COCA 201* Introduction to Computing and the Creative Arts

Original Author: Roel Vertegaal
Last Revised: January 25, 2008
Computing and the Creative Arts

Calendar Description

A multidisciplinary studio-oriented overview of computer-based applications in Art, Music, Drama and Film. History of human-computer interaction. Critical and philosophical issues. Animation. Virtual reality. Computer-aided design. Computer games. Enrolment is limited.

Prerequisite: A 100-level course in Art, Drama, Film and Media, or Music.

Pre- or Co-requisite: CISC 101* or CISC 110* or CISC 121*, or permission of the School of Computing.


This course is intended to be an introduction to the Computing and the Creative Arts (COCA) SPF program, but may also be taken as an elective by interested students in any area. For each topic, students would be exposed to a suitable tool to experiment with and would be asked to create multimedia art works in small groups using these tools.

The coverage is very broad and hence shallow. The intention is not to expect expertise or deep understanding, but simply to expose the students to a variety of existing technologies and give them some hands-on experience with currently existing tools, in order to raise their awareness of and arouse their interest in what is possible by combining computing and the creative arts. Evaluation will be based on participation and project success. If possible, an exhibition of student projects will be mounted.

It is planned to offer the course in the Integrated Learning Centre where there is a lecture theatre with a computer at every desk. As much as possible, trial or student-licensed software packages would be used and made available for students to install on their own computers.

A comparable course is offered at the University of California at San Diego as an introduction to the Interdisciplinary Computing and the Arts major there.


  • Introduction. Multidisciplinary studies. Visual programming tools.
  • History of human-computer interaction. Critical and philosophical issues
  • New-media art.
  • Electronic music.
  • Computer applications in art history, preservation, analysis.
  • Computer animation.
  • Computing as theatre. Computer applications in theatre and dance.
  • Industrial and architectural design.
  • Design and implementation of computer games.