Mobile Me(dia)

Shawn Van Every
Fall 2010
Tuesdays 6:30 to 9:00

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 PHP and HTML (web side) and Android (device side). ICM is a prerequisite.


Office Hours:

Tuesdays from 4PM to 5PM


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
Find SMS based interactions or campaigns that you think are interesting. Add them to the wiki for class discussion.
Describe an SMS based application that would be helpful to have at ITP
Make sure you enter your name, email and blog on the class wiki

Week 2

PHP/MySQL, SMS and MMS Parsing
Working alone or in a group, create an SMS or MMS based project for a particular purpose (perhaps working off your ideas for how SMS might be used to benefit the ITP community). Open it up for others to use, pay attention to what works and what doesn't.
Document your work on your blog

Week 3

Mobile Web
Extend your project from last week (starting anew is fine as well) to integrate MMS/Email media submissions or to have a mobile web interface.

Week 4

Catch Up!
See Week 3 Notes
Start working on coming up with midterm project ideas. Talk with potential collaborators. Document and describe ideas on your blog. Prepare to discuss in class next week. Your documentation/description should include what the ideas are, why you want to do them and a diagram of how they could work (wireframes, napkin drawings, etc..).

Week 5

Leveraging Existing Services
Midterm Discussion
Midterms Due Next Week

Week 6

Midterm Presentations
Document your midterm and put a link on the Midterm Presentation Wiki page
Download the Android SDK and Eclipse

Week 7

Application Development: Android
Create a Hello World style application. Try out some different user interface components

Week 8

Application Development: Android
Android SMS Notes
Android Still Camera Notes
Send SMS with Intent Example
Fun with SMS Example
Intent Tester Example
Picture with Intent Example
Full Snapshot Example
Homework: Build something of your choosing that incorporates SMS or picture taking capabilities.

Week 9

Application Development: Android
Android Web View Notes
Examples from Chapter Handouts
Homework: Continue Android project development.

Week 10

Application Development: Android
Media Player Intent Example
Video Capture Intent Example
Camcorder Example
GetTweets Example
Simple JSON Parser
Location Tracking
Flickr JSON with Location
Final Project Discussion
Homework: Come up with final project ideas. Be prepared to discuss in class. What is the idea and why do you want to do it? Prepare a short page or post.

Week 11

Application Development: Android
Finalize Final Project Ideas
Code Examples Chapters 5 through 8 (Sound)
Barcode Scanning using ZXing via an Intent
Homework: Create final project plan and get a start. Draw diagrams, do wireframes, start development.

Week 12

Final Project Work in Progress, Additional Topics
PHP and Android JSON Example
Activity to Activity and Back Again
Procedural Layout Example
Homework: Continue final project development.

Week 13

Workshop, Additional Topics
Homework: Sign up for final presentation slot on Wiki
Document your project on your blog.

Week 14

Final Project Presentations
Expect Guests