Course:CS 491 - Mobile Software Development
Fall 2012
Description and objectives: In this course we will investigate developing software for mobile platforms. The free and accessible Android platform will be emphasized. This course contributes to UWEC's creative and critical thinking learning goal.

Upon successfully completing this course, you will be able to:

  • Unify principles of software engineering, user interface design, and event-driven programming to construct publication-ready mobile apps for phones and tablets.
  • Leverage the service-oriented architecture of the web and mobile platforms to construct software.
  • Navigate the tension that characterizes mobile environments, in which network connections are trumped by lost signals, pervasiveness by interruptibility, performance by drained batteries, and sensors by our noisy world.
  • Incorporate mobile devices into the physical world to control and interact with other technology.
Instructor:Chris Johnson (
Office hours:M 3-4:30 PM, W 2-3:30 PM in Phillips 134
Lecture:TR 11 AM-12:15 PM
Phillips 117
Exams:Final - Thursday, December 20, 10 AM
Final project: The final project for this course will involve developing a controller app for the Sphero robotic ball. Students will form teams of three and design an app that lets the user interact with the physical world through a remotely-controlled Sphero. This interaction may be a game, an educational adventure, or some other experience that straddles the boundary between the virtual and the real. Projects will be presented during the final exam period.
Grading: Your instructor is experimenting with ways to eliminate the terrible code he must grade. So, you will be guinea pigs in a slightly strange alpha-maturity grading system.

Grades are assigned based on a contract system. You, the student, pick the grade you want and complete the necessary tasks to achieve it. Tasks include completing assignments, meeting the requirements of the final project, and participating in lecture. Participation is measured by the number of participation points earned throughout the semester. (Teaching outlines and quarter-sheets are worth 1 point each.)

The grading matrix follows:

Assignments completedFinal project requirements not met, < 90% participationFinal project requirements not met, >= 90% participationFinal project requirements met, < 90% participationFinal project requirements met, >= 90% participation
0, 1, or 2FFFF

Assignments are also handled a bit differently from the norm:

  1. Assignments do not have individual deadlines.
  2. Assignments do not have individual scores. Your instructor will offer feedback, but each is graded pass/fail.
  3. To receive a passing grading for an assignment, you must complete all requirements listed in its specification. Submissions which fail to do so can be resubmitted.
  4. Only one assignment (new or resubmitted) may be turned in per week. The submission week starts on Sunday and ends on Saturday.
  5. All submissions must be turned in by two Fridays (December 7) before finals week.
Communication: Your instructor is finite and values focus. Please keep these points in mind when needing to communicate with him:
  • Honor your instructor's closed door. Please visit only during posted office hours. Do not drop by at other times without having scheduled a time via email at least one day before the meeting.
  • Your instructor values his time with family. He does not respond to email after 5 PM or on weekends. Plan accordingly.
Good studentship: Follow these principles to maximize your learning and grade:
  • A good education requires both good teaching and good learning. It takes hard work from both instructor and student.
  • Early is better than on time.
  • Plan for homework to take longer than you think.
  • Do your own coding. Discussion of problems is allowed, but using another's code, sharing your code with others, or soliciting solutions from others will earn you a report of academic misconduct and lower your grade. You don't want to live in a world serviced by people who did such things to squeak by, so don't do them yourself.
  • Grades are calculated according to your achievement, not your circumstances.
Accommodations: Any student who has a disability and is in need of classroom accommodations, please contact the instructor and the Services for Students with Disabilities Office in Old Library 2136 at the beginning of the semester.
Easter egg: Each student who includes the sentence "I read the syllabus!" as the first line in the TODO post mortem and posts the post mortem before September 6, gets 1 free participation point.