Computer Science + Art = Apps

UH Class Pairs Graphics Students with Computer Science Students


This semester, University of Houston computer science students and graphic communications students joined forces to develop phone and pad applications as part of their coursework. The final products covered a broad range of topics from apps for bird watchers to apps for selling used textbooks.

“It was a tandem class with instruction synchronized down to the lecture level,” said Ioannis Pavlidis, the Eckhard Pfeiffer Professor of Computer Science. “Students in the computing course were paired with students in the senior graphic communications course offered in the School of Art.”

Sibylle Hagmann, associate professor of the School of Art, taught the graphic design course and collaborated in the synchronized lectures. “My students were very pleased to see their creative endeavors transformed into working applications,” Hagmann said. “It was a win-win situation for both, computer science and graphic communications students, and a tremendous opportunity to simulate real-world collaborations.”

Project teams combined four computer science students and two design students. The course final was a live demo of the phone application and a presentation that included the assessment of the need for the app in the marketplace, its back-end architecture, and how it was tested throughout the development phase.

“The teams really thought through the need for the application. If there were existing products covering that topic, they had to assess how their app would better meet the needs of users,” Pavlidis said.

Other applications developed included a tool to track sales contacts, a 10-minute recipe app, an imaginative word formation game, and a pedometer that tracked the user’s steps. Some of the apps will be available free of charge in the App Store as early as January 2012.

Another feature of the class was the use of crowdsourcing software developed by the teaching assistants, Ilyas Uyanik and Duc Duong, for the evaluation sessions of the class. The courses involved in the joint project were Introduction to Ubiquitous Computing (COSC 4355) and Senior Graphic Communications (ART 4333).

- Kathy Major, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Apps Featured in Graphic

Bird Spotter Texas
Developed by Group Newton: Computer Science students Raghu Reddy - team leader, Charu Hans, Joseph Mathew, and Varun Varghese, and design students Rachael Flores and Annette Elizalde

Developed by Group Vectorized: Computer Science students Jakchalat Chaiyakhom - team leader, Peter Duong, Jose Ribas, and Mufaddal Bhojawala, and design students Tianwei Yu and Taylor Weaver

Developed by Group Code Red: Computer Science students Sailon Freesmith - team leader, Michael Walston, Eric Morales, Josh Warren, and Christopher Gonzales, and design students Valerie Cortez and Michael Edwards