Students building class apps: 'It's just logic and a little creativity'

CORVALLIS, Ore. -- Colleges across the country are offering intro to app design classes that give people with proposed phone programs a chance to make their ideas a reality.

These classes give students a framework for building apps, even if the student isn't a techie. University of Oregon computer science professor Steven Fickas said the students taking in his "apps with impact" class come from diverse educational backgrounds.

Students in the class have produced dozens of apps, from a no-texting-while-driving app, to one that gives you something to do while your spuose is busy golfing.

"There's no requirement that they have any programming and by the end they're building some pretty cool apps, I think," said Fickas.

While these classes do offer the building blocks for beginners, some people try out app design on their own. An Oregon State University student put his tech skills to the test and tried designing his own cell phone programs from scratch. Now on his third app, Chris Vanderschuere found that even the moon wasn't out of reach.

"I think the average person could definitely do it a lot more than they think they could," Vandershuere said.

He created a "moon" app that has everything a person could need to know about the moon on the go. The Oregon State student tells us exactly how long it takes to travel to the moon, down to the second.

"So in a car, at 60 miles an hour, it would take you 5 months, 17 days, 21 hours, 11 minutes and 9 seconds," said Vandershuere. "I've been working on it for 2 years or so."

Keeping with the numbers, Vandershuere said about a million more people downloaded the moon app than he had expected.

Among those to download the program was a Portland-area kayaking company. They say they are using the moon app to plan their full moon trips.

"You can look at how many Eiffel towers it is to the moon. It's just logic and a little creativity," said Vandershuere.

The University of Oregon and Lane Community College both have intro to app-making classes.

If you don't want to take classes for app making, there is a wealth of information you can online. Fickas said Android app making is easier than iPhone app making.