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Object-oriented Java programming

This module teaches the fundamental ideas behind the object-oriented approach to programming through the widely-used Java programming language. Concentrating on aspects of Java that best demonstrate object-oriented principles and good practice, you’ll gain a solid basis for further study of the Java language and object-oriented software development. You should have experience in writing small computer programmes that use selection and iteration; successful completion of the programming tasks in the OU level 1 module My digital life (TU100) would be ideal preparation. You should also be able to write short explanations of technical ideas and be able to communicate with others electronically.

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OU qualifications are modular in structure; the credits from this undergraduate-level module could count towards a certificate of higher education, diploma of higher education, foundation degree or honours degree.

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Module

Module code
M250
Credits
30
Study level
OU SCQF FHEQ
2 8 5
Study method
Distance Learning
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements
See Am I ready?

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What you will study

In the Object-oriented view of software, programs are considered to be collections of objects that interact by sending messages to one another and reacting to the answers to those messages. These ideas are at the forefront of modern software development.

The module takes an ‘objects first’ approach to teaching; you start seeing and interacting with graphical objects right from the very start. This is achieved by working within innovative and engaging micro worlds that allow you to learn basic object-oriented principles, before you attempt Java syntax or source code.

Throughout the module you will use BlueJ, an integrated development environment (IDE) specifically developed for teaching and learning object-oriented programming. BlueJ is used worldwide and is easy to use. It places special emphasis on visualisation and interaction techniques to provide a highly interactive environment that encourages experimentation and exploration.

In the first part of the module you will interact with micro-worlds of graphical objects to explore basic object-oriented ideas. You will soon start using Java code and syntax to write your own simple object-oriented code using the BlueJ IDE. Basic object-oriented concepts such as attribute, state, protocol, class and subclass are introduced, initially through interaction with the micro world, and then in the context of writing Java code. You will be expected to write short methods (the smallest units of code in Java) to specification.

The module continues the teaching about fundamental object-oriented ideas by investigating:

  • inheritance hierarchies
  • overriding methods
  • abstract classes
  • interfaces
  • polymorphism
  • re-use of code
  • static methods and variables.

Along the way, you’ll learn about creating your own classes, about the facilities of Java for selection and iteration, and more about some of the core, provided Java classes. Different kinds of errors are discussed together with techniques for error handling, program design and debugging. After discussion of the need to design code, you will be expected to be able to implement to specification a class along with its methods.

You will then be introduced to a subset of the Java collection classes, and related issues such as ordering and sorting. You are guided to apply the knowledge you gained from the first parts of the module, along with the new classes being introduced, to increasingly complex programming exercises. The skill of appropriately utilising a provided library of classes (searching for a useful class and method, for example) is explicitly developed in this context, and re-use by composition is discussed.

The last part of the module begins by investigating how data is written to and from files in Java and how objects can be made persistent by writing them to file. Both of these techniques are useful in larger scale programs.

If you are considering progressing to Algorithms, data structures and computability (M269), normally you should have completed or be studying this module. M250 also provides the level of knowledge of Java required for Software development with Java (M256) and is one of the modules listed as a possible prerequisite for Accreditation of Certificated Practitioners 2 (TM227).

Vocational relevance

This module provides you with a basis for further study of Java programming and introduces you to many (but not all) concepts that are tested by Java Certified Programmer and Java Certified Associate exams.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor who will help you with the study material and mark and comment on your written work, and whom you can ask for advice and guidance. Throughout your study you will use email and online forums to keep in touch with your tutor and other students in your tutor group. We may also be able to offer face-to-face group tutorials that you are encouraged, but not obliged, to attend. Where your tutorials are held will depend on the distribution of students taking the module.

Contact us if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.

Assessment

The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box above.

You will be expected to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) online through the eTMA system unless there are some difficulties which prevent you from doing so. In these circumstances, you must negotiate with your tutor to get their agreement to submit your assignment on paper.

Future availability

The details given here are for the module that starts in October 2015. We expect it to be available once a year.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the Module Regulations and the Student Regulations which are available on our Essential documents website.

Course work includes:

2 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
5 Interactive computer-marked assignments (iCMAs)
Examination
No residential school


Entry

This is an OU level 2 module and you need to have a good knowledge of the subject area, obtained either through OU level 1 study, or by doing equivalent work at another university.

Successful completion of the programming tasks in the key introductory OU level 1 module My digital life (TU100) would be ideal preparation for this module.

You are expected to be familiar with:

  • basic programming concepts such as assignment to variables, selection and iteration
  • the basic components and working of a personal computer.

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.

Register

Start End England fee Register
03 Oct 2015 Jun 2016 £1350.00

Registration closes 10/09/15 (places subject to availability)

Register

You may need to apply for some payment or funding options earlier. Please check the Fees and Funding information or contact us for information.

This module is expected to start for the last time in October 2017.

Additional Costs

Study costs

There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as a laptop, travel to tutorials, set books and internet access.

If you're on a low income you might be eligible for help with some of these costs after you register.

Ways to pay for this module

Open University Student Budget Account

The Open University Student Budget Accounts Ltd (OUSBA) offers a convenient 'pay as you go' option to pay your OU fees, which is a secure, quick and easy way to pay. Please note that The Open University works exclusively with OUSBA and is not able to offer you credit facilities from any other provider. All credit is subject to status and proof that you can afford the repayments.

You pay the OU through OUSBA in one of the following ways:

  • Register now, pay later – OUSBA pays your module fee direct to the OU. You then repay OUSBA interest-free and in full just before your module starts. 0% APR representative. This option could give you the extra time you may need to secure the funding to repay OUSBA.
  • Pay by instalments – OUSBA calculates your monthly fee and number of instalments based on the cost of the module you are studying. APR 5.1% representative.

Read more about Open University Student Budget Accounts (OUSBA).  

Employer sponsorship

Studying with The Open University can boost your employability. OU qualifications are recognised and respected by employers for their excellence and the commitment they take to achieve one. They also value the skills that students learn and can apply in the workplace.

More than one in ten OU students are sponsored by their employer, and over 30,000 employers have used the OU to develop staff so far. If the qualification you’ve chosen is geared towards your job or developing your career, you could approach your employer to see if they will sponsor you by paying some or all of the fees. 

  • Your employer just needs to complete a simple form to confirm how much they will be paying and we will invoice them.
  • You won’t need to get your employer to complete the form until after you’ve chosen your modules.  

Credit/debit card

You can pay part or all of your tuition fees upfront with a debit or credit card when you register for each module. 

We accept American Express, Maestro (UK only), Mastercard, Visa/Delta and Visa Electron. 

Mixed payments

We know that sometimes you may want to combine payment options. For example, you may wish to pay part of your tuition fee with a debit card and pay the remainder in instalments through an Open University Student Budget Account (OUSBA).

For more information about combining payment options, speak to an adviser or book a call back at a time that is convenient to you.


Please note: your permanent address/domicile will affect your fee status and therefore the fees you are charged and any financial support available to you. The fees and funding information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2016. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees. 

This information was provided on 04/07/2015.

What's included

The module uses printed units and supplements together with some supplements that are available in PDF format only. There is a module website including electronic copies of printed materials, other documents, software, programming activities, student forums and a study planner.

Computing requirements

You will need a computer with internet access to study this module as the study materials and activities are accessible via a web browser. Any other computer-based activities you will need to carry out, such as word processing, using spreadsheets, taking part in online forums, and submitting files to the university for assessment, are specified in the module materials. If any additional software is needed for these tasks it will either be provided or is freely available.

We recommend one of the following:

  • Windows desktop or laptop computer running Windows 7 or later operating system
  • Macintosh desktop or laptop computer running OS X 10.7 or later operating system
  • modern Linux desktop or laptop computer.

A netbook, tablet or other mobile device that supports one of the browsers listed below may be suitable. The screen size should be at least 1024 (H) x 768 (W) pixels. If you intend to use one of these devices please ensure you have access to a suitable desktop or laptop computer in case you are unable to carry out all the activities in this module on your mobile device.

We recommend a minimum 1 Mbps internet connection and any of the following browsers:

  • Internet Explorer 9 and above
  • Apple Safari 7 and above
  • Google Chrome 31 and above
  • Mozilla Firefox 31 and above.

Note: using the latest version for your browser will maximise security when accessing the internet. Using company or library computers may prevent you accessing some internet materials or installing additional software.

See our Skills for OU study website for further information about computing skills for study and educational deals for buying Microsoft Office software.

If you have a disability

BlueJ and the module software use Java and so provide some support for screen-readers. However, there is a large graphical element to the micro worlds used to teach concepts in the early parts of the module, as well as in working with the BlueJ IDE and related software activities and so a sighted helper may be useful if you have a visual impairment.

The module uses some diagrams that are described in text, but will be more difficult to interpret if you have a visual impairment.

Written transcripts of any audio components and Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) versions of printed material are available. Some Adobe PDF components may not be available or fully accessible using a screen reader and musical notation and mathematical, scientific, and foreign language materials may be particularly difficult to read in this way. Other alternative formats of the study materials may be available in the future. 

If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Find out more about our services for disabled students.