ADIT 135101 Discovering Computer Graphics

  Credits 4, Spring 2015
Jan 15–May 7

Instructor: Aaron E. Walsh
Office: Online Immersive Learning Environment
Office Hours: By appointment
Telephone: 617-552-3900
Schedule : Thursdays from 6:15 to 9:15 PM Eastern Time (Boston)
Room: Online Immersive Learning Environments


Boston College Mission Statement

Strengthened by more than a century and a half of dedication to academic excellence, Boston College commits itself to the highest standards of teaching and research in undergraduate, graduate and professional programs and to the pursuit of a just society through its own accomplishments, the work of its faculty and staff, and the achievements of its graduates. It seeks both to advance its place among the nation's finest universities and to bring to the company of its distinguished peers and to contemporary society the richness of the Catholic intellectual ideal of a mutually illuminating relationship between religious faith and free intellectual inquiry.

Boston College draws inspiration for its academic societal mission from its distinctive religious tradition. As a Catholic and Jesuit university, it is rooted in a world view that encounters God in all creation and through all human activity, especially in the search for truth in every discipline, in the desire to learn, and in the call to live justly together. In this spirit, the University regards the contribution of different religious traditions and value systems as essential to the fullness of its intellectual life and to the continuous development of its distinctive intellectual heritage.



Prerequisite: Comfortable using the Microsoft Windows or Macintosh operating system [includes being fully experienced with the process of installing new software on your own computer]. Tablet computers, netbooks and similar low-powered computers are not capable of running the graphics software required for this course. A traditional desktop or laptop computer is required.

Discover the joy of computer graphics. Learn how to create your own multimedia greeting cards; customize and enhance digital photos; design and create animated music videos; enhance business presentations and reports. Experiment with 3D technology by playing interactive games, exploring virtual reality worlds. With a focus on graphics for the Internet and the Web, students learn related terminology and concepts as they gain valuable hands-on skills. Presents a variety of graphics authoring tools, viewers, and formats while exploring fundamentals of two dimensional (2D) graphics, three dimensional (3D) graphics, Virtual Reality (VR), animation, games, interactive graphics, streaming media, and interactive/collaborative technology. Hands-on experience using a variety of graphics tools and programs including GNU Image Manipulation Program (a freely available bitmap graphics program similar to Adobe Photoshop), Flash, PowerBullet, Microsoft Word, Google Sketchup, Greenfoot, and immersive virtual world.

Requirements: A modern Windows or Macintosh computer at home (or work) that you can install software on, and a reasonably fast Internet connection.
Platform(s): Windows or Macintosh
Time Commitments: 3 hours in-class + 8 hours out of class every week
Readings: 1 or 2 chapters from textbook every week
Homework: 4 to 5 hands-on assignments (coursework) every week


ENTIRELY ONLINE: This course is comprised of entirely online classes. Classes are conducted in an online Virtual Reality “world” so that students can take portions of this class from the comfort of home or anywhere (a modern computer and reliable Internet connection is required). This is an "Immersive Education" course; see for details on how online courses are conducted using video game and virtual reality technology.

HEADSET or EARBUDS REQUIRED: You MUST have a headset/microphone to take this class (approx $15 at stores such as Radio Shack). If your computer has a built-in microphone you may use ear buds (such as iPod earbuds) or simply a headset. In any case you can NOT have an "open mic" in this class: the audio you hear MUST come through a headset or ear buds (not through a speaker; the audio is picked up by your microphone in such cases and creates feedback).

GIMP vs. GIMPShop: In this course we'll use the GIMP bitmap graphics content authoring tool. GIMP is the original program on which GIMPShop is based (GIMPShop is a slightly modified version of the GIMP -- the modifications make GIMPShop look more like Photoshop). GIMPShop is unstable and crashes, and so we will NOT use GIMPShop in this class. To install GIMP visit (HOME PAGE).


Course Objectives

  1. This is an Immersive Education course in which students will be taught the fundamentals of bitmap, vector and 3D computer graphics. Students will use a variety of digital learning systems (including online discussion groups, Audio Whiteboards, shared collaborative documents, blogs and virtual worlds) to complete this Immersive Education course.

  2. Students will develop specific skills and competencies using a wide variety of graphics software tools, including GNU Image Manipulation Program (a freely available bitmap graphics program similar to Adobe Photoshop), Flash, PowerBullet, Microsoft Word, Google Sketchup, Greenfoot, and immersive virtual worlds.

  3. Students will learn how to construct 3D immersive environments as they construct an 3D library/museum using virtual world building tools. Students will also learn the basics of programming (coding) in the Java programming language as they build their own 2D video game.

  4. Students will develop critical thinking, cultivate broad cultural understanding, and contemplate the long term impact of immersion on both education and society. Students will do so by utilizing a wide variety of computer graphics software tools and programs, particularly immersive virtual worlds and simulators that enable individuals to explore 3D arts and culture exhibits, learn and study in collaborative 3D virtual worlds, and examine race/gender identity through the application of highly customizable avatars.

  5. Students will explore the role that computer graphics and immersion play in culture, socioeconomic status, gender, personal identity, age and the perception of beauty.

  6. Students will demonstrate ethical knowledge related to the impact of computer graphics and immersive technologies on society and the individual.



The following are used in assessing student performance and corresponding letter grade for the course:

  1. Punctual attendance and full participation during class is required. 20% of course grade.
  2. Active participation in online discussion group outside of class. 20% of course grade.
  3. Timely completion of weekly homework assignments (late submissions are graded accordingly). 20% of course grade
  4. Midterms. 20% of course grade.
  5. Finals. 20% of course grade.


WCAS Grading System

The undergraduate grading system consists of twelve categories: A (4.00), A- (3.67), excellent; B+ (3.33), B (3.00), B- (2.67), good; C+ (2.33), C (2.00), C- (l.67), satisfactory; D+ (l.33), D (l.00), D- (.67), passing but unsatisfactory; F (.00), failure; I (.00), incomplete; F (.00), course dropped without notifying office; W (.00), official withdrawal from course. The graduate grading system is A (4.00), A- (3.67), Excellent; B+ (3.33), B (3.00), good; B- (2.67) and C (2.00), passing but not for degree credit; F (.00), failure.

Grade Reports. All students are required to log into the web through Agora to access their semester grades. Students must utilize their BC username and password to log on. If your username or password is not known, the Student Learning and Support Center in the O’Neill Library Computer Center will issue a new one. The SLSC requires a valid picture ID (a BC ID, driver’s license or passport) to obtain your password.

Important Policies

Written Work

Graduate and undergraduate students are expected to prepare professional, polished written work. Written materials must be typed in the format required by your instructor. Strive for a thorough, yet concise style. Cite literature appropriately, using APA, MLA, CLA format per instructors decision. Develop your thoughts fully, clearly, logically and specifically. Proofread all materials to ensure the use of proper grammar, punctuation, and spelling. You are encouraged to make use of campus resources for refining writing skills as needed [see].


Scholarship and Academic Integrity

It is expected that students will produce original work and cite references appropriately. Failure to reference properly is plagiarism. Scholastic dishonesty includes, but is not necessarily limited to, plagiarism, fabrication, facilitating academic dishonesty, cheating on examinations or assignments, and submitting the same paper or substantially similar papers to meet the requirements of more than one course without seeking permission of all instructors concerned. Scholastic misconduct may also involve, but is not necessarily limited to, acts that violate the rights of other students, such as depriving another student of course materials or interfering with another student’s work.

Disability Statement

Classroom accommodations will be provided for qualified students with documented disabilities. Students are invited to contact the Connors Family Learning Center office about accommodations for this course. Telephone appointments are available to students as needed. Appointments can be made by calling, 617-552-8903. You may also make an appointment in person. For further information, you can locate the disability resources on the web at



Class attendance is an important component of learning. Students are expected to attend all classes and to arrive by the beginning of and remain for the entire class period. When an occasion occurs that prevents a student from attending class, it is the student’s obligation to inform the instructor of the conflict before the class meets. The student is still expected to meet all assignment deadlines. If a student knows that he or she will be absent on a particular day, the student is responsible for seeing the instructor beforehand to obtain the assignments for that day. If a student misses a class, he or she is responsible for making up the work by obtaining a classmate's notes and handouts and turning in any assignments due. Furthermore, many instructors give points for participation in class. If you miss class, you cannot make up participation points associated with that class. Types of absences that are not typically excused include weddings, showers, vacations, birthday parties, graduations, etc. Additional assignments, penalties and correctives are at the discretion of the instructor. If circumstances necessitate excessive absence from class, the student should consider withdrawing from the class. In all cases, students are expected to accept the decision of the instructor regarding attendance policies specific to the class.

There may be circumstances that necessitate a departure from this policy. Feel free to contact the WCAS at 617-552-3900 for consultation.


Assignments are due at the beginning of the class period on the specified dates. Late assignments will be graded accordingly.








Note: Click on textbook icon to the left to access these 3 digital textbooks. NOTE THAT YOU DO NOT HAVE TO PURCHASE A SUBSCRIPTION TO THESE TEXTBOOKS.



Web log (BLOG)

Create your own course Web log (blog) at

(see "HELP" or "HELP CENTER" at bottom of for help)



This is a four credit class (3 credits during the summer session) that meets for 3 hours of "in-class" time each week.

It is expected that 8 hours per week of your study time will be spent on out-of-class assignments and exercises that correspond to the topics listed below. Please note that some weeks will require more time, and some weeks less time, with the with the average amount of out-of-class time being approximately 8 hours per week over the semester. Students with prior experience with the course subject matter may be able to complete the weekly out-of-class work in 5 hours or less, while those with less experience may take up to or more than 10 hours to complete the weekly work load.

NOTE: The weekly class schedule listed below is subject to change. Any changes will be noted during class and posted to the course discussion group. Students are responsible to take note of all notices and changes.


Class 1: Introduction

Class 2: Bitmap Graphics, Part I

Class 3: Bitmap Graphics, Part II

Class 4: Bitmap Graphics, Part III

Class 5: Vector Graphics, Part I 

Class 6: Vector Graphics, Part II

Class 7: MIDTERM

Class 8: Vector Graphics, Part III

Class 9: 3D Graphics, Part I

Class 10: 3D Graphics, Part II

Class 11: 3D Graphics, Part III



Class 14: FINAL