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Guest Editors' Introduction: Computer Graphics in Education

Mike Bailey, Oregon State University
Steve Cunningham, National Science Foundation

Pages: p. 23

Welcome to IEEE CG&A's special issue on computer graphics in education. As we sought articles for this issue, we were looking for both innovative ways in which people were teaching computer graphics and ways in which people were using graphics to teach other topics. There is no doubt that the cross-disciplinary application of graphics to teach other topics is one of the things that makes the field so special. Few other areas within computer science are so capable of having such far-reaching effects. This is certainly something to be proud of.

What we have for you in this issue is a fascinating collection of work. In the category of teaching computer graphics skills, we have two articles. In "Improving Visualization Skills in Engineering Education," Contero, et al. analyze how to evaluate and improve students' 3D spatial sense for design. In "A Distributed Rendering Environment for Teaching Animation and Scientific Visualization," Madhavan, Arns, and Bertoline show how to create an innovative automated rendering farm to teach classes in topics such as RenderMan and Maya.

We have two articles in the category of using graphics to teach other things. In "Special Education and Rehabilitation: Teaching and Healing with Interactive Graphics," Takács uses graphics techniques to provide face-based nonverbal emotional responses to aid learning. In "JHAVÉ: Supporting Algorithm Visualization," Naps shows how computer graphics can assist students in understanding computer science algorithms and, probably more importantly, discusses a taxonomy to establish how to put educational animations in a broader learning context to make them more effective teaching tools.

We also have an interesting survey article by McGrath and Brown titled "Visual Learning for Science and Engineering." This survey is the result of two workshops on the topic, one in the US and one in China, as well as many other conversations. The article demonstrates the importance of visual learning methods, gives some excellent examples of visual methods in science and engineering classes, and offers suggestions for future work in this area.

We hope you will find these articles as exciting and inspirational as we have.


Mike BaileyOregon State University

It is fitting that this computer graphics in education issue coincides with Steve Cunningham's retirement from full-time graphics employment. Steve has been a major supporter of graphics education in his roles as professor, Siggraph Director for Publications, Siggraph Director for Education, Siggraph Chair, National Science Foundation Program Director, and book author. Steve also created the first Siggraph conference Educators Program in 1991, a venue which continues to this day. Nobody actually believes that Steve will fully retire, but it is appropriate that, at the time of this issue, he will finally have more time for all those educational side projects he's put off. Thanks, Steve!

About the Authors

Bio Graphic
Mike Bailey is a professor of computer science at Oregon State University. His research interests include scientific visualization, high-performance computer graphics, solid free-form fabrication, geometric modeling, and computer-aided design and analysis. Bailey has a PhD from Purdue University in computer graphics and CAD. He has been involved in Siggraph for many years, as a course speaker, conference courses chair, executive committee member, and conference co-chair in 1991. Contact him at
Bio Graphic
Steve Cunningham recently retired as a program officer in the Division of Undergraduate Education at the National Science Foundation. His research interests include the role of computer graphics in computer science curricula. He developed a model for a beginning computer graphics course that serves a wide range of fields. Cunningham has a PhD from the University of Oregon in mathematics. He is on the executive committee of the European Association for Computer Graphics (Eurographics) and has served as chair of ACM Siggraph. He has served on the board of directors of ACM Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE), and on the board of governors of the Mathematical Association of America. He is a Eurographics Fellow and has received the Outstanding Service Award from ACM Siggraph. Contact him at
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