Final Reflection – Jonathan Downs

This class was definitely a venture down a new avenue for me. The class didn’t seem too focused on being a coding class but rather a creative class, and I thought that worked really well. For my group’s final project, 80% of the work didn’t even go towards CS coding-related work. The majority of the work was centered on the ideation process leading up to the final product. The work towards the final deliverable was mainly art-related with group members focusing on design and application of tattoos and using Innovation Space to make a creative final video. The “computing” part only came with the Red Herring app. At the end of it all, our final product really did seem like an embodiment of the name of the course, “Creative Computing.”

The final project was probably the most fun I have had working on a CS project in college. The group would get together on weekdays and over the weekend to work on the film. My photography skills undoubtedly tripled over that week which basically means I know how to open the case and put a camera on a tripod now. Messing around with online facial recognition was really exciting as well. Seeing how simple designs on the face could work so well was eye-opening to me.

One of the best parts of the structure of the final project was how much time was devoted to the ideation process. In most classes, maybe one or two days would be given to the idea itself and then software development would promptly begin. Having multiple weeks to figure the idea out, pitch it, gather feedback, and tweak the idea made the idea work a lot better in the end.

Looking back on the classes themselves, the most memorable classes were the ones that were interactive. These include the classes where we “did stuff” such as littleBits and the classes where intense discussion occurred. One of the most memorable classes in my mind was where we came to class, sat in a circle, and discussed the reading for the whole class. The talking points quickly changed from the original focus, but all the topics that arose provided good discussion and a high level of thought from us.

I thought all of the projects provided insight and were fun to work on, although there was a bit of confusion sometimes. For instance, in the first project, I was unsure of what design process we were meant to do. We had gone over the AEIOU one, though, and that is what everyone was doing, so I guess that is the one, right? Well, not really. We could do any design process we wanted, I see now. But in an age where all our classes teach us a specific process and then dictate to do our homework using that exact process, the openness surrounding the projects could be confusing. That seems like more of a problem with the other classes, though, so maybe a little bit of confusion can be a good thing.

Overall, I thought the class was very successful in promoting the creative process and the ideation of a product over the final product itself. There was a lot more “thinking” and a lot less “doing” than most classes. In my college experience, a project is something that a professor creates with a known input and output. There will be a set input, and the output better be the one that the professor expects. This leaves little or no space for the ideation portion. In this class, however, the input and output were not set. The results from each project varied wildly, giving the class a really unique feel. This uniqueness is what really stands out to me and will make me remember this class for years to come.

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