App Review

App Review

Tanya Goetz

Communication Design

COMD 4900 Internship

Activity Description: Provide a brief description of the activity

Students are assigned the task of reviewing 2 iPad or iPhone apps for the Creative Professional as one of their internship journal entries in this class. As preparation for this assignment, during our class meeting, I present several apps currently in use in the industry such as Paper, Evernote, Flipboard, MyPrice, Pocket, and Neenah Cabinet. I also provide them with time during class on the department’s iPads to work with these apps after we discuss them. I also given them a verbal review of the app Flipboard, an app I use regularly. During class, I also have them read this short review for the Paper app from MacWorld at
In order to help them find pertinent apps to review, I provide them with the following article from the Guardian ” The top 50 apps for Creative Minds” I also allow them to review one of the apps we’ve discussed in class. I give them three weeks to complete this journal entry on their internship blog. I also provide them with samples of a past student’s review of an app such as this one:

I also the students to present their app reviews orally to the class once the reviews are completed.

Learning Goals: What do you aim to achieve with this activity?

Lifelong Learning
Writing for Professional Purposes
Thinking Critically
Oral Communication

I want students to realize through this assignment that the tools are ever changing in our field and that, as part of their professional lives, they will be required to use new skills, update their skill sets and find new methods to become more efficient at doing their work. Reading professional journals and technology sections of general interest magazines and newspapers that cover our field are key resources for identifying tools they should be exploring. Along with identifying these new tools, they will often be required to communicate how they are using these tools to supervisors and to colleagues. Writing a review of an apps key features helps students develop their abilities in this area as it necessitates thinking critically about an app’s features and then requires them to articulate their thoughts first in writing and then orally to the class. I want the students to share their experience with their classmates, perhaps inspiring a peer to use an app they hadn’t yet tried out.

Timing: At what point in the lesson or semester do you use this activity? How much classroom time do you devote to it? How much out-of-class time is expected?

I assign this lesson sometime between week 5 and week 7 in the semester because at that point most of the students are at this point established in their internship. I devote 45 minutes of one class to covering different apps currently in use and then allow the students 45 minutes to explore working on the department iPads experimenting with the apps I’ve just shown.

Logistics: What preparation is needed for this activity? What instructions do you give students? Is the activity low-stakes, high-stakes, or something else?

For this lesson, one needs to have available a projector/screen and at least one’s own iPad or iPhone (or Android) and have previously worked with the apps you are demonstrating so that you model for the students how to go about evaluating different features, providing a rationale to them for why this app is useful, etc. In the COMD department, we have iPads to use in the classroom and so in advance of the class, I ensure that all the iPads have the apps I will be discussing during lecture and I also make sure I have reserved the iPads/cart for that particular class with the CLTs in advance of class.

This activity is not graded on its own. Instead, the written journal assignment becomes part of their whole internship blog, which is 30% of their grade for the course. So, in that sense it is part of a high-stakes assignment but just a small piece of an overall package. The oral presentation they do on the app review in not graded at all and so is low-stakes but I hope that this time in front of the class helps prepare them for the oral presentation of their complete blog, which is 10% of their grade for the class.

Assessment: How do you assess this activity? What assessment measures do you use? Do you use a VALUE rubric? If not, how did you develop your rubric? Is your course part of the college-wide general education assessment initiative?

There is a rubric for the overall internship journal. I use a rubric that is based on the original ePortfolio rubric that was part of that Title V grant at the college and I have tweaked it for this class.

Reflection: How well did this activity work in your classroom? Would you repeat it? Why or why not? What challenges did you encounter, and how did you address them? What, if anything, would you change? What did students seem to enjoy about the activity?

This activity has worked extremely well in the classroom. The students really enjoy evaluating and experimenting with apps on their iPhone or iPad and many of them write detailed reviews and are enthusiastic in sharing these apps with their classmates.

The only challenge one faces in the classroom is when the iPads for the department need updating or one has an app that only runs on IOS and not on Android, etc.

Additional Information: Please share any additional comments and further documentation of the activity – e.g. assignment instructions, rubrics, examples of student work, etc. These can be links to pages or posts on the OpenLab.

Samples of student App reviews:

Please share a helpful link to a pages or post on the OpenLab

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