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Spring 2021 Mobile Apps Class

For the 2021 spring semester, I’ll be teaching the Mobile News App Design class at UT Austin that I’ve co-taught with Robert Quigley for the past 8 years (2013-2020). This class is online this semester, and available as CS 378 or J 335 – cross-listed between Journalism and Computer Science.

The students in the class get the opportunity to form cross-functional teams and work on their own iOS or Android app projects. That means that journalism students will work with computer science students – and most alumni of the class say that this is one of the best things they did at UT Austin to prepare them for the real world work environment.

Journalism students do not need to have prior programming experience. Computer Science students don’t need to have specific mobile development classes or programming languages.

Student teams in the past tend to create native iOS apps using Swift (which requires a Mac), but they are welcome to create an Android app using Java, Kotlin, or React Native if they want. It’s less about the specific technology and more about creating an app that people want to use.

There are also cross-functional assignments, where the journalism students will take on a programming challenge, and the computer science students will do a writing assignment.

The class is structured into four sprints, with short demo presentations after each sprint from each team to the class. The goal is to progress towards submitting the app to the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.

At the end of the semester is a demo day, where the teams will show off what they’ve build.

This class is a lot of fun, and I’m excited to teach it online this semester.