Student ResourcesFaculty Resources
Randy Guthrie – Microsoft Technology Evangelist http://blogs.msdn.com/MIS_Laboratory
Can college freshmen build quality Windows Phone apps in their first eight weeks of school? Even if they aren’t computer science or information systems majors? The answer is a resounding YES! From September 23rd through October 4th, Microsoft hosted an app building project at Arizona State University for the incoming class of business majors enrolled in a required IT class. The students not only learned how to design and implement simple but quality apps, but they also had two weeks of cutting edge lectures from top app designers and programmers about the app economy, app ecosystem, and app marketing and strategy. The project was part of exciting two week curriculum module developed by Microsoft and piloted at ASU. The project immersed students immediately into real software development by having them design, build and market real apps. As of this writing over 500 of the apps built have been certified and are available for download in the Window Phone Store. Student reaction to the two-week module was very positive and many expressed an interest in changing their intended majors or add Computer Information Systems as a second (double) major.
For the project the students used the newly launched “App Studio” at http://apps.windowsstore.com. App Studio is a browser-based development environment that is platform independent, so students could use whatever computer they had, and did not have to install any additional software. Using App Studio, students chose from one of 19 available app templates and replaced the template content with content of their own. Students could add and delete sections and pages from the templates giving them a wide range of customization options. The six data source types are supported by the App Studio tool including collections (of pictures & text), Bing search RSS, YouTube, RSS, Flickr and HTML 5 text. In addition to designing and creating the app theme, content and pages, students had to use an image editing tool extensively to make app screen shots, logos, tiles and background images.
This was a required assignment, and in order to get credit students had to successfully certify their app in the store. Since App Studio creates functionally-compliant projects, the only serious potential problem was from the quality of their content and image compliance to certification guidelines, making certification a fair requirement. For many students, the need to comply with real-world quality requirements was a first-time experience.
Microsoft Technology Evangelists delivered four 75 minute in-class lectures to the class of 2,700 students; each lecture was given seven times and discussed app platforms, marketing and strategy and app development, as well as how to actually develop the phone apps. Time was allowed at the end of each lecture for Q&A about the project
Office hours and lab were held at the Microsoft Tempe Sales Office across the street from campus.
A special web site was created for the project with how-to’s, links to DreamSpark, App Studio and the Phone Developer Portal (http://aka.ms/cis105).
http://www.mis-laboratory.com/ASUWin8/studentApps.html is a partial listing of certified apps created by the ASU students.
Lecture Topics Covered
Sept 23 & 24
Sept 25 & 26
Sept 30 & Oct 1
Oct 2 & Oct 3
Challenges We Faced
Next Steps: Coming Soon to Your School?
The ASU app project shows that getting students immersed early in software design and development can add high-interest and value to any tech course regardless of the student skill set. Microsoft technology evangelists are available to help you implement a similar project at your school. For bigger opportunities we can personally engage on campus for one to four weeks. For more information please feel free to contact me via the blog e-mail link and I’ll be happy to discuss your vision for this project and get the ball rolling.