About the content
Use computer programming as a creative discipline to generate sounds, images, animations and more, with this free online course.
Throughout the course we’ll help you develop practical programming concepts and skills by exploring creative ideas and challenges. We’ll be looking at the history and philosophy behind artistic uses of technology, so you can gain a greater understanding of how best to express your own creative vision using the software you write.
The aim is to teach you “algorithmic thinking” – ways to conceptualise and model the world so you can express creative ideas using computer programs.
Each week we’ll start with a simple creative idea and guide you through turning that idea into a working computer program. We’ll be exploring programs that can generate images, animations and sound. You’ll learn how to interact with them to change their behaviour, creating increasingly complex and nuanced visual and sonic artworks using generative programming techniques.
We will also look at how leading professional artists and designers work creatively with computers, technology and robotics, examining their creative process and the ideas that inspire them.
The course is very different from technical courses on programming. We will place creative programming in context through discussion about some of the most interesting questions raised by computer-generated art, such as:
- Can a computer be independently creative?
- Who is the author of a work of computer art: the programmer or the program?
- How is our understanding of art and creativity changed by technology?
- Does the computer bring anything that is really new to art?
If you’ve ever wondered about these questions or wanted to learn how to program a computer for creative purposes, then this course is for you.
- Produce a simple graphic using the Processing programming environment.
- Apply programming concepts of arrays and lists.
- Perform different branches of code based on conditions.
- Synthesise images and sounds into programming work.
- Apply code statements to loop and repeat sections of programming code.
- Investigate the basics of object-oriented programming and coding with objects.
- Explore an artistic approach to translating physical motion into an algorithm and implementing the algorithm as a program.
- Reflect on the history and significance of typography and letterforms to human culture.
- Describe and explore some of the basic ideas behind processes used in generative art, such as feedback, aesthetic selection, evolution and algorithms.
- Describe ideas and thoughts on some broader cultural issues concerning artificial life and what it means to be creative for people and machines.
Who is the course for?
No prior knowledge of programming is necessary, but having an interest or background in any creative area would be beneficial. It is assumed that you have basic computer skills (including how to download software applications) and basic knowledge of files, directories, images and movies. The course involves programming using the Processing environment, so you will need access to a computer that you can download and install this software on.
Jon McCormack is a researcher in computing and an internationally acclaimed electronic media artist. He is currently a research fellow in the Faculty of Information Technology at Monash University.
Mark Guglielmetti is a researcher, academic and media artist. He currently lectures in Digital Art and Communication Design at Monash Art Design & Architecture (MADA) at Monash University.
Monash University is one of Australia’s leading universities ranked in the world’s top 1% (Times Higher Education World University Rankings)
Monash University was established in Melbourne, Australia in 1958. In little more than 50 years, the University has become Australia’s largest university, earning an enviable national and international reputation for research and teaching excellence. Monash University is the youngest member of the Group of Eight, the coalition of Australia’s most prestigious research-intensive universities.
Monash is a global university possessing the ambition and ability to address momentous global challenges. It has campuses in Australia, China, Malaysia and South Africa as well as an education centre in Italy, and major partnerships with universities in the UK and India. For more information, visit www.monash.edu
FutureLearn is a massive open online course (MOOC) learning platform founded in December 2012.
It is a company launched and wholly owned by The Open University in Milton Keynes, England. It is the first UK-led massive open online course learning platform, and as of March 2015 included 54 UK and international University partners and unlike similar platforms includes four non-university partners: the British Museum, the British Council, the British Library and the National Film and Television School.