My second Coursera MOOC course, Creative Programming for Digital Media and Mobile Apps, which I introduced in this post, is nearing the end. The final set of lectures, for week 6, went up today, and probably covered my favourite subject so far: a basic 808-style sequencer with lots of virtual knob-twiddling (actually slider-wiggling) features. It’s very cool.
I have found the style of the three lecturers, Dr Marco Gillies, Dr Matthew Yee-King and Dr Mick Grierson, really engaging, despite being a little bumpy and informal in delivery occasionally. They clearly know their stuff, and have worked hard to bring the complexities and possibilities of the Processing language to non-experts in a very condensed course. Because of this it has been pretty intense. While I am a relative coding novice, I do have a distant background and understand a good deal of this stuff. I suspect pure creatives will struggle to grasp some of the programming concepts. That said, the team do acknowledge the spread of abilities and give some less elegant methods: this course is about getting groovy things to happen, not computer science.
So I have a week now to develop my final project app. I have no shortage of ideas but from the interim project I have learned that I need to to temper my ambitions with the need to make it work really well, artistically interesting, enjoyable for the audience, and not consume too many hours down rabbit holes of extended functionality that I may struggle with.
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