Web-Based Interactive 3D Visualization for Computer Graphics Education

Web-Based Interactive 3D Visualization for Computer Graphics Education

Li Yang (Western Michigan University, USA) and Mustafa Sanver (Western Michigan University, USA)
Copyright: © 2003 |Pages: 9
DOI: 10.4018/jdet.2003070106
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Abstract

Instead of developing web-based course material using an off-the-shelf web authoring tool, we believe that a better way to show principles and techniques in computer science is to have the related algorithms running “live” in the background and to allow students to interact with them within a web browser. We have chosen computer graphics as an example course because of its demand for visualization and its technical challenge for 3D rendering. This paper presents a set of web-based demos designed to demonstrate computer graphics concepts and OpenGL functions. We have ported to the web the popular Nate Robins’ OpenGL demos. We have also developed our own demos to address pedagogical aspects of computer graphics education. The main idea of the approach is to put a real-world scene and a rendered result side by side together with a set of OpenGL functions to produce the rendered result from the real-world scene. Animation, user interaction, manipulation, and virtual navigation are supported in the sense that the order of the functions and the parameters of each function can be changed interactively and such changes will be reflected immediately in the rendered result. The demos are written by using Java and GL4Java, an OpenGL Java binding to ensure the deployment on the Web. The result is a set of web-based interactive tutorials with rich visualization driven by underlying algorithms to demonstrate the subject principles and techniques. Although the contents of these demos are specific to computer graphics, the presented methodology represents a generic approach which is discipline/course independent and can be applied to various other courses.

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