New Applications: Web Development in the 21st Century

New Applications introduces students to the rapidly evolving world of apps, or applications. The introduction of the Apple II in 1977 followed by the IBM PC and scores of compatible computers just four years later created strong consumer demand for software programs, as these applications were referred to at the time. Capable of formatting spreadsheets, composing and proofing hundreds of lines of text, or supporting classroom instruction, computer programs were initially sold by specialty stores, college bookstores, or through the mail.

The explosive growth of the Internet that followed at the beginning of the twenty-first century with the introduction of high-speed networking, the dynamic World Wide Web, and most recently the development of affordable smartphones and web tablets have all contributed to global, cultural, and societal change.

This course begins with a historical tour of the Internet and World Wide Web as well as the programs and applications that made it possible for computer users on every continent to begin to explore and better understand their world. Then, through astep-by-step introduction to WordPress, students gain the tools and insight necessary to create their own web pages and discover their online voice.

In addition to learning how to use WordPress and other applications that promote students' presence on the World Wide Web, this course discusses how the web has become the foremost channel for the distribution of applications that increase the functionality of the web and support a global hub of social networking and communication. Students are introduced to the evolution of networking and data-transfer capabilities beginning with early HTTP protocols continuing through to the recent introduction of smartphones capable of connecting to sites on the World Wide Web without having to rely on a browser for navigation.

The course concludes with a survey of the continuing explosion of new apps, or applications, designed to operate on one or more of the proprietary mobile devices (smartphones, tablets, and netbooks). Students are given an opportunity to track fundamental changes in this growing industry as development has moved from the original model of a single experienced programmer developing a single app for distribution at little or no cost to a model in which retailers, non-profit organizations, government agencies, and Fortune 500 companies contract with mid-sized marketing and communications firms to develop sophisticated apps designed to raise global market and public awareness of institutions and issues. Additionally, students have an opportunity to understand that career opportunities in app development have evolved from programming and coding to now include marketing, public relations, creative arts, project and product management and sales, with a growing number of careers in the industry requiring little if any actual programming experience.

New Applications is a survey course that travels from the first software programs developed to facilitate communication on the Internet to the new generation of mobile and native apps that access the Internet without a reliance on a web browser. New Applications is also a practical course in how to develop a presence on the World Wide Web using WordPress and other available web-application tools. The goal of the course is to provide the learner insight into the rapidly evolving universe of programming and application development so that he or she can make informed career decisions in an industry that is changing as quickly as it is growing.


  • Describe major advances in network and communications technology beginning with the early Internet and continuing through the introduction of web-enabled smartphones and other devices.
  • Create a web presence using simple applications.
  • Evaluate and select from a variety of web development tools and apps those most appropriate for their interests and needs.
  • Design a current generation app for use on a smartphone or tablet.
  • Evaluate the education and training qualities and experiences essential to secure a position with growth potential in the app industry.

This is an introductory course in the history and development of new applications for use on web-enabled devices including personal computers, tablets, smartphones, and ultra-books. While there are no specific prerequisites for this course, students should have a basic understanding of the Internet, the World Wide Web, browsers, file formats, hardware, and software applications. Students who have working knowledge of IP addressing, programming, the differences among local, wide-area, and cloud-computing networks as well as the current state of mobile devices will be well prepared to complete this course

State: National
Grade Level: 9, 10, 11, 12
Category: Information Technology
Course Length: Semester