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Faculty member Brian Trager wearing blue shirt instructing class.

When faculty members at Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf were creating a new degree program in mobile application development, they looked to cross-platform developer Xamarin Inc. for guidance and expertise. The result of this collaboration is the fall launch of a new academic program, which recently received approval by the New York State Education Department and earned a grant from the National Science Foundation of more than $820,000.

Funding from the three-year NSF grant, “RoadMaPPs to Careers: A New Approach to Mobile Apps Education featuring a Mapp for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Students,” will train and equip students in RIT/NTID’s Information and Computing Studies Department where the new program will be housed, and is based on the Xamarin cross-platform approach to mobile application development.

Headquartered in San Francisco, Xamarin assisted in the development of the new associate degree program, and company representatives serve on the advisory board for curriculum review. The company recently was acquired by Microsoft.

“Xamarin has given us access to their ‘Xamarin University’ curriculum materials, provided data we needed for our program and grant proposals, came to campus to carefully review our plans and gave us invaluable guidance,” said Elissa Olsen, chairperson of RIT/NTID’s Information and Computing Studies Department. “We are so pleased that they have agreed to serve on our program advisory board and continue to guide the program in the future based on industry trends.”

The company also will support student-learning activities such as career awareness events and will hire students for co-op and full-time employment.

“We are proud that Xamarin will play a major role in the overall success of the mobile app development program, not only because the curriculum uses the Xamarin platform, but also because our experts will advise and assist the team on all aspects of the program,” said Bryan Costanich, vice president of education services at Xamarin Inc. “This is a unique opportunity to work with the deaf community to provide training and employment in one of the fastest growing industry segments.”

The first-of-its-kind Computer Forensics Boot Camp for deaf and hard-of-hearing students was held March 21-24, 2016 at Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf. Twenty-three deaf and hard-of-hearing students participated in a rigorous, week-long training designed to provide them with experience in the rapidly growing field of computer forensics. The boot camp provided 32 hours of training toward EnCase certification – the standard in cyber forensics. More.

Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf has received approval from the New York State Department of Education to offer an associate degree program in mobile application development. The program will prepare students for work in the software development industry with a focus on application design and development for mobile platforms.

“Mobile app development is a field that brings concepts in programming, Web development and interface design together,” said Elissa Olsen, chairperson of NTID’s Department of Information and Computing Studies. “Using current and emerging technologies, students will develop skills in app design, learn relevant programming languages for application development on a variety of smart-devices, and learn the policies and procedures for submitting apps for distribution.”

The program pioneers a unique curriculum that incorporates a cross-platform development framework to create apps that work across multiple platforms, such as iOS, Android and Windows. Most programs adopt the traditional “silo approach” where developing an app for a single platform occurs first before making it work on another platform. By incorporating this cross-platform strategy into the curriculum, students will learn code-sharing strategies through shared projects or portable class libraries with the potential to reuse up to 99 percent of code that will work across multiple platforms and still retain native performance.

The program also incorporates a learning support community, bringing students and faculty together in various activities such as coding competitions, guest speakers and team building exercises. Through this model, faculty and industry experts will serve as mentors to build self-confidence among students and promote greater academic progress.

Experiential learning, such as cooperative work experiences and capstone courses, bring students together with industry partners in all aspects of mobile application development. Students will acquire soft skills, learn teamwork and understand the value of communication beyond the scope of the classroom.

“The new degree program in mobile application development provides our deaf and hard-of-hearing students with the skills needed to compete for highly sought-after positions in this growing field,” said Gerry Buckley, president of NTID and vice president and dean for RIT. “The combination of training and real-world experiences will help to ensure their success.”

RIT’s B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences also awards a bachelor’s degree in Web and mobile computing with a concentration in mobile application development.

Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf has received approval from the New York State Department of Education to offer an associate degree program in mobile application development. The program will prepare students for work in the software development industry with a focus on application design and development for mobile platforms.

“Mobile app development is a field that brings concepts in programming, Web development and interface design together,” said Elissa Olsen, chairperson of NTID’s Department of Information and Computing Studies. “Using current and emerging technologies, students will develop skills in app design, learn relevant programming languages for application development on a variety of smart-devices, and learn the policies and procedures for submitting apps for distribution.”

The program pioneers a unique curriculum that incorporates a cross-platform development framework to create apps that work across multiple platforms, such as iOS, Android and Windows. Most programs adopt the traditional “silo approach” where developing an app for a single platform occurs first before making it work on another platform. By incorporating this cross-platform strategy into the curriculum, students will learn code-sharing strategies through shared projects or portable class libraries with the potential to reuse up to 99 percent of code that will work across multiple platforms and still retain native performance.

The program also incorporates a learning support community, bringing students and faculty together in various activities such as coding competitions, guest speakers and team building exercises. Through this model, faculty and industry experts will serve as mentors to build self-confidence among students and promote greater academic progress.

Experiential learning, such as cooperative work experiences and capstone courses, bring students together with industry partners in all aspects of mobile application development. Students will acquire soft skills, learn teamwork and understand the value of communication beyond the scope of the classroom.

“The new degree program in mobile application development provides our deaf and hard-of-hearing students with the skills needed to compete for highly sought-after positions in this growing field,” said Gerry Buckley, president of NTID and vice president and dean for RIT. “The combination of training and real-world experiences will help to ensure their success.”

RIT’s B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences also awards a bachelor’s degree in Web and mobile computing with a concentration in mobile application development.

Congratulations to RIT/NTID students Thomas Ansill (Computer Science), Jaime Penzellna (Information Technology) and Daniel Saavedra (Information Technology), who recently presented their research at the 2014 Center for Undergraduate Research in Mathematics Student Research Conference in Provo, Utah and at the 2014 American Mathematics Society and Mathematical Association of America’s Joint Mathematics Meetings in Baltimore, Md. More.