Nine lucky NJIT students are testing one of the nation’s first application development courses for the Apple iPhone. The upper-level course, taught by Director of University Web Services Jim Robertson, illustrates how to develop applications for the popular iPhone. Enrolled students received a free, iPod Touch for application use and testing. The device would have cost $300. (ATTENTION MEDIA: To set up interviews with students and/or instructor, contact Sheryl Weinstein, 973-596-3436.)
If all goes well, by next fall the 3-credit course will be available to more than two dozen students, said Robertson. “We’re planning to have students do case studies on applications,” he added. “We even have an interview lined up with the creator of an Air Hockey application who is visible for about one second during an iPhone commercial.”
The Apple Software Developers Kit for the iPhone was released last year. Apple dropped their non-disclosure clause and announced an iPhone Developer University Program in the fall so students taking the course will be right on top of the trend. During the course, students will use the kit and receive help from university faculty from the College of Computing Sciences (CCS) at NJIT. Staff from web and technology services will also be on hand. They’ll also have access to Mac computers for developing the program plus their own free iPod Touch.
“The iPhone application marketplace has exploded,” said Narain Gehani, CCS Dean. “The phone’s innovative platform has spawned an application marketplace that has turned into a multi-million-dollar business. Companies are hiring iPhone application developers,” added Gehani. “Anyone taking this course will be well-positioned.” According to Gehani, there’s been a 500 percent rise in demand for iPhone application programmers within the past six months.
In other computing news, NJIT also recently launched a new mobile site. The university joins universities like MIT in offering websites optimized for cell phones and smart phones such as the iPhone. “Students, faculty and staff are increasingly accessing the web through mobile devices,” said Robertson. “We need to provide web sites and services that meet users where they are.”
NJIT was New Jersey’s first university to offer audio and video content through Apple’s iTunes U platform. NJIT currently offers hundreds of audio and video files on that platform, and more than 70 free course lectures and presentations. The classes are part of NJIT’s Open Courseware initiative.
“With one click,” said Blake Haggerty, assistant director of instructional design, “our students can download course lectures from our NJIT on iTunes U site and watch them anywhere at their leisure. Many students like to load these lectures from their computers to their iPhones or iPods and watch them while they are commuting or traveling. We have gotten positive feedback from students who find this to be a great way to review lectures and study for exams.”