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A dedicated mobile app for your course?

September 26, 2011

Are you a technology-hip college professor who’d like to take advantage of the mobile devices that increasing numbers of students are carrying? Sidneyeve Matrix at Queen’s University created the dedicated app, ClassCaddy, for her course “Media and Pop Culture.” Besides integrating social media like Twitter, the app provides access to videos, podcasts, lecture notes, reading guides, and more. It’s lovely to look at and easy to use. Okay, it also makes me a little jealous … If you’d like to try ClassCaddy for yourself. you can download it at iTunes or in the Android Market.

Is this the beginning of a trend? I doubt many college faculty will soon have the financial or technical resources to create mobile apps from scratch, but someone might create a tool that would help us do such things. Perhaps it would allow us to select from a list of modules – or we could build from a template.

The app for my multimedia class would need the following functionality, for starters:

  1. My Media – capture photos/video/sound (or select media captured by the device), display them as thumbnails, and submit them to a shared storage space (perhaps via DropBox)
  2. Favorites – bookmark images from Flickr, videos from YouTube, and sound from wherever – then tap thumbnail images to view them later
  3. Tutorials – view required tutorials. While completing an exercise on a computer students could view and listen to the accompanying video on a tablet next to it.
  4. Readings and Handouts – display text from web pages or PDFs
  5. Assignments – tasks to accomplished. Students could check them off and move them to a “completed” screen.
  6. Announcements – a list of messages sent to the class email list.
  7. Grades – display grades recorded on the university’s course management system.
All of these functions can be accomplished today by separate apps, but it would be awesome to have them all in one place. What would your course app do?
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