I haven’t had too much success with programming courses on the Coursera platform, but that doesn’t stop me from taking them. That all changed with the “Creative, Serious and Playful Science of Android Apps” taught by professor Lawrence Angrave.
Mobile app development is something I have been really wanting to get into over the past couple of years. As Android adoption has soared, and the tools for development become more familiar, it seems like a more attainable goal. Lawrence Angrave’s course inspired me to actually do all the assignments, go through the peer review process, and start creating actually useful apps. I can see myself making an app, and it doesn’t seem as much of a challenge as it did a month ago.
For sure, programming Android apps is not for everyone. Only a small percentage of people will ever load the Android SDK on their computer to even start learning how to create an app. But once you get up the learning curve, things start to make a bit more sense and it starts to feel possible.
The course is also unique (to me at least), although the Coursera about page doesn’t mention it. in that it is purposely broken up into two halves. The first half of the course is called the “Android Developer Track” and serves as an introduction to Android at a very basic level. Completing this part is mandatory to get a statement of accomplishment. And the last few weeks of the class are called the “Computer Science and Programming Track”, for those who want to dive deeper into more complex “computer science”. This is optional, and if you complete you will get a separate statement of accomplishment for that part. I wonder if this was an after-thought as it wasn’t mentioned at the start of the course. But I am sure for those who feel like they’ve climbed Mount Everest just to get here are happy that they don’t have to do the most complicated bits of programming just to get credit for passing.
As you can tell by the title, there are fun elements to this course. Both of the major assignments in the mandatory part of the course required the creation of two applications. One was very specifically defined by the teacher, and one was up to you to create. The grading of these assignments was very clear, leaving very little ambiguity as to what grade to give fellow students.
In all, I enjoyed this class and feel I came away having learned something. I can create an Android app tomorrow and get it launched in the Google Play store if I wished. Now to come up with an idea. Kudos to Lawrence Angrave for putting on a nice, well-organized class. Clearly a lot of work into planning.