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News Release

UC San Diego Launches edX Channel; Computer Graphics Course Announced

San Diego, CA, June 12, 2015  -- The recently-launched CSE-based Center for Visual Computing, or VisComp, at UC San Diego, confirmed that its first course on the edX learning platform will be taught by the center’s director, computer science professor Ravi Ramamoorthi. The news was part of a formal announcement by UC San Diego that it is partnering with edX, the leading nonprofit, open-source online learning destination that offers online courses to students around the world.

Computer Science Professor, Ravi Ramamoorthi

Under the name UC San DiegoX, the campus will host its first free, non-credited course beginning Aug. 17 on edX. The course, Computer Graphics CSE167x, will be taught by Ramamoorthi (at right), a “returning edX professor and early adopter of the edX platform” while at UC Berkeley, before he joined the Jacobs School of Engineering faculty at UC San Diego last year. As with a similar course originally offered by Berkeley, CSE167x will cover the foundations of computer graphics.

The Computer Graphics course will run for six weeks, consisting of four segments: an overview and basic math needed to get started in graphics; transformations; OpenGL and lighting; and raytracing. The course material involves C++, OpenGL and GLSL programming that is portable, so all students need some type of C++ development environment. “This is a course on the foundations of computer graphics and covers concepts, not the intricacies of a particular software package,” said Ramamoorthi.

Each of the four segments comes with two or three lectures, and each video lecture is between 10 and 20 minutes long. Each lecture will include an individual programming assignment. By the end of the course, students should be able to write complex, interactive and offline 3D graphics programs to create images of 3D scenes with lighting in both real time and with offline raytracing.

The edX course is not for credit, but students who pass the course (by achieving a score of 50% or higher) may obtain a free honor-code certificate from UC San DiegoX. Scores are determined entirely by the programming assignments, and students receive immediate autograder feedback.

Computer Graphics 167x will be the first UC San Diego course on edX under a formal partnership established between the campus and the online platform. UC San Diego faculty, including CSE faculty, have developed courses and sequences for other platforms, notably Coursera.

Cognitive Science Professor, Jeff Elman

In another sign that online learning and massive open online courses (MOOCs) are reaching new audiences, UC San Diego yesterday announced the creation of an Office of Online and Technology Enhanced Education. Part of the Teaching and Learning Commons, the newly-launched initiative is closely aligned with the Commons goals of supporting both instructors and students.

UC San Diego also appointed an inaugural director for the new office: cognitive science professor Jeff Elman, a former dean of the Division of Social Sciences. “EdX is a great partner,” said Elman (at left). “They are very much interested in working with us to develop and innovate the platform.” In his new job, Elman will provide oversight of the university’s online education activities and serve as the institutional liaison with technology platform partners such as edX.

Elman believes that online technology odpens up the possibility of students practicing skills and getting instant feedback, and having personalized experiences that dynamically changes as students learn. This adaptive learning, tailored to the needs of the specific students, is almost impossible to do in a large classroom environment, so to make it happen, “we are looking to the future and one of our goals is to find partners who will be open to innovations that we think are important," noted Elman. "There will doubtless be new models that will emerge in coming years."

Media Contacts

Doug Ramsey
Jacobs School of Engineering

Ioana Patringenaru
Jacobs School of Engineering