CSCI 5611 -- New Course

Wed Apr 24 13:29:41 2013

Approvals Received:
on 04-24-13
by Mary Freppert
Approvals Pending: College/Dean  > Provost > Catalog
Effective Status: Active
Effective Term: 1139 - Fall 2013
Course: CSCI 5611
UMNTC - Twin Cities
UMNTC - Twin Cities
Career: UGRD
College: TIOT - College of Science and Engineering
Department: 11108 - Computer Science & Eng
Course Title Short: Animation & Planning in Games
Course Title Long: Animation & Planning in Games
Max-Min Credits
for Course:
3.0 to 3.0 credit(s)
This course covers the theory behind the algorithms used to bring large virtual worlds to life. A broad range of computer animation topics is covered, with a focus on real-time, interactive techniques used in modern games. Topics include: physically-based animation, motion planning, character animation, and simulation in virtual worlds.
Print in Catalog?: Yes
CCE Catalog
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Grading Basis: Stdnt Opt
Topics Course: No
Honors Course: No
Online Course: No
Contact Hours:
3.0 hours per week
Years most
frequently offered:
Odd years only
Term(s) most
frequently offered:
Component 1: LEC (with final exam)
Progress Units:
Not allowed to bypass limits.
3.0 credit(s)
Financial Aid
Progress Units:
Not allowed to bypass limits.
3.0 credit(s)
Repetition of
Repetition not allowed.
for Catalog:
4041 or 4611 or #
No course equivalencies
No required consent
(course-based or
No prerequisites
Editor Comments: <no text provided>
Proposal Changes: <no text provided>
History Information: <no text provided>
Sponsor Name:
Stephen Guy
Sponsor E-mail Address:
Student Learning Outcomes
Student Learning Outcomes: * Student in the course:

- Can identify, define, and solve problems

Please explain briefly how this outcome will be addressed in the course. Give brief examples of class work related to the outcome.

Students will meet Objective 1 (Solve Problems), throughout the course. The main focus of the course will be on how to solve problems that arise when trying to create lively animated environments in games and virtual worlds. Lectures will cover various tools, data structures, and algorithms commonly used in practice and we will focus on how to combine these techniques to solve new animation problems.

How will you assess the students' learning related to this outcome? Give brief examples of how class work related to the outcome will be evaluated.

This learning objective will be evaluated mainly through the use of course projects. In these projects, students will be asked to animate a new scenario. To complete the project students will need to identify which techniques we discussed in class are most relevant to the new scenario, and will need to develop and extend these methods to solve the problems in the assignments. Students will need to define their chosen techniques and approaches in an accompanying write-up.

- Can locate and critically evaluate information

Please explain briefly how this outcome will be addressed in the course. Give brief examples of class work related to the outcome.

Students will also meet Objective 2 (Locate Information) as part of their final projects and in-class presentations.

How will you assess the students' learning related to this outcome? Give brief examples of how class work related to the outcome will be evaluated.

Students will need to locate papers discussing recent advances in computer animation (e.g., in scholarly journals), evaluate and discuss these papers as part of a class presentation, and extend on this work in their final project.

- Can communicate effectively

Please explain briefly how this outcome will be addressed in the course. Give brief examples of class work related to the outcome.

Students will also meet Objective 3 (Communicate Effectively) as part of their final projects and in-class presentations.

How will you assess the students' learning related to this outcome? Give brief examples of how class work related to the outcome will be evaluated.

The effectiveness of their communication will be evaluated through observing their presentation, and participation in class discussion.

Liberal Education
this course fulfills:
Other requirement
this course fulfills:
Criteria for
Core Courses:
Describe how the course meets the specific bullet points for the proposed core requirement. Give concrete and detailed examples for the course syllabus, detailed outline, laboratory material, student projects, or other instructional materials or method.

Core courses must meet the following requirements:

  • They explicitly help students understand what liberal education is, how the content and the substance of this course enhance a liberal education, and what this means for them as students and as citizens.
  • They employ teaching and learning strategies that engage students with doing the work of the field, not just reading about it.
  • They include small group experiences (such as discussion sections or labs) and use writing as appropriate to the discipline to help students learn and reflect on their learning.
  • They do not (except in rare and clearly justified cases) have prerequisites beyond the University's entrance requirements.
  • They are offered on a regular schedule.
  • They are taught by regular faculty or under exceptional circumstances by instructors on continuing appointments. Departments proposing instructors other than regular faculty must provide documentation of how such instructors will be trained and supervised to ensure consistency and continuity in courses.

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Criteria for
Theme Courses:
Describe how the course meets the specific bullet points for the proposed theme requirement. Give concrete and detailed examples for the course syllabus, detailed outline, laboratory material, student projects, or other instructional materials or methods.

Theme courses have the common goal of cultivating in students a number of habits of mind:
  • thinking ethically about important challenges facing our society and world;
  • reflecting on the shared sense of responsibility required to build and maintain community;
  • connecting knowledge and practice;
  • fostering a stronger sense of our roles as historical agents.

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LE Recertification-Reflection Statement:
(for LE courses being re-certified only)
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Writing Intensive
Propose this course
as Writing Intensive
Question 1 (see CWB Requirement 1): How do writing assignments and writing instruction further the learning objectives of this course and how is writing integrated into the course? Note that the syllabus must reflect the critical role that writing plays in the course.

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Question 2 (see CWB Requirement 2): What types of writing (e.g., research papers, problem sets, presentations, technical documents, lab reports, essays, journaling etc.) will be assigned? Explain how these assignments meet the requirement that writing be a significant part of the course work, including details about multi-authored assignments, if any. Include the required length for each writing assignment and demonstrate how the minimum word count (or its equivalent) for finished writing will be met.

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Question 3 (see CWB Requirement 3): How will students' final course grade depend on their writing performance? What percentage of the course grade will depend on the quality and level of the student's writing compared to the percentage of the grade that depends on the course content? Note that this information must also be on the syllabus.

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Question 4 (see CWB Requirement 4): Indicate which assignment(s) students will be required to revise and resubmit after feedback from the instructor. Indicate who will be providing the feedback. Include an example of the assignment instructions you are likely to use for this assignment or assignments.

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Question 5 (see CWB Requirement 5): What types of writing instruction will be experienced by students? How much class time will be devoted to explicit writing instruction and at what points in the semester? What types of writing support and resources will be provided to students?

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Question 6 (see CWB Requirement 6): If teaching assistants will participate in writing assessment and writing instruction, explain how will they be trained (e.g. in how to review, grade and respond to student writing) and how will they be supervised. If the course is taught in multiple sections with multiple faculty (e.g. a capstone directed studies course), explain how every faculty mentor will ensure that their students will receive a writing intensive experience.

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Course Syllabus
Course Syllabus: For new courses and courses in which changes in content and/or description and/or credits are proposed, please provide a syllabus that includes the following information: course goals and description; format;structure of the course (proposed number of instructor contact hours per week, student workload effort per week, etc.); topics to be covered; scope and nature of assigned readings (text, authors, frequency, amount per week); required course assignments; nature of any student projects; and how students will be evaluated. The University "Syllabi Policy" can be found here

The University policy on credits is found under Section 4A of "Standards for Semester Conversion" found here. Course syllabus information will be retained in this system until new syllabus information is entered with the next major course modification. This course syllabus information may not correspond to the course as offered in a particular semester.

(Please limit text to about 12 pages. Text copied and pasted from other sources will not retain formatting and special characters might not copy properly.)

Example Syllabus
CSci 5611: Animation and Planning in Games; (3 credits); Prereqs - CSci 4041 or CSci 4611 or #.

Welcome to CSci 5611 - Animation & Planning in Games. This is a course, designed to introduce you to the state-of-the art in animation, AI, motion planning and other technologies that are used to bring digital worlds to life. There are many exiting topics in the filed, I am happy to adjust what is covered based on those in the class, let me know if there is something in particular which interests you.

Course Overview

Course Objectives
The main goal of this course it to expose students to current motion planning and animation techniques and to provide them experience with implementing these techniques in the context of games, simulations and virtual environments. A secondary goal for this course is that students develop and exercise the skills needed to be an independent researcher working on the cutting edge of a discipline.

Course Materials
As this course covers state-of-the-art approaches, no textbook adequately covers the course material.  However, students should become familiar with reading relevant APIs, and using digital resources for accessing recent scientific papers.

The official prerequisite for this course is CSCI 4041 (Algorithms) or CSCI 4611 (Programming Graphics & Games). Success in this class requires a solid understanding of basic calculus and substantial programming experience.  Material in the course builds on topics from vector calculus, computer graphics, 2/3D digital art, game programming, artificial intelligence, and probability.  Prior experience in some of these areas is helpful, though not required.

Expectation of Student
Class Participation
Please ask questions. We will be covering very recent work, and not all questions will have clear answers, but asking questions is likely to spur good class discussions.

Classroom Behavior
Please minimize use of laptops, tablets, smart phones and other electronics. Please avoid eating in class; I'm fine with beverages.

Programming Experience
Use any language or tool you want. Cite any code you got from elsewhere.

Plagiarism & Academic Dishonesty
Note prominently any sources you got code from or libraries you used and people you worked with. Never falsify data, analysis or research procedures.

Assignments and Grading
Course Work
This class will have about 4 programming assignments, a student led lecture, and a final programming project. The final project can be completed in pairs. Students are expected to turn in each assignment. There will be no final exam, but students will be asked to give a presentation of their final project during exam time and turn in a brief write-up. This class will count for one-half of the Masters Plan C project requirement.

Grading Breakdown
40% Programming Projects, 40% Final Project, 10% Lecture, 10% Participation

Assignments will be given during the first half of the course, during the second half students are expected to be working on the Final Project. The exact assignments vary each semester, but the following should give an expectation of the type of work that will be assigned:
-Particle System: Create a particle system that resembles an animated fountain, fire or some other natural phenomena.
-Motion Planning: Plan the path a character can take through a virtual environment with obstacles.
-Flocking and Crowds: Animate agents to follow paths in the style of flocks, herds and schools. Plan intelligent paths for multiple agents who must navigate around each other.
-Character Animation: Display an articulated character walking in an environment.
-Student-led Lecture: Students will prepare a 20-minute lecture that presents a recent paper from the field. I will provide a list of suggested recent papers on the course webpage.

Approximate Schedule*

Week 1 - Introduction to Graphics Programming
Week 2 - Particle Systems & Dynamics
Week 3 - Physically Based Animation & Collision Detection
Week 4 - Water and Cloth Simulation
Week 5 - Collision Avoidance & Flocking
Week 6 - Crowd Simulation
Week 7 - Motion Planning & Path Finding
Week 8 - Inverse Kinematic & Character Animation
Week 9 - Data-driven Techniques & Final Project Proposals
Week 10 - Student-led lectures
Week 11 - Student-led lectures
Week 12 - Student-led lectures
Week 13 - Special Topics
Week 14 - Special Topics
Week 15 - Review & Special Topics
Finals - Project Presentations

*This schedule will change, as we invariably get ahead or behind in material and discover new topics of interest. I will try to arrange guest lectures from experts on relevant topics. Conference travel may overlap with a class causing postponement of material or alternate activities. Check the course webpage for updates.

Additional Information
Statements on disabilities, mental health, non-discrimination, and sexual harassment can be found on the course webpage.
Strategic Objectives & Consultation
Name of Department Chair
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Strategic Objectives -
Curricular Objectives:
How does adding this course improve the overall curricular objectives ofthe unit?

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Strategic Objectives - Core
Does the unit consider this course to be part of its core curriculum?

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Strategic Objectives -
Consultation with Other
In order to prevent course overlap and to inform other departments of new curriculum, circulate proposal to chairs in relevant units and follow-up with direct consultation. Please summarize response from units consulted and include correspondence. By consultation with other units, the information about a new course is more widely disseminated and can have a positive impact on enrollments. The consultation can be as simple as an email to the department chair informing them of the course and asking for any feedback from the faculty.

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