March April 2012

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idea exchange Idea Design a course that exposes students to cross-disciplinary teamwork and the billion-dollar mobile app industry. Location Villanova University in Pennsylvania Course Design The course divides its 30 students into ten teams, each with one student from business, computer science, and engineering disciplines. Through- out the semester, the teams tackle the technical, marketing, and analytical challenges involved in designing a successful app. Verizon Wireless provided last spring's class with five Android-based Droid X phones with data plans, as well as several guest speakers. Vil- lanova's College of Excellence in Enterprise Technology also provid- ed Apple iOS devices for students to program. Given the choice to work with either Android or iOS, seven of the ten teams chose Android, citing that platform's 29 percent market share. A multidisciplinary team in Mobile Device Programming Last spring, the teams designed apps such as Gift Grabber, which allows users to scan product bar codes to create personal gift "wish lists," and InventoryNow!, which offers small business owners a way to manage inventory with their phones. Recognition The course was recently recognized by the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers in Washing- ton, D.C. Kulkarni, Klassner, and Wagner received the consortium's award for "Excellence in Entrepre- neurship Teaching and Pedagogical Innovation." 64 March/April 2012 BizEd Apps Across Campus How It Started "Mobile Device Programming" was launched through Villanova's Center for Innovation Creativity and Entrepreneurship (ICE Center) in spring 2011. The course is jointly taught by Sarvesh Kulkarni, a professor of electrical and computer engineering in the College of Engineering; Frank Klassner, a professor of computer science in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; and William Wagner, a professor of accounting and information systems at the School of Business. ICE Center director Patrick Maggitti learned about Klassner's work with iPhone programming and Kulkarni's research on how smartphones could be used to support healthcare in develop- ing countries. Once Maggitti talked to Wagner about the fast-growing mobile app industry, he thought it made perfect sense to ask the professors to team teach a cross-disciplinary course. Positive Feedback The professors' biggest challenge was learning to accommodate each other's strengths and expectations, says Wagner. "We had to learn from each other while we learned the details of this new field." But their work has paid off: Response to the course was so encouraging that the professors are teaching it again this spring. In fact, enrollment filled almost immediately after registration opened. Several students who completed the course received summer job offers from companies such as Apple, Google, and SAP. One student received a full- time job offer at Apple, which he'll begin after he graduates in May. The professors will encourage students to tackle even more sophisticated apps this semester, says Wagner. "We had no idea the students would enjoy working with peers from other colleges so much. It turns out that it is quite rare for students from different colleges to asso- ciate with each other in the classroom," he says. "Many said the collabora- tive experience was the best part of the class." IMAGEBROKER/GLOW IMAGES

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