The specialized mathematics knowledge covered in a computer graphics course is usually presented to students in an abstract way. Albeit, computer graphics is an application of this (abstract) mathematics, students may find it hard to link them together. In particular one of the most difficult topics to present in a pedagogical manner to junior students in a computer graphics course is spline methods (mathematical method for data smoothing) used for curve/surface modelling. This topic involves mainly the mathematics of parametric functions, piecewise functions, derivatives, matrices, and parametric/geometric continuities. Usually a student has a vague picture of the actual output of the application of this mathematics. Many educators have experienced that students may fully understand splines application, if and when they are assigned a software project to implement splines, and this understanding could still remain vague until the very last stages of the implementation. As an alternative, static pictures may be presented in class to provide an intuitive understanding of splines. This approach is, in effect, similar to viewing a picture in a textbook. A better alternative is for the educator to demonstrate real-time spline generation, since a picture is worth ten thousand words but a moving picture (animation) is worth ten thousand static ones. This paper presents an interactive software program which is used as a tool to introduce important concepts and algorithms of spline methods to computer science and computer engineering students. The software is specially developed for educational purposes, and generates spline curves.
Savva, Andreas; Stylianou, Vasso; and Portides, George, "A Tool For Teaching Spline Methods In A Computer Graphics Course" (2009). MCIS 2009 Proceedings. 14.