App development for the social good: Teaching socially conscious mobile app development in an upper-level computer science course

Farzana Rahman, Samy El-Tawab

Research output: Contribution to journalConference Articlepeer-review


Mobile application development is an emerging technology that affects users, developers and almost every sector of our lives. Along with the widespread adoption of mobile devices, there has also been a surge in mobile application development. To meet the demands for next-generation workforce equipped with mobile development skills, there has been an increase in post-secondary courses that teach mobile development. While some courses use it as an application area to teach relevant topics, majority focus primarily on mobile application development itself. These students, the makers of the future mobile technology, who are involved in app creation - from defining the concept to requirements gathering, to final implementation - takes into consideration how the app will work successfully and effectively. However, their design decisions are not always made thinking about how the application will influence the user, the community, and the society at large. To address this critical issue, in this paper, we report our experience with weaving the notion of social and ethical computing while designing and developing an upper-level computer science course on mobile questionnaire development. Our primary course goals were twofold: 1) Teach students the basics of mobile app development with a team project that exposes them to industry level software development practices, and 2) Introduce students to the notion of socially conscious computing from the perspective of how mobile applications and their design decisions can influence human lives and society. By appealing to students' interest in helping others, in this course, socially conscious mobile development aimed to give students life-changing experiential learning not typically achieved in the classroom, while providing a portable software that benefits society at large. We also focused on teaching students to appreciate how computing influence society and how they can play a role in it as future generation technology makers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jun 15 2019
Externally publishedYes
Event126th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: Charged Up for the Next 125 Years, ASEE 2019 - Tampa, United States
Duration: Jun 15 2019Jun 19 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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