The new mobile smartphones have given rise to an explosion in creativity over the past few years. There have been exciting, inspiring and incredibly useful software apps in the areas of medicine, music, psychology, senior support, banking, cooking, global health, exploring, travel, shopping, games and many more.
These first applications have just scratched the surface of what is possible. The hardware of the phones themselves are rapidly evolving, and our understanding of how they can be used is changing day-by-day. These devices will become as basic as paper - a blank sheet upon which many disciplines can write, but with many new capabilities.
The purpose of this
course is to build a collaborative environment of creativity for new applications of mobile
devices. Graduate students from all disciplines at the University of Toronto are invited to take the course for credit. The course described in this archive was taught from January - April, 2011.
It is primarily a project-based course in which the goal is to produce a working app by the end of course. Projects will be done in groups of 2 or 3. Students with computer programming skills will be matched with those from non-programming backgrounds to do projects in the latter students’ disciplines, in addition to projects motivated from within the computer engineering and science disciplines themselves.
The course will support the use of Google
Android-based platforms, but those who have access to other platforms and their related development environments (such as
Apple iPhone or RIM Blackberry or
Nokia Maemo) are welcome to use those.
Who Should Take This Course? Everyone!
We envision that students with two kinds of backgrounds will be taking this course:
1. Students with programming skills, typically from the Computer disciplines (ECE and CS and other departments), but possibly from the many other disciplines that make use of computers and that program them. These students will be given lectures and exercises to learn learn the environment, and guidance towards the completion of a major project.
2. Students from non-programming backgrounds with a passion for the new uses possible with these devices, who want their creativity juices to be stimulated in a new, inter-disciplinary way! These students will be given lectures and exercises to learn the basic capabilities of mobile devices, and a new kind of programming experience for non-programmers: they will use the new 'App Inventor' from Google that helps non-programmers create apps. See this video to see a quick demonstration of it, and this video for a longer version. Here is Google's blog on the subject. In addition, these students will perform work in their own discipline to show how the new software enhances some aspect of that discipline.