University of Maryland offering free online Android programming course

The University of Maryland is offering a free online course on Android smartphone programming, while Android developers earn big bucks. Photo: AP

WASHINGTON, December 27, 2013 — The University of Maryland, College Park is offering a free course, entitled “Programming Mobile Applications for Android Handheld Systems,” through Coursera. The class is being delivered by Dr. Adam Porter, a professor of computer science at the University of Maryland and the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Studies (UMIACS), and is a part of the school’s highly regarded IT program.  

The course seeks to take advantage of the dramatic rise in profits earned by Android app developers. In fact, the Business Insider says “Android is running on 76% of mobile devices and 80% of smartphones. In the same way that Windows software defined the PC era, Android now defines mobile computing and eventually that will translate to even more revenue.”

Business Insider also reports that the Android app store, called “Google Play,” earned $15 million (USD) in November 2013.

Students will be able to complete the course within eight weeks online; for approximately fifty dollars receive a certificate acknowledging their accomplishment. The certificate can also be used to enhance the resumes

Coursera describes itself as “a social entrepreneurship company partnering with Stanford University, Yale University, Princeton University and others around the world to offer courses online for anyone to take, for free.”

The course description reads “Handheld systems, such as smartphones and tablets are now the most common way for people to access and interact with computing services. The demand for application development skills is therefore growing at a breathtaking pace.

“These skills, however, are multi-­‐ faceted, requiring students to master computer science and engineering principles, to learn the details of specific mobile application platforms, and to design artistic and engaging user interfaces that respond to how, where and why handheld applications are used.”

There is no textbook for the course, minimizing the costs to students. The course will be delivered in a series of short internet videos of approximately ten minutes, with follow up questions and activities between each video.

Dr. Porter reminds students “Students should already know how to program in Java, but are not expected to have studied mobile application development.”

Individuals can sign up for the course on Coursera’s website by clicking here.

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Rahat Husain

Rahat Husain has been working as a columnist since 2013 when he joined the Communities. With an interest in America and Islam, Rahat is a prolific writer on contemporary and international issues.


In addition to writing for the Communities, Rahat Husain is an Attorney based in the Washington DC Metropolitan area. He is the Director of Legal and Policy Affairs at UMAA Advocacy. For the past six years, Mr. Husain has worked with Congressmen, Senators, federal agencies, think tanks, NGOs, policy institutes, and academic experts to advocate on behalf of Shia Muslim issues, both political and humanitarian. UMAA hosts one of the largest gatherings of Shia Ithna Asheri Muslims in North America at its annual convention.


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