Stanford Testing iPhone Application Suite

A suite of five software applications developed by students at Stanford University to run on Apple's iPhone is now being tested on campus. Two are for students, to manage course registration and bills. The other three will allow users to access Stanford's searchable campus map, get team scores and schedules, and check listings in the university's online directory, StanfordWho.

The university contracted with Terriblyclever Design, a startup company in San Francisco co-founded by Stanford student Kayvon Beykpour, to develop the suite of applications under the university's iApps Project. Beykpour is a junior majoring in computer science, and five of his company's six full-time employees also are undergraduates at Stanford.

During a pilot phase that launched recently, a select group of students who work in residential computing will test a beta version of the iPhone applications.

"We have talented students with good ideas about how they want to access administrative systems and services," said registrar Thomas Black, whose office is overseeing the project. "We want to harness their genius. We want to be able to say, 'You can come to Stanford, where students develop the applications that students use.'"

"We really were passionate about being more engaged in these systems," Beykpour said. "I am a student, and I use all these services, and I can't tell you how exciting it is to spend your time working in a capacity that you love working in--but also such that your final product affects your community."

Project leaders said the idea of letting students access key online systems and resources at Stanford via the iPhone began last May, when administrators in the registrar's office had a vision of introducing mobile applications that would enhance student life. The administrators then got in touch with Beykpour, and his company proceeded to develop the applications over the summer.

The university is offering a computer science course this fall titled, "iPhone Application Programming." The class currently has more than 80 students registered.

"We're offering this class because we think it provides students with a good way to exercise the foundations of computer science on an exciting new platform," said Mehran Sahami, an associate professor of computer science overseeing the course.

Acknowledging that security is a top priority, Tim Flood, director of student affairs information systems, said the same principles and practices currently governing the use of laptops and desktop computers at Stanford also will apply to mobile devices using the new applications. The applications will be compatible for anyone with an iPod touch as well.

Earlier in September Apple launched iPhone Developer University Program, for institutions looking to introduce curriculum for developing iPhone or iPod touch applications.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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