CPSC 110-08: Computing with Mobile Phones
Course Syllabus Spring 2015

Catalog Description

App Inventor for Android is a new open source programming language for Android smart phones. App Inventor is a visual language that enables novice programmers to create powerful mobile applications that interact with the web and with other phones. In this course, students will learn how to access the world of mobile services and applications as creators, not just consumers. They will learn to create entertaining and socially useful apps that can be shared with friends and family. In addition to learning to program and how to become better problem solvers, students will also explore the exciting world of computer science from the perspective of mobile computing and its increasingly important effect on society.

Pre/Post Course Student Surveys

This course is based on a curricular framework that is being developed by the College Board, with support from the National Science Foundation, in its effort to create a new Advanced Placement (AP) course in computer science. The goal of the project is to develop a new first course in computing that will broaden participation in computing among women and underrepresented minority. .

We will be following the curriculum outlined by the College Board. To help us assess the course's effectiveness, students will be asked to complete pre- and post-course questionnaires that ask questions about their backgrounds and their experience with and attitudes toward computer sciences.


MWF 10-10:50 AM
Section 110-01: Room 136, Math, Computing and Engineering Center (MCEC)
Section 110-02: Room 124, MCEC


Instructor CPSC 100-01:
Ralph Morelli
MCEC 147
email: ralph dot morelli at trincoll dot edu
Office hours: TBA

Instructor CPSC 100-02: Pauline Lake
MCEC 167
email: pauline dot lake at trincoll dot edu
Office hours: TBA

TA CPSC 100-01: Tony O'Rourke
email: Tony dot ORourke at trincoll dot edu
TA Hours:

TA CPSC 100-02: Claudia Trafton '16
email: claudia dot trafton at trincoll dot edu
TA Hours:


  1. App Inventor 2: Create Your Own Android Apps.
    David Wolber, Hal Abelson, Ellen Spertus, and Liz Looney
    O'Reilly Media, Inc., 2014 (~ $28 new on Amazon)
    Pre-publication Draft

  2. Blown to Bits: Your Life, Liberty, and Happiness After the Digital Explosion
    Hal Abelson, Ken Ledeen, Harry Lewis
    Addison-Wesley, 2010 (~ $18 on Amazon or available via PDF Download)

Lab Materials

  • Each student will be loaned an unlocked Android Tablet. The tablets cost around $150, which is the amount you will be charged if you lose or damage the phone. You may also use your own Android device, if you prefer.

    Course Policies


    Attendance is required. We have only 39 class meetings during the semester. If you miss a class for whatever reason---illness, travel, religious holiday, over-sleeping---you must make up the absence by writing a 300-500 word description of what you missed and posting it on your portfolio within a week of the absence. Except for absences due to serious medical reasons, no more than three such makeups will be accepted. Additional absences will lead to a reduction in your final grade for the course.

    Reading Assignments and Homeworks

    There will regular (almost daily) reading and out-of-class homework assignments. The
    course schedule lists the required reading together with several study questions. Short, written answers to the study questions must be posted on your portfolios before coming to class. These will be graded on 3 points scale -- 2 (complete and correct), 1 (incomplete or incorrect), or 0 (not done).


    In this course you'll document everything you do on your portfolios. That is, you will post everything -- answers to reading questions, write-ups of hands-on tutorials, written responses to assigned articles, documentation of creative projects -- on your personal portfolio page. The portfolios will promote sharing -- you can learn from each other -- and will constitute a full record of what you've done in the course that you can refer back to during and after the course and share with your friends and family. Porfolios will be graded periodically during the semester.

    App Inventor Projects

    There will be three (3) creative projects in which you will work in pairs to create a mobile app that you propose (pitch), design, and implement.

    Quizzes and Exams

    There will 4-5 announced quizzes and midterm exam given during the semester. There will be a comprehensive final exam.

    Oral and Video Presentations

    There will be approximately three (3) oral and/or videotaped presentations of your creative projects during the semester. If time permits, these will be given in class. Although it may be necessary to some of these presentations in one or two evening sessions during the semester.

    Late Work

    The deadlines posted for assignments -- reading and homework assignments, creative projects -- are strict deadlines--once the date passes no credit will be given for work posted after the due date.

    Grade Determination

  • Homework and Reading Assignments -- 15%
  • Quizzes -- 20%
  • Exams -- 25%
  • Creative projects -- 40%

    Academic Accomodations

    Students with Academic Accommodations- Trinity College complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. If you have a documented disability and require academic accommodations, please present your accommodations letter during my office hours within the first two weeks of the semester. If you do not have a letter but have a disability requiring academic accommodations, or if you have questions about applying for academic accommodations, please contact Lori Clapis, Coordinator of Accommodation Resources, at 860-297-4025 or at Lori.Clapis@trincoll.edu.


    Thanks to
    Dave Wolber, Professor of Computer Science, University of San Francisco, who has been teaching App Inventor to his students since 2009, for his guidance and for sharing his textbook and course materials.