Mobile Me(dia)

Shawn Van Every
Spring 2009
Thursdays 3:30 to 6:00 Room 442

Important Resources:

Syllabus (this page):


Mobile devices (phones) have become devices for both the production and consumption of rich media--augmenting their original purpose as one-to-one communication devices. In this course we will explore the technology that enables the consumption and production of media on these devices with an eye towards how that media can be used in conjunction with the devices' original social and communicative purposes. In short, this course will examine social and participatory aspects of mobile media consumption and generation. Students will create projects that utilize the available technology to explore new forms of social media creation and consumption.

In this course will cover Multimedia Messaging, the mobile web, mobile photography, mobile video, live streaming, geocoding and more. We will utilize both PHP (web side) and Mobile Processing (device side) (possibly Flash Light and/or Android as well) for development. ICM is a prerequisite. Mobile Application Development (experience with Mobile Processing) and/or Dynamic Web Development (experience with PHP) and/or FlashLite although not required, are helpful.


Office Hours:

Tuesdays 1PM to 2:30PM and Wednesdays 4PM to 5:30PM


25% Assignments
25% Class Participation/Attendance
20% Final Project
15% Midterm
15% Presentation

Assignments and Blog:

We will have weekly assignments that are relevant to the previous weeks material. Assignments must be documented (descriptions, photos, screen shots, code, thoughts, and so on) on your blog (see below). They are required and turning in an assignment late will adversely affect your grade.

It is expected that everyone in the class will create and maintain a blog for their assignments as well as other related material. You are welcome to reuse an existing blog but please make it clear which entries are for this course (perhaps with a category). If you don't have a domain or feel comfortable installing your own blog software, feel free to utilize the blogging software that ITP has setup here:

Be sure to enter your name, preferred email address and the URL to your blog (you can always edit this later) on the class wiki


This class is very participatory in nature and discussions will certainly take place outside of the classroom. The primary vehicle for these discussions (as well as administrative issues) will be the listserv. You are required to signup.


Each week (starting the 3rd week of class) we will have student presentations. I will randomly divide up the class and schedule the presentation dates. The topic of the presentations should be a new or somewhat new mobile media technology (hardware, software or service) that relates to the previous topics in the class. The presentations should cover what the technology/service is, what is novel about it, how are people using it and so on.

Final Projects

Class will culminate with final group projects. Being that this is a group project, it will be difficult to work on a thesis project as the final project for this class. Combinations with other classes that you are taking (aside from thesis) are encouraged.

Class Participation

This class will be highly participatory, you are expected to contribute to discussions and give feedback to other students. This (along with attendance) is 25% of your overall grade.


Mandatory, unexcused absences will affect your final grade. If you are going to be absent, please let me know ahead of time if you can.


Excessive lateness will affect your grade. Don't be late.


Laptop use is prohibited while other students are presenting or during discussion. While I am lecturing you may use them for note taking or class related work. In other words, respect your fellow students and don't check your email.


There will be assigned periodic readings. Generally they will be online though occasionally I may hand out a hard copy. These readings are required and are very valuable in class discussions.


There are quite a few blogs and other websites that track the wireless industry. These along with what we collectively find (use the tag mobilemedia) are good starting points:

Weekly Rundown:

Week 1

Introductions: Discussion, Syllabus, Examples, Phones, Carriers, SMS
Do Reading: Chapter 7 of The Mobile Revolution: The Making of Mobile Services Worldwide by Dan Steinbock (Apparently the Google Books version of this doesn't contain all of the pages. I made copies and they are available in my mailbox near the elevators.
Find SMS based interactions or campaigns that you think are interesting. Add them to the wiki for class discussion.
Get setup with the PHP mail parsing script

Week 2

MMS Parsing
Create an SMS/MMS based project for a particular purpose (finding potholes, documenting speeding vehicles, locating clowns), open it up for others to use.
Document your work on your blog

Week 3

PHP/MySQL, Mobile Web, Media Uploading and SMS Services
Extend your project from last week to utilize MySQL and or Uploading and or the Mobile Web

Week 4

Leveraging Existing Services
Extend your project to utilize TextMarks and/or uploading to a blog/another web service
Come up with a midterm project idea, talk with potential collaborators. Document and describe the idea on your blog and prepare to discuss it in class next week.

Week 5

Catch up, Additional Topics, Midterm Discussion

Week 6

Midterm Presentations

Week 7

Application Development: Mobile Processing
Using Mobile Processing, create a phone based application that integrates with an earlier project (photo upload, MMS sending or something else).

Week 8

Application Development: Mobile Processing Continued and Flash Lite

Week 9

Application Development: Android
Create an alarm clock application using either Mobile Processing, Flash Lite or Android. (Mobile Processing Example, Flash Lite Example, Android Example)

Week 10

Bringing in Location
Final Project Discussion
Homework: Create your group and come up with 3 different project ideas. Be prepared to discuss them in class. What is the idea and why do you want to do it? Prepare a short page or post for each one.

Week 11

Live Streaming
Final Project Proposals

Week 12

Final Project Proposals, Additional Topics

Week 13

Final Project Workshop, Additional Topics

Week 14

Final Project Presentations
Expect Guests