After working more hours than they could count outside of class, four student groups presented finished iPhone apps they had developed over the course of one semester.
The project is part of a cross-disciplinary course led by journalism lecturer Robert Quigley and mobile developer Jeff Linwood.
“We have mixed teams of journalism and computer science students,” Quigley said. “They come from different worlds, and they were thrown into these teams on the very first day of class. They had to learn how to work together; they had to learn how to deal with differences in opinions, how to deal with differences in how they approach things, and it’s been a great experience.”
Journalism senior Adam Beard was one of the creators of Game Plan, an app that lets the user know about tailgate, party, and restaurant events on UT game days. Beard said though the process was difficult, they eventually came up with a product they were happy with, and their efforts were rewarded when they found out in early April that Game Plan would be put in the App Store.
“We had just three months to put together the idea and everything, none of us had ever heard of X-Code, Objective C, Parse, at least I hadn’t heard of any of that,” Beard said. “All of our computer science students, this was their first year taking classes in the computer science school, so we were all very young, very fresh, so we did have a lot of problems in terms of putting everything together, but we did do it.”
Computer science senior Jung Yoon’s team created Weathervain, an app that tells the user what clothing to wear based on the weather that day. Weathervain received the “Best Overall App” award at the end of the event. According to Yoon, Linwood and Quigley gave the students a lot of freedom in working on their apps.
“It’s very much an independent study kind of class. [Linwood] is the coding aficionado, and if you have questions he’ll answer them, but you’re mostly supposed to learn by yourself,” Yoon said.
Yoon said the journalism students in her group performed an important task through research and social outreach, in order to make their app unique and user friendly.
Computer science junior Elena Carrasco was one of the developers of Sono, an audio recording app that allows the user to mark and annotate certain points of the recordings. Carrasco said while the app was originally designed with journalists in mind, it can be used for any situation.
“As a student, I would be able to use this in a lecture,” Carrasco said. “I can go to a review for an exam, I can mark every answer a professor provides, I can share my file with Jenny, Jenny can pull it up later and go to the exact mark that I put so she can easily find what I found important in the recording.”