App class keeps pace with technology

April 8, 2013

By Kelsey Budd ’14

Technology is constantly evolving and Foster College is helping set the pace.

Dr. Chuck West, professor of business management and administration, is keeping students on the cutting edge of business with a new independent study course that teaches mobile app development.

Dr. West said the course offers students hands-on experience in writing apps for mobile devices as well as fluency with technology and software that are reshaping the way people shop and reach customers.

“In the information systems world, things become out-of-date overnight. There will always be new innovations and changes that need to be made,” West said. “In the real world, you don’t have an instructor telling you what to do.”

During the class, the students partnered with One World Cafe, a local restaurant near Bradley’s campus, to write an app the business could offer online. A team of four students—seniors Tom Meismer and Erich Schwarzbeck, MBA student Mitch Carlyle and alumnus Kyle Jones ‘13—met frequently with the restaurant. After agreeing on the scope of the project and what would be included with the app, the student group then began the building process.

The idea for the class originated from a project that Meismer developed in another of his BMA courses. Meismer, a management information systems and marketing major, coded for his final project an application for a Window’s phone and was approached by Dr. West about doing an independent study.

“To me it is like a puzzle,” Meismer said about developing mobile applications. “You have a problem that you need to solve. So you brainstorm about what the app is going to be, how it is going to function and what you want it to do.”

Meismer said learning in an innovative environment like at Bradley makes tackling the challenge of building an app much easier.

“This was something completely new,” Meismer said about the coding process for mobile apps. “The more you sit down and immerse yourself in your work, the more familiar you become with it and the easier it becomes.

One World is currently testing the application so they can suggest any last changes before the app is published online and available for download.

The course will be offered again in the 2013 fall semester as BMA 479. In it, students will work with apps for Apple, Android and Microsoft Windows operating systems on mobile devices.