The design of mobile apps: what and how to teach?

S. Stuurman, B.E. van Gastel, H.J.M. Passier

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Article in proceedingAcademicpeer-review


Mobile applications (or mobile apps or apps for short) gain importance, and will, as is our expectation, find a place in the curricula of Computer Science and Software Engineering. In books, courses and tutorials, not much attention has been given to the design of mobile applications.
In this paper, we describe the anatomy of mobile apps, using Android as an example. Based on this anatomy, we offer an inventarization of modeling techniques that can be applied to adequately design mobile apps. Some of these modeling techniques are already taught in most curricula, albeit in different courses. A modeling technique that is useful for several aspects of mobile apps is the Interaction Flow Modeling Language (IFML). This modeling technique would have to be introduced when one would like to teach students how to design apps.
We also describe which strategies can be followed when introducing mobile apps in a curriculum: as a subject of a course, together with knowledge of the concepts and the necessary modeling techniques, or as examples in different courses. We discuss advantages and disadvantages of both approaches.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Fourth Computer Science Education Research Conference
Subtitle of host publicationCSERC 2014
EditorsErik Barendsen, Valentina Dagiené
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)978-1-4503-3347-4
Publication statusPublished - 5 Nov 2014


  • Designing mobile applications
  • Computer science curriculum
  • Android
  • Universal modeling language
  • IFML
  • UML
  • Interaction flow modeling language
  • Curriculum


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