Live coding in the classroom

My favorite thing to do when I teach my graduate computer graphics is live coding.

Don’t get me wrong. I love working through mathematical principles on the whiteboard. I really enjoy free-ranging conversations with the class on various topics. But live coding is in its own category.

That’s the moment when the class sees me having fun. And because they see me having fun, they are seeing what it’s like to have mastered your instrument.

An analogy that comes to mind is music. If you are learning to play the guitar, there is something thrilling about seeing your teacher pick up a guitar and simply play.

In my classes, the students get to see me mold algorithms into shapes and textures, or use coding to build a character and then bring that character to life. In such moments, we are essentially conducting a master class.

In such a process, everybody wins. The students get to see expert knowledge in action. And the teacher, of course, gets to have fun. 🙂

Ken Perlin
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