Computing Department Tour


Hi, I’m JT and I’m a final year
Computer Science student. Hi, I’m Beth, I’m in my second year studying
Creative Computing. [JT] We’re going to take you around
the computing department here at Goldsmiths. Show you some of the labs,
the modules, and meet some of the people. Alright, let’s go! So this is St James Hatcham Building also known as The Church. It is home to some of our labs,
workshops and classrooms. [Beth] It’s also where we hold
a lot of our computing degree shows. Students get to use
some really cool places in here to create incredible and immersive
experiences for their projects. [Beth] Alright, so we are here in the Hatch Lab. Why don’t you tell us
a bit about the space? Hatch Lab is mainly
a physcial computing lab. This front space is open to all members
of the department of computing. We’ve got soldering and electronics equipment, things for wearable technologies,
sewing machines. We have slightly
more advanced equipment and that includes the
liquid resin 3D printing which can use rubberised materials,
conductive materials. We then also have CNC milling
for making bespoke electronics and laser cutting and engraving. The idea is to find your specialisation. Being given these facilities helps them to sort of explore
what computer science actually means. [JT] So when you come to Goldsmiths everyone takes a module called
Introduction to Programming’. [Beth] And we’re here
to talk with Simon Katan who’s the leader of that module. Introduction to Programming is a really important module to us. It’s where we teach
the nuts and bolts of programming. We have two major assignments
that we get people to do. One of them is called ‘Sleuth’, a game which teaches you how to code. The other assignment
is called ‘The Game Project’. Basically everybody on the module makes their own side-scroller
platform game level and then we knit those all together. [JT] Do you need to know how to program
before coming to the university? Absolutely not. Around 50% of our students come
with some programming experience, but 50% have never programmed before, and by the end of the module
everybody knows how to program. Depending on what course you choose there are many modules
you can take in the computing department. We’re going to go meet a few different people
just to see what that’s like. Bye! So we’re here to meet
Professor Atau Tanaka who’s a practicing artist and also
teaches on Digital Arts Computing. [Atau] Come on in, have a seat. [Beth] Thank you. So why don’t you tell me a little bit
about what you do in the department. It’s Digital Arts Computing. A joint programme between
the Department of Computing and the Department of Art. We have installations,
we might have game-like pieces. My own education is in computer music. So I was the first generation of students putting together computer technology
with music performance. Where I have sensors that pick up
physiological signals from the nervous system of the body as ways to perform electronic music. We’ve really managed to figure out
how to teach artists how to code. [Beth] Yeah. [Atau] Or how to take a coder
and get them to think creatively and then to mix it all up into
a programme that’s exciting. [Beth] This is Markela, President of Hacksmiths and would you mind telling us
a little bit about what you do? So we are a student run society. We’re known for hosting
beginner friendly workshops aimed at teaching people how to code. We do hackathons and game jams and nights where we get
Digital Arts students to create visuals for DJs and performance. It’s unfortunate to see that there’s
so much distrust in technology. We want to channel that fear
into awareness and education and allow people to make informed decisons
about the tech that they’re using. [JT] We’re going to meet Alejandra who’s the leader for Computer Science. We at Goldsmiths
have several different programmes and even when they seem
to be very different all of them have the same approach
in terms of teaching. We give you the skills
that the industry needs. Even when there is theory
you have to be in the lab and you have to be programming
and doing practical exercises all the time. In technology things are changing constantly so you really need to develop that capacity for learning by yourself. [JT] We’re in the refectory right now. We’re going to speak to Prem and Polina
about doing work placements. My placement was game related. This helped me to see
how the industry works. It is very useful
when I think about my career to have this experience behind me already. And you Polina? I did one year placement out in IBM
as a software engineer. Now I completely know
in which kind of field I want to specialise, what kind of things I want to do. So next up we’re going
to meet Dr Sarah Wiseman. She’s the head of Games Programming and we’re going to find out a little bit
about what she teaches here. [Sarah] I teach two third year modules One of them is called ‘Interaction Design’ and that’s kind of the study
of how we design technology. Often as computer scientists
we think about making the technology work but we don’t really think about what it means for the users
who will interact with that technology. ‘Pervasive Gaming
and Immersive Theatre’ is about experiences
that are experienced by the user with their whole being. And so that’s ended it up in
a few immersive theatre pieces and escape rooms. The number of staff
who are also something else, right, they are also an artist,
they are also a musician. Seeing them is pushing
quite a lot of the student body to explore the concepts
of their own creation. I mean that’s exactly
what we’re trying to do at university. It’s about us saying “here are some things
you might want to know about” and you going “cool, yeah,
I’m going to go in this direction now”. It’s been so lovely to talk to you
and I hope I’ll see you next year. Yeah great, at least one of my modules. [Beth] At least one.
[Sarah] Good. [Beth] We hope we’ve given you
a really good idea of what’s it’s like to study here
as a student at Goldsmiths. For me, what I love about my course is the variety of the content
and the people I get to study with. And for me, studying Computer Science,
it’s the opportunity to learn both the theoretical
and the practical side of the subject. If you want to know more,
including any specific questions come along to one of our open days. And if you want to see some of
our projects by our students you can come to one of our
exhibitions here on campus.

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