Mobile Applications and Services - CS4261 & CS8803 MAS

Course Description

This course covers the area of application development and deployment in today's commercial mobile networks, enterprises, and connected communities. This space is undergoing rapid change as new devices and technologies become available and the network, service, device, and application providers experiment and innovate with new converged architecture models. A goal of this course is to survey the current state of application work in this environment and provide a contrast with traditional telco and Internet environments. We will cover the technical details of the field, the user centered design process, and the business and operational realities which are all equally important to understanding the successful creation of applications and services.

An important goal for this class is to get you thinking about innovation, design, and entrepreneurship. This is a natural fit for this material because the mobile and convergence space is replete with opportunities to build something that other people will use and maybe even launch a business or community project quickly. We expect that many of your class projects should be in the hands of users by the end of the semester (ex: submitting to one of the mobile app stores.) There are many opportunities at Georgia Tech to support you in such an endeavor. One such opportunity is the Convergence Innovation Competition ( Your final project will follow the guidelines for CIC entries, which will be held in November in the Fall and April in the Spring, simultaneously in Atlanta and Metz, France.

While this course is listed in the College of Computing, we highly encourage students from diverse backgrounds and from all majors and degree programs to participate, though prior programming experience is required. In the course project, you will have the flexibility to leverage the contributions of those with a wide range of experiences and interests, and teams with the benefit of diverse perspectives often have a distinct advantage over others.

This course will utilize a combination of in-class lectures and online lectures, and includes a teaching team and lab support from Atlanta in addition to the instructors who will be traveling to Metz from Atlanta throughout the semester. This will include project update presentations which your team will make both in class and online in order to get a diversity of feedback and interaction with the teaching team and MAS students in Atlanta. While we have scheduled the course for three consecutive days each week to accommodate travel schedules, project deadlines, and online presentations, we will not meet as a class for all of these times every week. Any meeting times which are not used for these purposes will guarantee that your team has a time available for project work. Regardless, Your schedule must allow you to participate at the scheduled time and days throughout the semester.


This is a project based course which requires the design and development of a viable end to end running prototype. You will work in teams and as a class to develop these prototypes throughout the semester. You will present your progress and you will review the progress of other teams throughout the semester, including those taking the course at other campuses.

While the focus of the course is mobile applications and services, development work might also include hardware prototypes, telematics/automotive, sensors, robotics, kiosks and information displays, and embedded systems depending on the needs of your project and your interests. In order to produce a viable end-to-end prototype, teams will also need to understand and use a user centered design process, the development of a business model canvas, and some unique details specific to the domain of your project. Because of the wide range of topics (technical, business, and domain specific), you and your team must work together to acquire the skills required to complete your project with the help of the instructor, the class, and the teaching team back in Atlanta. Your team will conduct interviews and work with domain experts, community partners, and end users throughout the course and the development of your project.

Individual contributions to each team will vary depending on the goals, skills, and interests of the individual and the other team members. As a result, beyond the core concepts discussed in class, not all students will learn the same set of skills. It is your responsibility to work with your team to identify, negotiate, and define your specific contribution which will make your project a success. Note that this will be an ongoing process as your project evolves and your team pivots.


Your grade will be calculated from your work on the semester project and individual assignments.

  • Individual Assignments - 20%

  • Project Design and Implementation - 50%

  • Project Presentations, Video, Website, and Documentation - 20%

  • Peer Feedback, Evaluations and Class Participation - 10%

Your teams will be presenting status updates on your projects. Your attendance and participation in these team presentations is mandatory and will be part of your project grade. We will use the class time for these presentations. You and your team will be expected to attend the entire presentation session, and to provide feedback to the other teams. The teaching team will assign the presentation slots each week.

While the course is primarily graded on a group project, it is your individual contribution to the project that determines your grade. We will assess your participation through engagement in class, active participation in each presentation, contributions to the project website on Canvas, and peer evaluations.

There is no midterm or final for this course. The majority of the grade is focused on the projects and your individual contribution to the class through presentations, feedback of other teams, and evaluations of your teammates. Please note that the project and these efforts will require substantial sustained effort and discipline throughout the semester.

Academic Honesty

Students are expected to abide by the Georgia Tech Honor
Code (
. Honest and ethical behavior is expected at all times. All incidents of suspected dishonesty will be reported to and handled by the office of student affairs.


We do not have an official textbook for the class. We will make extensive use of online resources and class notes. you should follow the tech news and stay current on what is going on in this space. Follow sites like TechCrunch, Slashdot, and ArsTechnica to see who is buying whom and why! As well as online resources for Mobile developers such as: Required Reading Regarding Mobile

Class Resources

This semester we are participating in the early campus trial for Canvas, the long awaited T-square replacement. (Woohoo!) Please try logging into Canvas at You will find the updated schedule and resources on Canvas. There are several class resources available on the GT Journey site. See

Development Resources

This page on the GT Journey site contains information about application development for both native and mobile web.

Argon Augmented Reality Browser Documentation
The Programmable Web - One stop shopping for web APIs ATT Developer Portal - AT&T-supported developer resources

Entrepreneurship and Innovation Resources

The Lean Startup - A startup philosophy promoted by Eric Ries that fits well with many student innovators.
The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki is a widely read resource.
DEMO - A place to pitch your ideas. You should go to the alumni page and watch the presentations from previous winners of this event.

Legal Zoom, The Startup Lawyer
Y Combinator
- A popular early seed funding program.
How to Make Big Career Decisions: Don't Tack to Cover

Note that the resources above change from semester to semester, and in particular for GTL we will be developing resources specific to France and Europe.

Course Themes and Topics


  • Smart Cities and Communities

  • mHealth, Health Systems, and Wellness

  • Selected Topics:

  • Context and User Centered Design, Universal Design, Value Based Design, Iterative Design

  • Business Model Canvas, Minimum Viable Product, Revenue Models, Designing for Advertising, Launch Strategies

  • Conducting Interviews, Developing Mockups and Storyboarding, Competitive Research

  • Mobile, Internet of Things (IoT), and full-stack development and best practices

  • Application and Communication Architectures and Platforms, Application and Service Resilience, Identity and Data Management