ITx 2020 Programme

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Teaching Beginners Android Application Development

Wednesday 2:00pm - 2:30pm, CITRENZ (

In recent years, Mobile Application Development (MAD) has been widely taught at most tertiary education providers, polytechnics and universities at different year levels and used in the final year degree capstone projects. Our institute offers MAD courses in the second year of the degree, as well as in the postgraduate IT programme in Level 8. In the degree programme, some students learned second-year advanced programming in Java language in the first trimester while others only have the first-year introductory programming in C++ or C# language in the previous year before enrolling in the 2nd year MAD paper. This creates a problem for the class with a group of students with different learning experiences and skills at the start of the 2nd year MAD paper.
It is challenging to teach MAD using Android Studio and Java to a group of students with a different prior learning experience and without adequate knowledge of Java and object-oriented (OO) development. Based on our experience early on in the trimester, it became clear that only using the traditional lecture PowerPoint slides and text-based lab instructions with minimum figures was not enough to meet the learning requirements by students with different computer programming background.
This research aims to investigate the use of action research and multiple teaching approaches with a flipped classroom in the degree programme for students from a diverse programming background. In particular, the research question is:
• Does the use of multiple teaching approaches and flipped classroom enhance student learning in the MAD course for students from a diverse programming background?

Due to Covid-19, in the fourth week of our trimester, our course had to change to online delivery mode, using Zoom and Moodle. The flipped classroom model met our online teaching well for both beginners and advanced students. From students’ Zoom attendance and their activity of answering questions, it indicated that our strategies engaged students’ learning. The first assignment is UI development, with two extra new features by student self-learning. There were 24 out of 30 enrolled students who completed this assignment in a workable project with diverse features.
From this study, we learned that traditional programming strategies can be applied to teaching Android by comparison to two different software development environments. To meet student requirements from a diverse background, we need to provide various types of course materials for online learning. Flipped classroom approach fits our current situation due to Covid-19. In further research, we would investigate how our strategies work on both beginners and advanced students in the advanced topics in this course by evaluating their results in future assignments.


Minjie Hu


Min started teaching IT in New Zealand 1997 and before that, he taught IT at a university in China for eight years. He mainly teaches computer software courses such as Programming I and II, Mobile Application, Software Development, Software Testing, Database, Data Analytics and Business intelligence. Having published extensively in NZ, Australia, and the USA, Min’s research focuses on teaching novices programming, engagement in eLearning, data analytics in business and finance information, and software testing.

Tony Assadi

Programme Manager, Whitireia

Tony has been involved in a variety of roles in the NZ IT industry and the tertiary education sector since 1998. He has been working at Whitireia & WelTec since 2002, teaching Programming, Database Design, Object-oriented Design and Development, Mobile Application Development, Project Management while also supervising a range of undergraduate Capstone and postgraduate research projects. Tony’s research interests are in Work-Integrated Learning, Computational Thinking in tertiary education, and Digital Divide research.

Chalinor Baliuag

Programme Manager, WelTec

Chalinor has Masters and Bachelor degree in Computer Engineering. She is passionate about IT education with nearly two decades of teaching and leadership experience in tertiary education in New Zealand and overseas universities. Before coming to the Programme Manager role at WelTec, she enjoyed teaching Software Development courses such as Programming III, Software Development & Testing and Mobile Application Development. Her research interests are in developing technological solutions that aid students and staff in designing buildings.