Media Releases

New Engineering MOOC to teach 100,000 students how to build Swift-based iOS9 apps

September 10, 2015

Toron­to, ON — Mobile devel­op­ers around the world have been scram­bling to mas­ter Apple’s newest mobile oper­at­ing sys­tem (iOS9) and the company’s lat­est app pro­gram­ming lan­guage since they were announced ear­li­er this year.

The new app lan­guage, called Swift, was designed to help novice devel­op­ers start build­ing their own appli­ca­tions for mobile devices — and Parham Aara­bi (ECE) aims to help get more than 100,000 new pro­gram­mers up to speed. On Sept. 15, he launch­es a new MOOC (short for mas­sive open online course) to teach any­one with an inter­net con­nec­tion how to devel­op appli­ca­tions for the new oper­at­ing sys­tem.

“This Spe­cial­iza­tion is going to teach thou­sands of peo­ple how to build apps that meet their own needs,” says Aara­bi, a pro­fes­sor in The Edward S. Rogers Sr. Depart­ment of Elec­tri­cal & Com­put­er Engi­neer­ing at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to, as well as the founder and CEO of Mod­i­Face Inc.

Aara­bi is team­ing up with one of ModiFace’s iOS devel­op­ment experts, Jack Wu, as well as Uni­ver­si­ty of Toronto’s Michael Spears, to deliv­er the Spe­cial­iza­tion through Cours­era, the world’s largest open online edu­ca­tion provider. Togeth­er, Aara­bi and Wu have over­seen the devel­op­ment of over 100 iOS apps at Mod­i­Face that have been down­loaded more than 60 mil­lion times. Spears man­ages U of T’s Mobile App Devel­op­ment Lab, and Aara­bi is well known as an expert on opti­miz­ing user expe­ri­ence and user inter­faces.

“Teach­ing at U of T, I can impact about 200 stu­dents a year,” says Aara­bi. “The thing that ini­tial­ly inter­est­ed me about teach­ing this Spe­cial­iza­tion was the chance to reach up to 100,000 peo­ple through the cours­es — there’s poten­tial for so much cre­ativ­i­ty and pro­duc­tiv­i­ty here, and I find that oppor­tu­ni­ty incred­i­bly excit­ing.”

Learn­ers who com­plete the three cours­es, as well as the final cap­stone project of build­ing their own unique pho­to-relat­ed app for iOS, will receive a Spe­cial­iza­tion in iOS App Devel­op­ment in Swift. Through­out the course, stu­dents will take online quizzes and con­duct peer assess­ments, includ­ing pro­vid­ing feed­back to class­mates on the apps each they will devel­op as their cap­stone project.

“We are thrilled to offer a Spe­cial­iza­tion in iOS App Devel­op­ment in Swift from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to, a very cur­rent sub­ject, and one in very high demand among our learn­ers,” said Daphne Koller, pres­i­dent and co-founder of Cours­era. “We are espe­cial­ly excit­ed to see the hun­dreds of thou­sands of apps that peo­ple all over the world will learn to cre­ate as a result of this Specialization’s Cap­stone Project.”

Reg­is­tra­tion is now open on Cours­era, with class­es begin­ning Sept. 15. Stu­dents inter­est­ed in the course can down­load a new app called SHIFT, built in Swift as a pre­view of what stu­dents can expect to learn, after iOS9 is released on Sept. 16.

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For more infor­ma­tion, con­tact:

Mar­it Mitchell
Senior Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Offi­cer
The Edward S. Rogers Sr. Depart­ment of Elec­tri­cal & Com­put­er Engi­neer­ing
416–978-7997
marit.mitchell@utoronto.ca