MOOCs give taster to pioneering Computer Science degree

Academics from Goldsmiths, University of London have created two new Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) to give students a taste of a pioneering web-based degree in Computer Science.

The two Moocs, entitled Introduction to Computer Programming and How Computers Work, are now available to students all over the world.

Delivered by online learning platform Coursera, the MOOCs are designed to prepare students for the world-first BSc in Computer Science which has been designed by Goldsmiths and is being offered by the University of London.

The Introduction to Computer Programming MOOC gives participants foundation skills to write computer programs in programming language, as well as learning to create 2D and interactive graphics.

Lead instructor Dr Simon Katan, Lecturer in Computing, said: “In Introduction to Computer Programming, learners will be approaching the fundamentals of code through practical and creative exercises, and also explore how coders think and feel. We’ve drawn on our many years of teaching experience to deliver some cutting-edge pedagogy including our code adventure game Sleuth.”

The How Computers Work MOOC is designed for learners who are proficient with computers, smartphones and the internet but wish to improve their understanding of how they work, or go on to study computer science.

On this MOOC, learners can acquire key computer skills that can be applied to word processing applications, e-commerce, the internet and websites.

Instructor and Senior Lecturer in Computing Dr Marco Gillies said: “I’m really excited to be working with the University of London and Coursera to create a new way of learning computer science for the 21st Century.

“We’re bringing together the best learning technologies and the best teaching techniques to create a fantastic computer science learning experience for anyone, anywhere in the world.”

He added: “How Computers Work will introduce you to some fundamental computer science concepts and you’ll find out how they apply to the kind of computer applications you use every day. It’s a great foundation for starting to study computer science, but it will also give you a better understanding of the technologies that are so important to modern life.”

Sam Brenton, Director of Educational Innovation and Development for the University of London’s distance and flexible learning programmes, said: “This is an exciting time for the University as it prepares to launch one of its most innovative programmes, the BSc Computer Science.

“We anticipate a very broad appeal for this degree programme from students all over the world; not just those working in the technical field but also those from other industries.”


This post was originally written by Tom Morgan for Goldsmiths News

Simon Katan’s ‘Clamour’ at the Roundhouse

Head of Creative Computing, Simon Katan writes about the premier of his work ‘Clamour’ at the Roundhouse in Camden

Last Thursday my work Clamour premiered at the Roundhouse Camden’s Sackler Space. The work is an interactive mixed media theatre performance for live coder which is experienced simultaneously through audience smartphones, projection and sound. The aim is to wryly and reflexively interrogate how technology and social media mediate and influence our knowledge, relationships, and identities. 

 

The piece tells the story of Sealand – a lone outpost surrounded by vast swathes of ocean – the sole surviving nation of global catastrophe. Now faced with an existential fight for its future, its people must forge the tools they require. New rules must be written, paving the way for a new state of being. With their resourcefulness and through working together what could go wrong? Throughout the performance, an inscrutable figure on stage (that’s me) controls all from their laptop – shaping divergent audience experiences with heuristic games that charm, frustrate and deceive. Yet it is the audience themselves, through gameplay with image, sound, and text, who determine the shape of the final performance.

 

I’ve been working on elements of the piece through various commissions over the last five years, and for this final stage I collaborated with digital artist Luke Fraser to bring everything together. Our development process involved numerous user testing sessions with Goldsmiths computing students to fine tune our interaction.

 

After a nerve wracking 15 minutes of dealing with the usual Wifi difficulties, the performance got underway. In such a performance it’s difficult to gauge reactions but a sprinkling of chuckles throughout gave me a good indication that things were progressing to plan. Read a review here http://www.savageonline.co.uk/our-journal/clamour/

 

A programme of regional touring is planned for Spring and Summer of 2019. You can find out more at clamour.org.uk.

Welcome! Goldsmiths Computing Induction Week 2018

Welcome to Computing

The new academic year starts on Monday 24 September with a week of welcome activities before teaching starts on Monday 1 October 2018.

If you’re wondering which events you should go to, the answer is all of them!

The week includes a six-hour creative hackathon, undergraduate social events and induction sessions for all new students.

DoC Hack, our welcome week hackathon is organised by student tech society Hacksmiths. For six hours, you’ll design and build tech projects – and meet students & staff from across the department in a relaxed, informal environment. No special skills needed – just bring a laptop.


 

Download your schedule (PDF)


 

Contact computing@gold.ac.uk for any Computing-related enquiries.
Contact admissions@gold.ac.uk for enquiries about joining the university.

Student invents fabric circuit boards as tech teaching aids

Elisabetta Motta

A third year student from Goldsmiths Computing has developed a unique felt circuit board to enable primary school children to learn about electronics.

The project, ‘Felt-e’, was created by BSc Creative Computing student Elisabetta Motta as a potential new resource for teaching physical computing to children.

She said: “My research into primary schools found that teachers in computing lessons often lack the resources and time to enthuse young boys and girls about the subject. Felt-e provides a unique, hands on experience for kids and allows them to be creative while learning about electronics. It’s also a resource that’s easy to understand for teachers who might be unfamiliar with computing.”

Elisabetta, 28, surveyed a number of teachers during her initial research, exploring the frustrations of many Key Stage 1 and 2 teachers around lack of computing knowledge and pressures to prioritise literacy and mathematics.

Common feedback included a difficulty keeping pupils focused and lack of resources to run hands-on activities, which inspired the design of the Felt-e board.

Similarly laid out to a breadboard – a commonly used electronic tool which allows the user to lay out components – Felt-e includes two bus strips and ten terminal strips. Each strip has metallic poppers, to which the user can connect ‘wires’ and other components.

The longer wires have one popper on one end to connect to the board, and a crocodile clip on the other end to connect to the micro controller. The shorter wires have poppers on each end so connect points on the board.

Components are made from white felt with drawings of the relevant electronic symbol on one side and positive and negative signs on each end (if relevant to the component). The circuit is also compatible with micro controllers including the BBC micro:bit.



This post was adapted from an article by Chris Smith published on Goldsmiths News.

Generation 2018! Undergraduate Computing degree show

cropped-generation_2018_header

Thursday 7 June sees our annual celebration of achievement by undergraduate students from across the department.

A mash-up of exhibition, show-and-tell, performance and academic conference, GENERATION is a showcase of outstanding computing projects realised by undergraduates in 2017-18. It’s an exhibition for anyone who’s interested in how digital technology and computer science is impacting on health, education, business and entertainment.

This year we have a lots of computer games, as well as virtual reality experiences, augmented reality apps, interactive thingamajigs and technologies for art, music, education, business and healthcare.

generation2018

Opens: 1pm-5pm Thursday 7 June
Bar & performances: 5pm-9pm Thursday 7 June

Goldsmiths Student Union Bar
Dixon Road, Goldsmiths, University of London

GENERATION website

Goldsmiths’ MIMIC project: ‘Cyborg’ musicians could be the future of music

Massive-Attack-WEB
Massive Attack at Weekendance 2007 in Barcelona. Photo: Alterna2

Musicians will be able to use Artificial Intelligence to create new music and sound to share or sell, thanks to a project led by Goldsmiths.

At a time when many in the music industry worry their livelihoods are under threat from new technology, the MIMIC (Musically Intelligent Machines Interacting Creatively) project puts humans back in control of making music.

MIMIC will develop free, user-friendly web tools that harness the power of AI to listen to existing recordings and come up with new sounds and instruments interactively. Artists will own the sounds they create and can incorporate them into their music or sell them to others. The tools will meld the latest ‘deep learning’ AI methods with people’s creativity to empower a new generation of ‘cyborg’ musicians.

The £1m project is a collaboration between Goldsmiths, the University of Durham, the University of Sussex, and Google Magenta and has been funded by the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

Mick Grierson, Professor of Computing at Goldsmiths and MIMIC project leader said: “In the past, to use these powerful Artificial Intelligence technologies you had to be an expert in programming: we want to make these technologies free and easy for anyone to use – from amateur music-makers and sonic experimenters to professional musicians.

“Rather than simply creating autonomous musical ‘robots’, we are harnessing Artificial Intelligence systems to augment human creativity. We’re inviting people to meld their musical talents and sonic curiosity to the very latest deep learning systems. Our interfaces will mean you don’t have to already know how to code to benefit from AI, you just have to want to make some noise. However, if you do want to code, you’ll be able to do so using a new language we will be creating specifically for making AI music systems.”

The AI technology powering MIMIC has already proved a hit with professional musicians: Massive Attack are currently using it to create new musical instruments for the upcoming tour celebrating the 20th anniversary of their Mezzanine album. Back in 2016, Sigur Ros used a similar system built by Grierson to create an evolving version of a single song for a 24-hour televised journey around the Icelandic coast. Now the Goldsmiths-led team wants to make these technologies accessible to anyone with an interest in musical creation and exploration.

The MIMIC team aim to upload the first prototype web tools for people to experiment with within the next year. The tools will use a browser-based simplified live coding language written on top of JavaScript specially designed for musicians and artists. As well as working with the music industry, the team plan to produce learning materials for university, secondary school, and professional learners introducing them to how they can enhance their creativity with AI systems.


 

This post, written by Pete Wilton, was originally published on Goldsmiths News

BSc Digital Arts Computing degree show

Exit Strategy from Goldsmiths Computing on Vimeo.

The degree show for BSc Digital Arts Computing launches on Thursday 3 May.

Titled EXIT STRATEGY, the exhibition features over 30 computational artists, using digital technologies to create works on surveillance, artificial intelligence, art theory and the end of humanity.

Artworks include cliquey robots, a VR gallery, life stories from the Soviet era, haptic devices simulating human touch, sonified data, and a toddler exposed to the internet.

The exhibition launches with the ever-popular opening night party, 5.30pm-9.30pm Thursday 3 May 2018, with guests from across the world of art, curating and digital practice. Get free tickets for the party

EXIT STRATEGY continues from Friday 4 until Monday 7 May, 12noon – 5pm each day.


EVENT: Digital Art’s Exit Strategies
3pm – 4.30pm Saturday 5 May
We invite artists, theorists and curators Suhail Malik, Ami Clarke and Bob Bicknell-Knight to respond to the exhibition and propose art and curatorial strategies for exits. Open to all.