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31285 Mobile Applications Development

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2018 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Information Technology: Computing and Communications
Credit points: 6 cp

Subject level:


Result type: Grade and marks

Requisite(s): 31244 Applications Programming OR 31469 Object-oriented Design OR 48024 Applications Programming
Anti-requisite(s): 31090 Mobile Programming

Recommended studies: basic programming experience is assumed


This subject covers the theory and technologies for the development of applications for mobile devices as well as introducing design principles for applications for small devices. It addresses Android for mobile devices. The subject also provides a basis for understanding how different techniques can be used to develop distributed mobile applications.

Through hands-on laboratory exercises, students are given practice in mobile applications programming and develop their problem solving and research skills in a collaborative classroom environment. Students then put these skills to use on an application idea of their choosing, and individually develop their idea into a complete, medium-sized mobile application.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:

1. Demonstrate knowledge of different software engineering techniques for mobile applications and apply this knowledge to develop an application for a mobile device.
2. Describe the design and architecture of a mobile application.
3. Research new programming techniques to meet the requirements of a mobile application.
4. Identify the challenges that mobile programming has in providing an effective user interface.

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject also contributes specifically to the development of the following Course Intended Learning Outcomes (CILOs):

  • Identify, interpret and analyse stakeholder needs. (A.1)
  • Establish priorities and goals (A.2)
  • Identify and apply relevant problem solving methodologies (B.1)
  • Design components, systems and/or processes to meet required specifications (B.2)
  • Synthesise alternative/innovative solutions, concepts and procedures (B.3)
  • Apply decision-making methodologies to evaluate solutions for efficiency, effectiveness and sustainability (B.4)
  • Implement and test solutions (B.5)
  • Demonstrate research skills (B.6)
  • Communicate effectively in ways appropriate to the discipline, audience and purpose. (E.1)

Teaching and learning strategies

There is a weekly 3 hour class each week starting from week 1.

The first 6 classes cover foundational Android concepts and are designed to get the student up to speed with Android development. These classes will consist of a 1 hour lecture followed by a 2 hour lab. Students are expected to study weekly videos and readings on UTSOnline before attending class, which will form the basis of class discussions and exercises. In the lecture, the weekly topic is discussed and students are invited to ask questions to further their understanding. In the lab, students work on a programming exercise together with other students. In this activity, students will not only apply the techniques that they have learnt from the videos, readings and lectures, but will also research and apply new techniques from the Internet as needed. In the labs, students will also do regular peer reviews and assessments of each other's work. The peer review sessions allow students to learn new techniques from each other, and they also help students to develop a more critical eye for quality code.

With the exception of the week 7 mid-session test and the week 12 final project demos, the remaining classes will each consist of a 3 hour lab supporting the students' development of their final Android projects. In class, students will work on their individual applications and are encouraged to ask the instructor for feedback and also for help with any technical issues. Although students will work individually on different ideas of their own choosing, students will also be expected to share with their peers any useful new programming techniques that they have discovered through their research. These classes are an opportunity to learn new techniques from other students as well as from the instructor. Outside of class, students are also encouraged to share new programming techniques on the UTSOnline discussion board. Each week, students will be required to show the instructor the progress they have made during the week, and it is expected that students come to class prepared with specific questions to ask about their projects.

Classes will run in the collaborative pod classrooms to facilitate communication and interaction between students while working on the exercises and projects. These rooms are not equipped with lab machines, and so students will be expected to bring their own laptops to class with Android Studio installed. Students should use the preparation week to install and become familiar with Android Studio following instructions on UTSOnline before the first class in week 2.

Content (topics)

The major topics are:

  1. Introduction to Android
  2. Activities, Event Handling
  3. Layouts, Widgets, XML, Coding standards, Debugging
  4. ?Async Task, Spinners
  5. Adapters
  6. SQLite, User Preferences
  7. UI design


Assessment task 1: Programming exercises


Students will apply Android programming techniques to build a set of small Android programs. In undertaking this activity, students will develop their research, problem solving and programming skills to create an effective solution.


This assessment task addresses the following subject learning objectives (SLOs):

1, 2, 3 and 4

This assessment task contributes to the development of the following course intended learning outcomes (CILOs):

A.1, B.1, B.2, B.3, B.4, B.5 and B.6

Type: Laboratory/practical
Groupwork: Group, group and individually assessed
Weight: 20%

The students will receive a mark for each exercise.

Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Correctness of functionality and user interface 50 1, 4 A.1, B.1, B.5
Appropriateness of design solution in relation to the context 30 1, 2 B.2, B.3, B.4
Application of researched programming techniques to meet requirements 20 1, 3 A.1, B.3, B.4, B.5, B.6
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Assessment task 2: Mid-session test


The purpose of this assessment task is for students to apply fundamental knowledge learnt in this subject to the problem solving and design requirements of Android applications development.


This assessment task addresses the following subject learning objectives (SLOs):

1 and 4

This assessment task contributes to the development of the following course intended learning outcomes (CILOs):

A.1, B.1, B.3 and B.4

Type: Mid-session examination
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 30%

2 hrs

Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Correctness of the answer 100 1, 4 A.1, B.1, B.3, B.4
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Assessment task 3: Programming project and report


Students will develop an innovative, medium-sized application for a smart phone or tablet that can be commercialised. This will involve problem solving and design skills aquired in this subject.


This assessment task addresses the following subject learning objectives (SLOs):

1, 2, 3 and 4

This assessment task contributes to the development of the following course intended learning outcomes (CILOs):

A.1, A.2, B.1, B.2, B.3, B.4, B.5, B.6 and E.1

Type: Project
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 50%
Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Functionality, sophistication and innovation of the application, quality of the design, and use of researched techniques 70 1, 3, 4 B.2, B.3, B.5, B.6
Communication of design in professional report and source code comments 20 2 B.1, B.2, B.4, B.5, B.6, E.1
Regular reporting of progress, identification of requirements, researched solutions and priorities 10 2, 3 A.1, A.2, B.1, B.4
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Minimum requirements

In order to pass the subject students must:

  • attend a minimum of 80% of the classes, and
  • attempt all assessment tasks, and
  • achieve 50% or greater in Assessment Task 2, and
  • achieve an overall mark of 50% or greater.

Students who do not meet these minimum requirements but achieve an overall mark of 50% or greater will fail the subject and receive their overall mark with an "X" (fail) grade. However, if students do not achieve 50% or greater in Assessment Task 2 but meet all other minimum requirements stated above and also achieve 50% or greater in Assessment Task 1, they are still elligible to receive a passing grade in the subject.

There is no scheduled late submission period for any assessment. Special consideration, for late submission, must be arranged before the due date with the Subject Coordinator.

Required texts

The Android Developers Website

Recommended texts

For supplementary reading, the student may optionally purchase one of the following recommended texts:

Phillips, B., Stewart, C., Hardy, B., Marsicano, K. (2015). Android Programming The big Nerd Ranch – 2nd Edition

Smyth, N. (2015). Android Studio Development – Android 6 Edition

Other resources