Graduate student teaches Android programming in course

By: Austin Arceo, ISU Communications and Marketing Staff
May 6, 2013

Indiana State University student Jacob Terry was playing darts with his friend earlier this year and noticed that while electronic dart boards keep score, any other board requires players to keep score on paper.

That's when Terry realized: there's an assignment for that.

Terry is in one of three classes at Indiana State this spring where students learned how to program applications for Android devices. The new course curriculum is the brainchild of Jared Wuerzburger, an Indiana State graduate student who was also a graduate assistant teaching the classes. In the lessons, students learned the basics of programming an Android application. They then needed to consider a problem or situation that they want to improve and create an application to resolve it.

"I've really enjoyed it," said Terry, a junior information technology major from Terre Haute who created an Android app that keeps score of the dart game cricket. "Just the fact that he let us do something that we wanted to do made it fun, and I was even doing it in my spare time at home. I don't really sit around and program about adding two numbers together."

The coursework is a novel approach to introduce information technology majors at Indiana State to computer programming. Wuerzburger, who this spring graduated with his master's in electronic and computer engineering technology before pursuing his doctorate in the fall, enjoyed learning how to program Android devices, as it's a pretty open technology that can easily be modified, he said.

"It allows the students to learn at a pace they like, and they actually take something home with them at the end of the semester," Wuerzburger said, "They have applications that they developed, and can give them to friends and family."

Information technology majors at Indiana State need to take courses to learn about programming. Wuerzburger, who graduated from Indiana State with his bachelor's in information technology in December 2011, developed the new coursework while remembering his own difficulties in learning computer programming.

"I'm just happy that I can give back after what I've been given from the university," Wuerzburger said. "I'm just excited to be a part of the College of Technology team, and I've never been in an environment before where I could impact people in a positive way, and where everyone around me" has the exact same goal.

Wuerzburger developed the new curriculum as part of a five-week initiative in an information technology course. The Android application development has caught on, however, and in the fall it will be a full semester course offered to students.

"We as a department in electronics and computer engineering technology wanted to get response from the students on how well-received it was," said Edie Wittenmyer, who was the instructor of the classes where Jared was a graduate assistant. "It's been overwhelming."Adam Nover, a freshman information technology major from Greenwood, felt lost when he first tried learning computer programming in the fall. Yet the approach to learning Android programming has been better, and he has enjoyed it.

One of the strengths, Nover said, is that people programming an Android application can plug their Android device into the computer and immediately see how the application is coming together and how it will look and function for users.

He also is planning to take the new class in Android programming to be offered next fall.

"Visually, it makes sense, because you can see what's going on," Nover said. "This has really helped for me to understand the concept of it."

Photo: http://isuphoto.smugmug.com/Other/Media-Services/Android-App-Deveopment/i-Xm4qvmr/0/L/04_23_13_android_app-8800-L.jpg (ISU/Tony Campbell)Indiana State University graduate assistant Jared Wuerzburger, left, works with a student who is creating an application for Android devices. Wuerzburger created the coursework as a way to introduce information technology majors to computer programming.

Photo: http://isuphoto.smugmug.com/Other/Media-Services/Android-App-Deveopment/i-BJ5sHLS/0/L/04_23_13_android_app-8834-L.jpg (ISU/Tony Campbell)Indiana State University graduate assistant Jared Wuerzburger, right, works with a student. Wuerzburger, who earned his bachelor's degree in information technology from Indiana State, also will graduate with his master's degree in electronics and computer engineering technology in May before pursuing his doctorate at ISU this fall.

Contact: Edie Wittenmyer, instructor, electronics and computer engineering technology and human resource development and performance technologies, (812) 237-3387 or Edie.Wittenmyer@indstate.edu

Writer: Austin Arceo, assistant director of media relations, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3790 or austin.arceo-negrich@indstate.edu

Story Highlights

Jared Wuerzburger, who this spring graduated with his master's in electronic and computer engineering technology before pursuing his doctorate in the fall, created the curriculum to teach students to program apps for Android devices.

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