Google is now offering an Android application development course through Udacity. Udacity offers what they call Massive Open Online Courses with a focus on science, math, and computer science. The course will not only give step by step instructions to help the student develop their own app over the course of the class, but also teaches the history of Android, letting the students get a feel for the company for whom they are developing. While the course is geared toward Android, it will also include a “best practices” segment which encompasses all of mobile application development in general.
Classes include video instruction taught by Google Developer Advocates Reto Meier, Dan Galpin, and Katherine Kuan. The course will include student forums, as well as quizzes to assess the students. Homework will have a “learn by doing” approach, and the whole course focuses on teaching students to “think like an android developer” while programing. There is an enhanced option of the class where students can get guided feedback throughout the course, for a fee of one hundred and fifty dollars per month. However, the enhanced course has a two week free trial before payment is due.
While the course is specifically designed to teach Android development, it isn’t geared toward novice programmers. Students should have a basic understanding of programming before attempting the course, as it assumes that students have a basic working knowledge of the fundamentals. This is where the distinction between teaching programming and teaching students to think like a specific kind of programmer is defined. The focus and availability of the course — and for free — is genius. It allows Google to draw the interest of amateur or up and coming programmers, while simultaneously training them to operate like the kind of developers they are looking to employ.
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