University of Texas at Austin, School of Journalism Apps Class
What happens when 13 computer science and 13 journalism students come together with the goal of creating mobile apps? You get five creative, smart startups producing beautiful, clever apps in one semester. Welcome to the future of journalism, courtesy of the University of Texas at Austin.
The secret to the class' success
Of the 26 students, 24 are undergraduates. Most didn't know Objective C, the programming language of IOS. Few had advanced graphical design skills. However, all had the passion to do something that Steve Jobs would call "insanely great." Led by Robert Quigley, a senior lecturer in the School of Journalism, and Joshua McClure, an Austin tech entrepreneur, the class divided on the first day into five teams. By the second class period, the teams pitched their app ideas. The goal at the end of the course was to submit commercially viable, usable apps to the Apple App Store - while having a lot of fun.
The class exuded an atmosphere of teamwork, experimentation, failure and success. The journalism students learned Objective C and the computer science students learned about the media industry, so every student was pushed outside his or her comfort zone. The teammates relied on each other to build parts of the apps. Whiteboard markers went dry, coffee went cold as the students spent their free nights and weekends meeting. The teams gave four stand-up demos for the class and a Demo Day in front of the public at the end of the course for their apps, which ranged from a location-based social news app to an iPad photo scrapbook app.
With journalism playing a strong role in everything we did, the students created bold social media campaigns, wrote excellent blog posts and shot some hilarious videos and photos about their apps. It's an exciting time for journalism, and this is just the first step for UT as we push the boundaries.