computer science.
learn new technologies for each assignment, and you will be doing quite
a bit of coding (some of it hard) to get things to work. If you are trying
to avoid coding, or if you are taking other heavy courses and don't
have much time, this may not be the course for you.
- More than coding. For each assignment, you have to produce
sketches of your ideas, and a 'visual summary' of it i.e., typically a web
site that visually documents your work product, that includes downloadable
code, and so on. This summary also includes specific deliverables e.g., a
video, a descriptive pamphlet or product box, etc. These have to have
aesthetic value, and thus takes quite a bit of time to do.
- Rapid assignment turnaround. Assignments are done in
stages with deliverables at each stage i.e., every
class or two. This means that you have to be on top of your assignments. You
will have to work on them continuously rather than in bursts.
- Extremely high expectations. Students have done amazing
things in this course - I have shown many assignments at conferences and
wrote about them in papers. Because everything you do is 'public' to the
other students, there is intensive friendly competition to do well.
Excellent assignments are the norm --- I really mean this!
- Independent work. All assignments are quite open ended. We
give you a rough indication of what we expect, but its up to you to create
your own ideas. This means you have to be ready to propose and follow
through on your own ideas.
- No team projects. You are responsible for all aspects of
your assignments. While the rest of the class will see and critique your work, ultimately its on your shoulders to
produce all deliverables.
|Who usually gets into
The course has limited enrollment, and admission is by permission of the instructor. This makes admission highly competitive. I usually interview students
if they meet a minimum criteria. The following factors affect admission.
- Strong GPA. Because of the demands of this course, I usually
interview only students who have a strong GPA (e.g., at least a B).
- Has taken 481. If you have not taken it yet but are
enrolled, I will be telling the class about it sometimes in mid-term. That
is the time to apply.
- Good results in CPSC 481. If you did poorly in 481, you
likely would do poorly in this course.
- Motivated. This is an advanced course, and I look for
students who are enthusiastic and motivated about this subject.
- Experience in arts. Because of its creative nature, students
with experience in other 'arts' disciplines are usually better prepared for
this course. Things I look for are background in art
(painting/sketching/pottery etc), or performing arts (dance, music), or
graphical design, or creative interface design. While this is not a
requirement, I do tend to favor students with this background if all
else is equal.
|What you need to do.
- Reread the above. Consider the amount of work the course
demands and your interest level. Are you still keen? Do you fit the
expected requirements ? Have you completed 481?
- Email me to tell me about your interest. Include your
full name, student number, GPA, how you faired in 481, and any related experiences
you have in the arts and design. This is an informal note... I am not
expecting a resume.
- Interview. Based on the above, I may invite you for an
interview (by phone or face to face). I will use this time to talk to
you about the course and to sound out your background. If you have any
work products (e.g., 481, or even artistic pieces) bring them.