Code Submission

Due September 1st. Please send a zip file of your code to thehub@utsc.utoronto.ca. Thank you.


AppStar is the University of Toronto Scarborough’s Mobile App Development Competition. The contest provides students like you with an opportunity to turn good ideas into great mobile apps, with a chance to win big cash prizes.

Entry: The contest entry is now closed.

This year there will be two categories: (1) research, and (2) campus community.

To help you get started on your thinking, here is a description of the categories:


Research App

The main criteria for the Research category are: (1) that it benefits or supports research conducted at the University and (2) that it be an original submission that has not already been funded through a research grant. Students are required to work with a faculty mentor (or minimally have a faculty member who supports the project), who has research status at UTSC.

Judges will award high points for originality, usability, and the salience of the research component of the app. Example of an excellent app would be one that augments a professor’s research, for instance in the collection of data for research in environmental science or biology. Example of a weak app would be one that fails to benefit research in a direct way. Further, the app should be highly RELEVANT to the research purpose it is being developed for, yet be designed in such a way that it could be deployed easily for related instances of use (i.e. it should not be hard coded for a sole purpose). For example, a utility that uploads the collection of data from a smart phone may want to be flexible enough in its design that it can be easily used for a wide variety of research purposes. It is anticipated that a web app may very likely be a key component alongside of the mobile app, but it is the mobility component that is central to the judging in the contest.

Campus Community App

The main criteria for the Campus Community category are: (1) that the app benefit students, (2) that it benefits and/or supports the mission of the UTSC Department of Student Life, and (3) that it is an original submission that has not already been submitted to AppStar previously for judging (it can be an idea that was proposed, but not a previously submitted app). Judges will award greatest points to originality, topical focus tying to the UTSC Department of Student Life, and the broad appeal of the app. Example of an excellent app would be one that augments student experience within student clubs. Example of a poor app would be one that duplicates an existing information channel or that does not pertain to the mission of the Department of Student Life, i.e. a course calendar app. The app should be highly SCALABLE, which means that it should easily be deployed for other instances of use, i.e. it should not be hard coded for a sole purpose. Please feel free to design your application for a specific group of students rather than the entire campus, but note that all contestants will be required to describe their target audience and explain why their application will appeal to that group.

Contest Details

Additional resources will be made available throughout the contest, including workshops on project planning, developing and testing for iOS and Android.

Please team up with other students to collaborate on creating an amazing application, teams can include up to five members. If you have an idea but don’t know much about coding, come to The AppStar Networking at The Hub on Monday, April 28, 3 to 5 pm for a chance to have fun, meet new people and possibly recruit team-members.

Key Dates
Launch of competition April 2, 2014
Networking at The Hub, 3-5 pm April 28, 2014
Idea Submission Deadline Extended to June 9, 2014
Student intake into The Hub As applications arrive
Blueprint Submission Due June 20, 2014
In-House Demo (working component) July 25, 2014
App completion and code submit September 1, 2014
Judging Finalists to be notified email
Awards and Public Demo Finalists to be notified email
Project Planning Planning your development is key. Stay tuned for the announced date and time.
iOS Programming The details of actually programming and working through development cycles is vital to successful development. Stay tuned for the announced date and time.
Testing Testing the app is often as important as the making of the app itself, and is a step that is often under estimated. Stay tuned for the announced date and time.


1st Place
$ 3,000
2nd Place
$ 2,000
3rd Place
$ 1,000

Application Judging

All applications submitted by September 1, 2014 will be judged by a panel consisting of members of the faculty and staff at UTSC with professional experience in computer programming, communication and media production, and/or digital product design.

Applications will be judged on the following criteria:

Originality [10pts] How original is the app? Has this been done before?
Quality of programming [20pts] How difficult was the programming? Were there coding bugs and glitches? Did the team use complex scripts? Is the coding efficient?
Applicability to Category [20pts] How well does the app fit the category in which it has been submitted?
Design & Usability [20pts] Quality of design, ease of navigation and meeting accessibility standards
Coherence [10pts] Does the resulting App cohere to the original proposal? Does it meet the jury’s expectations?
Scalability [20pts] Is the app scalable in its ability to be deployed for use?

All submitted applications will be demonstrated to the evaluation committee, which will include a full review of the features and a brief interview to describe the intended audience, why the application would appeal to that audience and options for future development for the application. In addition, all application code will be submitted for review.

Contest Rules

  1. Teams and individuals participating in the competition should adhere to high ethical standards and behave in a way that promotes fair play and respect for others.
  2. All team members must be enrolled in UTSC courses either as part-time or full-time in Winter 2014, and/or Summer 2014.
  3. The competition is open to both undergraduate and graduate students at UTSC.
  4. Teams may have up to five (5) members.
  5. Student participants may not compete on more than one (1) team.
  6. Team members must be responsible for the majority of the work, as well as the majority of resources put into the creation and marketing of the app. Teams may, however, use third-party frameworks, as long as they have acquired appropriate licenses to use them.
  7. Teams are encouraged to solicit help from faculty mentors, or friends, as long as all other contest rules are observed. These additional participants will not be recognized as “official” team members; mentors are advisory only; this specifically applies to BOTH contest categories.
  8. Teams may submit only one (1) app for the competition, but they may have an additional version for an alternate operating system if desired. Please note that no bonus points will be awarded for multiple operating systems. All teams will be asked to submit one (1) version for code review. (for bonus points).
  9. Teams may not submit an app that has been previously submitted for judging in an earlier AppStar competition; however, ideas for apps that were previously registered, but not completed or submitted for judging, may be re-submitted.**
  10. The proposed idea must be new. No other app (including apps in development) should do what the proposed app does.
  11. All code used to develop official competition entries must be original and must be submitted for review. Judges will examine coding as part of the evaluation. Teams retain all rights to their app and code. The app and coding will be deleted/destroyed after evaluation with no retention by AppStar.
  12. Contestants maintain full intellectual property for their submissions. The University of Toronto will not have any claim on the intellectual property of their submissions.
  13. Evaluation committee members agree not to disclose any non-public, confidential or proprietary information including application ideas, know-how, and computer code submitted for the AppStar competition.
  14. Winning contestants agree that the application version submitted to the AppStar competition can be made available free of charge to the University of Toronto community. Any effort to implement requested changes or additional features to the original application may be done for a fee, with agreement of and sponsored by the requesting department. A working version 1.0 of the app must be completed and delivered for a prize of the contest to be awarded in full; failure to do so may result in reduction of the award until such time as the app is completed to version 1.0, i.e. basic functionality in place and the app suitable for initial release and use.
  15. Winning contestants agree that the application submitted to the AppStar competition will be provided to contest organizers and will be hosted by the Information and Instructional Technology Services (IITS) department in order to make the application available to the University of Toronto. Any subsequent deployment of the application to other audiences will be the responsibility of the contestants themselves.
  16. Any team found using plagiarized or unauthorized material will be disqualified at UTSC’s discretion. For example, do not download non-public domain images and include them in your app. Using an open source library is not plagiarism if you follow the terms of the library’s license agreement, which usually involves giving credit to the open source author or project. Follow any applicable licensing terms carefully. If you use someone’s code, give credit via a comment in the source code and appropriate acknowledgement in your info/credits screen.
  17. UTSC reserves the right to disqualify teams if they feel it is in the best interest on the competition. This would include but not be limited to use of images or language that are deemed offensive, indecent, or objectionable.
  18. UTSC reserves the right to not award prizes if submissions are not of sufficient quality.
  19. UTSC reserves the right to eliminate a particular submission category from the contest if there are less than ten (10) entries in that category. In this instance, the remaining category may be modified to include a larger scope and any existing entries, at the discretion of the contest organizers.
  20. UTSC reserves the right to change and/or otherwise alter these rules at any time and for any reason.
  21. The mobile app must be developed for one or both of the following operating systems:
    a. Apple iOS
    b. Android
  22. All prizes will be distributed to the team member identified as Team Captain. It is the responsibility of the Team Captain to share the prize among team members according to the agreement of division within that team.

** Apps that were initially submitted but withdrawn from AppStar prior to a submission for judging remain eligible for submission.