Getting started

What do I need to do when I start the course?

Here’s a checklist:

  1. log in to the ANU’s ISIS student admin system with your ANU username (it’ll be something like u1234567) and password

  2. log in to your ANU email account (i.e. uXXXXXXX@anu.edu.au) and either (a) make a habit of checking it regularly or (b) set up a redirect so that it goes to an email account you check regularly

  3. make sure you can log in to the MS Teams EXTN1019 channel (let me know asap if you can’t)

  4. log in to the Streams system (you don’t actually need to do anything in there—but logging in to Streams means that your account on the HN 1.24 lab computers will be created)

  5. log into the ANU GitLab server (no need to do anything in particular once you’ve logged in, but again if you can’t get in just let me know and I’ll sort it out for you ASAP)

  6. read the course policies page

  7. work through the “put a circle on the internet” lab 1 content to make sure you can install all the relevant software you’ll need to participate in this course

I know that’s a lot of “log into this website, log into that website” stuff, which we admit is a bit of a hassle. However, most of those steps (e.g. step 1 and step 3) only have to be done once at the start of your time at ANU (they’re just to make sure your user accounts get created). If you have any problems with any of the above, then let us know ASAP! Either via Teams (if you’ve successfully completed step 2) or via email (if you haven’t).

If you’re having trouble with step 7 (going through the lab 1 content) then we’ll be opening up the labs at 4:30pm on Wednesday May 4th (week 2 of this class) so you can come early and get help—bring your laptop.

Why isn’t COMP1720 showing up in my Wattle?

EXTN1019 doesn’t use Wattle. The course will still show up in your course list in Wattle, but the course page on Wattle should just have a link to the main course website (i.e. this website you’re looking at now).

About this course

What’s expected of me in this course?

As well as the usual stuff (attending labs & lectures), to keep on top of this course you’ll need to:

  1. watch & ask questions on Teams channel

  2. have a look at the weekly lab material ahead of time, and attend your scheduled lab session

  3. make stuff (art & music) with code—I know it sounds like an empty platitude, but you’ll really get the most out of this course by making things all the time (start small, be kind to yourself, but make things!)

  4. ask questions (during labs and on Teams channel) if you don’t understand anything—there are no dumb questions in EXTN1019, and if you’re ever made to feel this isn’t the case then let me know

Is there a textbook for this course?

There’s no physical textbook for this course, everything you need will be provided on this website, or through links to other (freely-accessible) content on the web. There’s a list of good online resources on the Books, links and other good things.

What are the assessment deadlines, late penalties, etc?

Good question! It’s important to know this stuff in any uni course, so have a look at the policies.

So is this just a course on Photoshop/Ableton etc.?

Nope, in fact we won’t teach those software packages at all. The whole point of Creative Computing is that we unlock the true creative potential of computing when we write our own creative software. Photoshop, Ableton and other “creative” software tools are amazing—and we may look to them for inspiration—but they’re someone else’s vision of what creative software looks like. In this course, you won’t have to conform to that vision… isn’t that exciting?

So will I have to do a bunch of coding?

Yes—that’s the whole point! As mentioned elsewhere on this page it’s ok if you haven’t done much coding/programming before you start the course, but you will be doing a bunch of it (every week, actually) once the course starts.

What’s EXTN1019, and why do you keep calling it that?

All ANU Courses have a “4 letters + 4 digits” code as well as a longer (human-readable) name. This course’s code is EXTN1019, and the name is ANU Extension Creative Computing.

As a shorthand we often use the short EXTN1019 name, or even just “1019” (we’d probably say “ten-nineteen” when we said it out loud) instead of using the full ANU Extension Creative Computing name.

Actually, because it goes over two years, it technically has two codes: EXTN1019A and EXTN1019B for the year 11 and year 12 parts respectively. But you don’t really need to worry about that ☺

What’s ANU Extension?

ANU Extension is a program where ACT College (year 11 & 12) students can take advanced courses at uni. As well as the opportunity to study & do things you wouldn’t get the chance to do in your normal college courses, all ANU Extension courses count towards your ATAR, and you’ll get a course credit if you end up deciding to enrol at the ANU when you go to uni.

So how does ANU Extension Creative Computing fit in?

There are several different ANU Extension courses—across the sciences, languages, and other areas of study at the ANU. Creative Computing is the first ANU Extension course from the School of Computing1, and we’re super excited to offer this program to all ACT students who want to combine their passions in computing and the creative arts.

Creative Computing is listed on the ANU Programs and Courses website under the course codes EXTN1019A (for the Year 11 part) and EXTN1019B (for the Year 12 part).

Are there any co-requisites for my college study?

Students must be enrolled in a tertiary Arts, Technologies, and/or IT course in their home college to be eligible for this H Course.

How long does it go for?

All ANU Extension courses go for 2(ish) years—terms 2, 3 and 4 in year 11 and terms 1, 2 and 3 in year 12.

When does the course start?

The year 11 Creative Computing intake will be in Term 2, 2022. The first class is on April 27 (in the usual Wednesday 5pm–7pm timeslot).

What’s the weekly time commitment?

The year 11 Creative Computing course has a 2hr weekly workshop during term time, held on the ANU campus. In term 2 2022 (starting April 27), the time & location is:

In addition, students are expected to do a few hours a week at home using the material we’ll provide in the class.

Is attendance compulsory?

Yep, if you’re in the course then you need to come to the Tuesday evening class session (or have a medical certificate). The attendance rules are just like any of your other College courses, and we do take the roll each week (it’s a requirement of our BSSS accreditation—and the reason you can get credit for this course towards your ATAR).

How does this course affect my ATAR?

Here’s a quote from the main ANU Extension website FAQ page:

ANU Extension courses have ACT Board of Senior Secondary Studies H course classification. When completed, they are treated as stand-alone minors and have the same identifier as the corresponding T course.

Scaled scores from H courses are available for inclusion in the calculation of a student’s aggregate score within the limit that the maximum course weight is 2.0 within the same course area.

Will I need my own laptop?

You’ll need a laptop (macOS/Windows/Linux) that you can install stuff on and bring every week to class. If that’s an issue, then let us know and we’ll sort something out—we don’t want this to be a barrier to your participation.

Are there lectures for this course?

No—only the weekly in-person labs.

However EXTN1019 is (partially) based on another course—COMP1720—which does have (online) lectures. COMP1720 runs in Semester 2 every year, and even when it’s not running the previous year’s lecture recordings stay online. So, watching the COMP1720 lecture recordings might be helpful, and you’re welcome to have a look at them anytime (they’re free!). Just be aware that any of the dates/deadlines that the lecturer mentions probably don’t apply to you.

In practice, we’ll give you some guidance (at the beginning or end of the lab content) about which lectures might be relevant for getting a better understanding of the concepts we cover in the labs.

What’s the high-level timeline for this course?

2022 is the first year that the year 12 course has run, so there might be some changes to this timeline as we go along—especially the Year 12 timeline.

Year 11

  • term 2: code art fundamentals
  • term 3: code music fundamentals
  • term 4: final project work
  • end of term 4: final exhibition/performance

Year 12

  • term 1: introduction to AI art/music
  • terms 2 & 3: final project work
  • end of term 3: final exhibition/performance

What programming languages will we learn?

The primary teaching languages for this course is JavaScript: the world’s most commonly-used programming language.

Since JavaScript (the cool kids call it js for short) is so widely used there are lots of different ways to do things, which can be a bit confusing if you’re just starting out. For this reason in EXTN1019 we’ll focus on a few specific javascript libraries2 designed for creative coding:

Most of the lab content will be taught in one of these languages.

However, because this project-based, you get to decide what tools you use to construct your final project/performance/artefact. Obviously the instructors will be there to help you make good choices—and in many cases the languages listed above may well be the best ones—but you’re also free (in negotiation with the instructors) to incorporate other tools into your project work.

What will the assessment be?

An assessment breakdown is listed on the Programs & Courses webpage (click on the “Study” tab).

More details about the assessment will be released on this course webpage as the course approaches.

Is it free, or are there course fees?

The course is free. Hooray!

As an extra incentive, the ANU School of Computing is providing an annual Creative Computing Scholarship. Every year (from 2022 onwards) one student will be selected from the graduating Creative Computing cohort and offered a $5k scholarship to continue their studies in Computing at the ANU.

I’m really into formal BSSS course descriptions, does this course have one?

Weird flex, but ok. Here you go.

I’m still a bit unsure about this whole thing—can you help?

Sure. If you’ve got more questions/comments/worries, then you can send Ben or Ushini an email and they’ll be happy to answer any questions you (or your parents) have.

Labs

Why do they call them labs? Will I be mixing chemicals in a lab coat?

No, they’re computer labs ☺ In computing, “labs” is really just a synonym for workshop/tutorial/class etc.

Are the labs assessable?

The lab content is not assessable. It’s a great place to work on things that you can blog about, though.

If I’m sick or have to isolate but I still feel well enough and want to engage with the lab, what do I do?

You can join online! How does that work?

Message Ben/Ushini (on Teams) when you know you’re not going to be attending online so that we know to expect you online.

We’ll make a post at the start of lab in the General channel with a small brief about the lab (just like we would usually say at the start of a lab in person). Leave us a comment on this post when you are starting the lab so we know you’re there! Post a question to the general channel if you get stuck or have any questions.

If you start to feel unwell, you don’t have to continue with the lab, just let us know you’re heading offline and take care of yourself!

We can’t see your computer screen when you’re online, so it’s hard for us to know how you’re going so it’s really important you ask us questions if you feel stuck! We’ll try and check in with you at least once half-way through the lab to see if you have any questions or need help, and to see what cool things you’ve created! If you haven’t commented on our post, we’ll assume you’re not attending the lab and we’ll catch up with you in the next lab you can attend.

Marking

Is there a marking guide?

Marks in EXTN1019 are not determined by passing unit tests (i.e. there’s no one “correct” answer) but by the quality of your interactive artworks and your attainment of the learning outcomes.

All assessment items are graded against the ANU marking standard which outlines standards for each grade level:

Grade

Letter Grade

Numerical Mark (%)

Standards

High Distinction

HD

80-100

Work of exceptional quality, as demonstrated in the attainment of learning outcomes at or above the relevant qualification level

Distinction

D

70-79

Work of superior quality, as demonstrated in the attainment of learning outcomes at or above the relevant qualification level

Credit

C

60-69

Work of good quality, as demonstrated in the attainment of learning outcomes at or above the relevant qualification level

Pass

P

50-59

Work of satisfactory quality, as demonstrated in the attainment of learning outcomes at or above the relevant qualification level

Fail

N

0-49

Work in which the attainment of learning outcomes at or above the relevant qualification level has not been demonstrated

In particular, we consider at least the following aspects of your assignments when deciding on a mark:

  • success in terms of meeting the assignment specification
  • depth of artistic process and conceptualisation
  • artistic and interactive quality and sophistication
  • code and technical quality and sophistication
  • clarity of communication and expression

Note that the above are aligned with the learning outcomes of the course.

So is this course hard? Will I get good marks?

As always, the answer is… it depends. There are certainly aspects of this course which are challenging (probably different things depending on whether you’re coming into the course with more of a creative or more of a computing background). And you’ll certainly have to put in a bunch of work—this is an extension course, after all.

Still, if you’re willing to put in the work—and especially if you’re willing to reach out for help early when you need it—then I think you’ll be ok. Anyway, there’s more to life than marks, even if it doesn’t feel like it as a College student with the AST approaching.

  1. formerly the Research School of Computer Science 

  2. A library (sometimes called a modules, package, or framework) is just a bunch of code (variables, functions, etc.) that someone wrote and made available for you to use. 

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