CS1316 "Representations of Structure and Behavior"
Here's the first course high-level proposal and outline:
Here's the course proposal that moved up the permissions line:
CS1316 Development Page
Hmm. This seems very ambitious. I'd like to see more concrete examples. Also, implementation intrigues me. Is this going to be in Java? I'm not sure that's a good idea. There are so many things wrong with the Java image libraries that it just seems problematic. Students at this level need to be able to design in an environment, instead of around an environment. Perhaps this would be a good thing to use Squeak for. You brought up such things as ant simulations, which made me think of Logo. Wouldn't Squeak be more natural.
Anyway, things I'd like to see is a more concrete example of what the students will be doing.
Peace and Luck!
Wow, if you could pull it off it would be a cool course, maybe too cool. The range of topics that are covered is very broad. I think it would be very difficult to teach all the content necessary for the topics, and still teach the overlying concepts. You could spend an entire semester doing just the scene graphs alone.
I guess the way to make the volume of topics feasible is to abstract away a lot of implementation details. That really falls into line with the "tool modifiers, not creators" aspect of 1315. The real challenge would be to get the right amount of hand-waving and still make the students understand what's going on.
Of course, I have to talk about the technology necessary for the course. Would you still want to use JES or a JES-like environment for this course? If so, the Java usage would be VERY helpful. I would be pretty easy to plug Blair's joogl scene graph system into JES, and Toby already started a musical object system. The scripting capabilities of python would be good for the web agent topics. Java Swing would be good to use for the interfacing stuff, but it might be a little hard for some to get (the scene graph stuff too).
Alternatively, the students could work in the normal environments. They could do programming in pure jython without JES, simulations in Excel, etc. I think it would be better to do it in an environment like JES, but I would be a little worried about feature overload. It could just be a matter of providing a very robust API, though.
All in all, I think it could be a very cool class. I'm assuming the target audience would be people who have had their curiosity piqued in CS1315 and want to find out more. If so, presenting all the material like a survey might go well with them.