Maria Jung - PCC

Final Report

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I. Abstract
During the STEER summer program, the participant learned the basic functions of Open GL, Visual C++ and 3D Studio Max, explored the possibility of incorporating three different-level software programs, and developed a computer program that displays a three dimensional model in OpenGL, a high-performance graphic language environment in which users can interact with a 3D model. This experience will enable the participant to give community college students greater exposure to the world of software development beyond the off-the-shelf packages they are used to using.

II. Introduction
Students entering the Computer Science area typically lack exposure to how software applications are constructed and used. They often think that programming means simply learning a computer language. Further, the scope of their understanding about what software can do is limited to office and graphics programs or games. The 3DS Loader project addresses both these issues. The participant in the Strengthen Teachers’ Education in Engineering and Research summer program at California State University Los Angeles (the STEER program) explored how to incorporate three software programs in order to develop a computer program in which users can interact with a 3D model. The 3D file format used was .3ds.The software programs were Open GL, Visual C++ and 3D Studio Max.

During the STEER summer program, the participant learned the basic functions of Open GL, Visual C++ and 3D Studio Max. The STEER program demonstrated how various software at different levels (e.g., high level, low level) can be used to achieve a programming goal. Moreover, the STEER program exposed the participant to the way such software is used in image filtering simulation. This will enable the participant to give community college students greater exposure to the world of software development beyond the off-the-shelf packages they are used to encountering.

III. Project Goals and Objectives
The Principal Investigators at California State University stated that the goal of the program as following:
The expected result was to learn software packages such as Open GL, Visual C++, and the 3D Studio Max as well as learn various applications for these programs. The proposed program offers an excellent opportunity for the teachers and community college professors to learn about the dynamics and basic control methods of a space telescope. In addition, the participants will be trained to use software packages such as Open GL, Visual C++, and the 3D Studio Max. With the knowledge gained, the participants upon return to their campus can enrich the content in courses offered in the areas of physics, mathematics, and astronomy.

IV. Implementing the Curriculum Revisions
The computer program, 3DS Loader, will be presented in introductory computer information systems (CIS) classes at Pasadena City College during the 2003-2004 academic year. This example will help the students understand how software applications are constructed and used. The participant is in the process of developing a new curriculum in an interactive media area and can incorporate the 3DS Loader example into the future curriculum. The summer research will have an impact on both these areas because the participant will be able to draw from a richer reservoir of experiences and examples for the students. The primary benefit will be the ability to expose students to new approaches and challenge their preconceptions about how software development takes place and what it is used for.

V. Instructional Resources to Be Used
The participant will develop a new lesson to present and describe the 3DS loader. This lesson requires preparation with the teacher station in the classroom including installation of required software. The implementation during the 2003-2004 academic year will be a lecture. For the new curriculum, hands-on laboratory can be designed.
VI. Program Support Requirements and Budget
The license fee for the software (Visual C++, 3D Studio Max) is the major expense for the curriculum innovation requirements. A lab technician’s hourly fee for installing the required software and purchasing reference books is another expense.

Possible solutions include the following; 1) Use the computer lab designed for programming classes that has Visual C++, if available 2) Use free 3D modeling alternatives instead of 3D Studio Max and 3) Use internal personnel for the lab installation such as Computing Services.
VII. Student Outcomes
The greatest impact on students will be their understanding of how software development can be used in a variety of contexts. Students often have a narrow view about the Computer Science careers in which they think they will get a programming job in companies that develop consumer application software. In reality, the computer is simply a tool to process data and there are many opportunities in which programming can play a significant role even in jobs without a programming title. The research examples collected through the STEER program will make it clear that in the engineering and other areas, there can be various opportunities to create custom software to solve mathematically-based problems.

VIII. References
3D Studio Format, http://www.dcs.ed.ac.uk/home/mxr/gfx/3d/3DS.spec
Activity Description. Email sent Wednesday, May 07, 2003 by Charles Liu,
Webopeia (online encyclopedia in computer technology) http://www.webopedia.com/

Appendix

1. Research Ethics
The STEER program provided two sessions on research ethics. Dr. Beyon’s presentation covered how one establishes priorities in engineering. Dr. Dunfee’s covered several situations in which there was ethical ambiguity (for example, conflict of interest concerns, research competition concerns).

2. Value of the RET
The STEER program was valuable for three reasons. First, the program gave me an opportunity to collect technology examples that are useful for my teaching. Second, the program put me in the position of a student which caused me to reflect about how best to teach adult learners. Third, the STEER program helped me create a valuable network of instructors from neighboring high schools, community colleges, and a state university. This network is an excellent resource for finding out about students and also for seeking further interdisciplinary and interschool opportunities for my students. For example, I have already discussed with two other participants the possibility of developing joint programs.

3. Overview of the RET
The highlight of the program was access to many experts in the science, engineering, and technology areas. What could be more strengthened is to target the program to experienced professional adult instructors who have different needs than typical students. Using multi-tiered, project-based learning can be a benefit in this regard.