New journalism class geared toward apps

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    With the recent growth of mobile access of websites and applications, journalism instructor Steve Levering said he wanted to create a class geared toward the creation of mobile applications, also known as apps.

    Levering is teaching Mobile Web Apps, a new course offered to TCU students that focuses on the history, construction and development of apps.

    He said this is the first time this type of class has been offered in the journalism school.

    The Schieffer School has print, web and broadcast covered, but Levering said with the addition of this class, TCU students can participate in another avenue of communication.

    There are two different types of apps—native and web-based, he said. Since most of his students have limited programming experience, Levering teaches his students about web-based apps, which are much easier to install on differing technologies.

    This flexible, web-based app can be incorporated into mobile platforms because students “can develop for one and then deploy to many,” Levering said.

    “Our students are always looking for new ways to reach readers and to reach customers,” Levering said.

    Apps are becoming that new way of connection, he said.

    The class was designed with communication majors in mind, he said, but is open to all majors interested in establishing a foundation of app knowledge.

    Multiple students on campus saw the app class as a chance to advance in their majors.

    Liz Rector, a senior strategic communication major, said this class provided students with a great opportunity to learn things other people did not know. Rectorsaid the ability to walk into a job and say, “I know how to build an app,” is a huge leg up in this competitive industry.

    So far, the class has covered history of apps and some simple coding, she said.

    She said she also found this class interesting because “you start with nothing and make something out of it.”

    Apps are taking over, she said, and will be very important for public relations and advertising.

    Sara Alderman, a senior strategic communication major, also spoke highly of the class.

    Alderman said once Levering finished this year and received feedback, the app class would provide students with a unique communication experience.

    From what she had observed, Alderman said having basic HTML knowledge is helpful in the real world.

    She said web-based apps can go a long way in the future because of their potential benefits to companies.

    When companies learn that they can independently create their own apps, as opposed to relying on outside businesses to create them, they will make more money because they will be responsible for their own advertising, Alderman said.

    This class will give students an edge in this competitive post-graduate world, Alderman said.

    Even though Levering said he knows “enough to be “dangerous,” he admitted he does not know every thing about apps.

    But through this class, he said, he hopes to teach and learn more about apps.

    Levering said app creation is still in its infancy, so there are still more things to develop.

    Lots of people have developed apps, Levering said, but this field “still feels wide open.”