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Preparing the Next Generation of Computer Scientists for Canada’s Wireless Future

Sheridan College, already known for its Bachelor of Information Sciences (Security) degree and the wireless specialization stream in its Computer Systems Technology program, announces the launch of a Bachelor of Applied Computer Science (Mobile Computing) degree beginning next September. For a full description, please visit: Mobile Computing

The Wireless Future

“Wireless technology and mobile devices have radically changed the way people communicate, find information and complete business transactions,” explains Mark Orlando, Associate Dean of Applied Computing at Sheridan College. “Despite this shift, many companies are just beginning to figure out how to embrace mobile to enhance their productivity and profitability. Driving the next wave of innovation demands entrepreneurial thinkers who understand both the technologies and the ecosystem in which they operate.”

The Cisco Visual Networking Index predicts that traffic from wireless and mobile devices will exceed traffic from wired devices by 2016. Already in 2012, the world was home to one billion smart phone users and five billion mobile phone users, according to reports by Mobile and Internet analyst Mary Meeker at KPCB. The GTA alone is home to more than 750 companies with mobile content departments, not to mention wireless communications giants such as Bell Mobility, TELUS, and Rogers.

Balanced, Experiential and Flexible Learning

“The curriculum for the new degree balances core computer science, mobile application development, wireless networks, and liberal arts,” says Dr. Edward Sykes, Program Coordinator for the new degree program. “In addition to mainstream areas such as programming, web development, security, computer architecture, software engineering, and database technologies, students will also gain the soft skills they need to excel in today’s creative era, by taking courses such as composition and rhetoric, and electives that range from history and political science to philosophy, psychology, and sociology.”

“To ensure that we foster the entrepreneurial spirit that defines the mobile movement, students are also required to complete two co-op terms,” adds Sykes. “In addition to traditional placements, students have the option to work with industry partners and professors on applied research projects that count toward the experiential learning requirement.” The program also enables students to choose between a professional stream and one that is geared toward graduate studies when they leave Sheridan.

Building on our Strengths

The new degree program builds on Sheridan’s strengths in applied research at the undergraduate level. Sheridan College was recently named first in Ontario and sixth in Canada by Research Infosource on its list of Canada’s Top 50 Research Colleges.

In 2012/13, there were 106 applied research projects directly tied to the curriculum, many of them in the form of capstone projects for advanced diplomas and degrees. “Our goal is to enable students to collaborate with faculty and external partners so that they can apply classroom knowledge to real world problems,” notes Dr. Darren Lawless, Dean of Undergraduate Research at Sheridan College.

Undergraduate research projects tied to mobile application development include work with CSE Games to create a mobile version of its popular board game Gridstones, the creation of a mobile app for Javelin Technologies that turns an iPad into a virtual camera, and work with m-Health solutions to create a blackberry app that remotely detects cardiac arrhythmia.