Mobile Application Development Course Enables Students to Create in Blue Light

Professors John Carlson and Greg Hamerly create apps and teach students how to build them in a smartphone-driven world. Audrey La | Photographer

By Samantha Bradsky | Journalist

People are using apps more than ever, and some faculty on the Baylor campus have contributed to the growing world of app development.

With the average smartphone user using 10 apps per day and the total number of mobile app downloads continuing to increase each year, consumer spending on apps reached a record high of $ 64.9 billion in the first half of the year. 2021.

John Carlson, Associate Professor of Information Systems, teaches the mobile application option offered by the Department of Information Systems and Business Analysis called Mobile Application Development (MIS 4319). The course was first offered in 2013.

“It has been a pretty big hit, filling out two sections each spring since then,” Carlson said. “I had students from all over campus and many with little programming experience. “

The class teaches introductory programming skills to translate into building applications for students. Carlson said many students walked out of the classroom with working apps ready to be put on the App Store and falling under various categories, such as games, health and fitness, education, and business.

Currently, 1.96 million apps are available in the Apple App Store. With such a diverse range of applications in the market, Carlson said he believes his class teaches very relevant skills.

“The introduction of true mobile applications with the first iPhone was a sea change for the software development industry,” Carlson said. “Apple created what was essentially an entirely new market. Yes, there were mobile phone programs before Apple, but they would be largely unrecognizable as such to a modern audience. Plus, it was just exciting. The App Store offered any programmer the ability to place their app in a store with millions, and then hundreds of millions, of potential customers.

Another individual on campus invested in building applications is Greg Hamerly, associate professor of computer science. He helped create a free app called CRADLE White Eye Detector, which can detect a symptom of eye disease.

“The app works completely on the phone,” Hamerly said. “He doesn’t share any private information without explicit permission. It can analyze photos and videos in real time.

Carlson has also developed his own app currently on the App Store called Queue Alert. The app helps people estimate how long they will be online.

“It’s an interesting little app, but it hasn’t really taken off,” Carlson said. “I think most of the people who got it are related to me.”

MIS 4319 will be offered in the spring semester 2022 and is open to any Baylor student.

“Everyone seems to have an idea for a great mobile app, and this course will help them understand what it takes to create it,” Carlson said.

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