About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 2530-2535
Publication year: 2009
ISBN: 978-84-612-7578-6
ISSN: 2340-1079

Conference name: 3rd International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 9-11 March, 2009
Location: Valencia, Spain


J. Oliver, A. del Moral

University of Deusto (SPAIN)
Computer Graphics is one of the fields of computing that has most dramatically changed in the last decade, and the design of higher education courses must keep up with this pace. In this paper we describe our view about what kind of Computer Graphics should be taught today to tomorrow’s software engineers.

We teach at the Engineering Faculty of the University of Deusto in Bilbao. Ours is an institution founded in 1886 with a long tradition in Humanities and Law studies. The Engineering Faculty has more than 100 teachers and about 2200 students and offers among others, a degree in Computer Engineering in five years in addition to MSc. and PhD. programs. Our computer engineering degree stresses the importance of practical work by asking the students to produce a substantial project during their last year.

All computer science students take, during their second year, a 3.5 ECTS course called "Interaction with Computers", which introduces the subject of interactive computer graphics. In addition to that, and during their third year, students receive a 5 ECTS course called "Computer Graphics" that builds on the previous one and deals with 3D and realistic graphics.

The lab for these courses has a LAN of 60 PC computers running under Windows. Computer engineering students are required to have their own PC at home, so that the programming workload for the assignments can be higher than the lab hours available for each course. What should Computer Graphics courses in computer engineering curricula prepare students for? We could identify three levels at which to work when creating graphics with a computer:

· The bottom level would be to write graphics algorithms from scratch, and put the result directly into the frame buffer. This type of low level programming was common in the early days of computer graphics, and is nowadays rarely used when developing final user applications.

· The medium level is to use a computer language like C and a graphics library. The application programmer asks the library for drawing services (and some input handling also) and concentrates in developing the application kernel.

· The high level is to generate the graphics with an end user application.

This classification is rough and arguable. The medium level could be further subdivided depending on the sophistication of the programming environment, and some end user applications are programmable, thus blurring the frontier between the last two categories. None the less, it serves our purposes. At which level will our students be working? In their professional career, will our students be using graphics applications, designing and implementing graphics applications, writing graphics libraries...? Depending on the answer a different approach should be used both in lectures and assignments. In the rest of the article, we will describe our approach to teaching this subject.
author = {Oliver, J. and del Moral, A.},
series = {3rd International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2009 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-612-7578-6},
issn = {2340-1079},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {9-11 March, 2009},
year = {2009},
pages = {2530-2535}}
AU - J. Oliver AU - A. del Moral
SN - 978-84-612-7578-6/2340-1079
PY - 2009
Y1 - 9-11 March, 2009
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 3rd International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2009 Proceedings
SP - 2530
EP - 2535
ER -
J. Oliver, A. del Moral (2009) COMPUTER GRAPHICS IN ENGINEERING STUDIES, INTED2009 Proceedings, pp. 2530-2535.