RMI 642: Universal Apps Development


RMI 642: Universal Apps Development


The Mediterranean Graduate School of Applied Social Cognition




Dr. Eleni Michailidou


Spring 2014


Instructor Email



Instructor’s personal website, if applicable

  1. Course Description

The course is based on the theory fundamentals of 641 (so knowledge of 641 material will be helpful). Students will develop a variety of new technologies for improving user experience and learning using universal design principles and methodologies. The main objective of the course is to master analyzing problems and developing applications providing solutions to problems and experiences. Universal applications will be developed to adapt regardless of the device that are running on to provide the best experience. In this way, a well-designed universal app will leverage a device’s unique hardware features, provide the right choice of user interface elements, and use only the functionality that is supported by that device. Students will be able to develop an app that is universally used both for device and design perspective.

  ii. Course Objectives


By the end of the course participants should be able to:

  • Have a critical understanding of Universal Design related to assistive technolpogies (AT), the importance and impact on the efficient use and implementation of AT and issues of quality of life and inclusion in everyday activities.
  • Have a real world understanding of the complex needs of older and disabled people when using ICT and people who use AT
  • Critically identify and describe:
    • Standards in Assistive Technologies related to Hard- and Software-Accessibility for diverse user groups
    • Standard input- and output-devices
    • Applications (Games etc) Accessibility and its guidelines
    • Standard scenarios in applications
    • Evaluate and compare new technologies, methodologies and devices on the market
    • Demonstrate the knowledge, skills to design conditions for learning by applying principles of instructional systems design, message design, instructional strategies, and learner characteristics.
    • Develop universal applications that demonstrate instructional materials and experiences using print, audiovisual, computer-based, and integrated technologies.
    • Use MIT App Inventor
  1. Course Prerequisites
  2. Course Credits
  3. Required Texts and Materials
  4. Supplementary (Optional) Texts and Materials
  5. Basis for Final Grade

This course unit is suitable for students following other Masters and PhD pathways. Students should have completed RMI 641

List number of course credits

MIT App Inventor:

David Wolber, Hal Abelson, Ellen Spertus, & Liz Looney (2011). App Inventor: Create Your Own Android Apps (1st ed.). O'Reilly Media.           ISBN: 1449397484.   

Lazar, J (2007): Universal Usability: Designing Computer Interfaces for Diverse User Populations. John Wiley and Sons

Preece, J., Rogers, Y. & Sharp, H. (2011). Interaction Design: Beyond Human-Computer Interaction. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-0-470-66576-3

Benyon, D., Turner, S., & Turner, P. (2004). Designing Interactive Systems: People, Activities, Contexts, Technologies. Addison Wesley. ISBN 321116291

Stephanidis, C. (ed), (2009): The Universal Access handbook. CRC Press Taylor & Francis Group.

Atkinson, M.T. and Machin, C.H.C., (2007): Accessibility: a case of "us and them"?, in DSAI 2007: Software Development for Enhancing Accessibility and Fighting Info-exclusion, 8-9 November, Vila Real Campus of University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro (UTAD).

Atkinson M.T. et al, (2006): Making the mainstream accessible: redefining the game. In Proceedings, Sandbox Symposium 2006, ACM SIGGRAPH Symposium on Videogames, Boston, Massachusetts, July 30-31, pp. 21-28.

Inclusive Design ?oolkit:

Abbott, C. (2002). Special Education Needs and the Internet: Issues for the Inclusive Classroom. London: Routledge.

Alessi, S. M. & Trollip, S. R. (2001). Multimedia for Learning: Methods and Development (3rd ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon

Boyle, T. (1997). Design for Multimedia Learning. Prentice Hall

Students should make use of primary research resources. The following journals publish papers relevant to Design for All, and Universal Design. The following journals and conference proceedings: ASSETS, AAATE, Behaviour and Information Technology, Gerontechnology, ICCHP, Interacting with Computers, Transactions on Accessible computers, Universal Access in Information Systems

AssistiveWare has profiles, podcasts and links to videos on people who use assistive technologies, see link to video One thumb to rule the world.

The Center for Universal Design: See seven principles of Universal Design, select preferred format from:

Inclusive Digital Economy Network – link to videos hosted on YouTube mainly relating to older people using new technologies. Also available as DVD’s

Microsoft Enable:

Trace Centre

   Inclusive Design toolkit

Provide a listing of assessments in the semester total.


Percent of Final Grade

Mini Assignments (on e-Portfolio)


Individual Project 1


Individual Project 2


Group Project

Practical Examination





Course Structure

Class Sessions and Attendance

Attendance is mandatory. In case you need to miss a class session, please inform the instructor a week in advance (except in case of an emergency).

Class Schedule (13 teaching weeks per semester)



Class topic

Class objectives*




Introduction to course

Software barriers

Universal Design

Present technologies that will be used

State of the art in Universal App Development in various disciplines (learning, games etc)

App Inventor

Preece, J., Rogers, Y. & Sharp, H. (2011)



Mobile device application programming interfaces




Resource-sensitive development




Battery and power management




Gestures and multi-touch interfaces




Small device user interfaces




Client-server application development




GPS and location-aware computing




Voice and audio communications




Cameras, images, and video




Hardware sensors




Mobile telecommunication technologies




Presentation of group work

Students get feedback

Students get to evaluate their peers’ work


*The following schedule is subject to change as the material covered on any particular week can be changed according to your process. The schedule below demonstrates only the main subjects that will be covered.

For each week students need to demonstrate ability to develop the topics demonstrated

**Readings: TBA (depends on technologies)

Class Participation

In order for this learning experience to be beneficial and worthwhile reading of the assigned material, contribution to face-to-face and online discussions, and participation in all class activities is imperative. Conversations and ideas can grow if you don’t read the assigned material and/or contribute to the class discussions.


Students work should be assessable and gradable. The learning outcomes include practical experiences, problem solving and group work that would allow for innovation in assessment strategies such as preparing presentations, and demonstrating solutions.

Students are required to generate reports on their weekly activities and projects, working in groups and individual.

Grading Scale


Letter Grade

94 - 100


90 - 93


87 - 89


83 - 86


80 - 82


77 - 79


73 - 76


70 - 72


67 - 69


63 - 66


60 - 62


< 60