Welcome to our course on Object Oriented Programming in Java using data visualization. People come to this course with many different goals -- and we are really excited to work with all of you! Some of you want to be professional software developers, others want to improve your programming skills to implement that cool personal project that you’ve been thinking about, while others of you might not yet know why you’re here and are trying to figure out what this course is all about.
This is an intermediate Java course. We recommend this course to learners who have previous experience in software development or a background in computer science. Our goal is that by the end of this course each and every one of you feels empowered to create a Java program that’s more advanced than any you have created in the past and that is personally interesting to you. In achieving this goal you will also learn the fundamentals of Object Oriented Programming, how to leverage the power of existing libraries, how to build graphical user interfaces, and how to use some core algorithms for searching and sorting data. And this course is project-based, so we’ll dive right into the project immediately!
We are excited to be offering a unique course structure, designed to support learners of different backgrounds in succeeding at their own pace. The first module explains how this will work and if this course is right for you. We also recommend taking a few minutes to explore the course site. A good place to start is the navigation bar on the left. Click Course Content to see what material we’ll cover each week, as well preview the assignments you’ll need to complete to pass the course. Click Discussions to see forums where you can discuss the course material with fellow students taking the class. Be sure to introduce yourself to everyone in the Meet and Greet forum.
This course should take about 6 weeks to complete. You can check out the recommended course schedule below to see a quick overview of the lessons and assignments you’ll complete each week.
We’re excited you’re here learning with us. Let’s get started!
Welcome and Project Overview: Visualizing Data
-Welcome to the first week of our course. In this week, we'll get started by introducing ourselves and the Google engineers who will be making appearances throughout the course. We'll also give you of the unique video series we provide and help you understand how to navigate the course to get the most out of it given your background and learning speed. Finally, we'll jump right into objects and designing classes. This might be a bit of review for some of you who might have learned this in your first programming course. If that's the case, feel free to jump ahead to the Practice Quiz at the end of the week. Let's get started!
Memory Models, Scope, and Starting the Project
-We hope you’re excited about the project that we're starting to build -- we sure are! In this second part of this week, we'll walk you through setting up your system and working through your first assignment so you'll be having fun with it in no time. Before that though, we'll finish going over some of the fundamentals fundamentals of object oriented programming. Specifically, being able to trace code is a key skill in becoming a stronger programmer. Like the end of last week, the first part of this week might be a bit of a review of material you already learned in your first Java programming course. If that’s the case, you are always welcome to skip to the first graded assignment on Objects, Memory Models, and Scope.
Graphical output: Creating GUIs and Displaying Data
-Now that you have the tools to write and trace object oriented code, let’s get back to developing the project! In this first (real) part of the project, you will create an interactive graphical map that will display geospatial data. This is a highly interactive week, so make sure you’ve got Eclipse loaded up! We encourage you to play around as you watch the videos. Some of the code that we use in the videos is in the demos package in the starter code you set up for this course. Open it up and experiment with it while you're watching the videos. We also encourage you to dive right into the programming project, even before watching the videos, if you want. The programming assignment instructions are in the last lesson of this week - you can watch a video walkthrough of the instructions and also read the step-by-step directions in the accompanying reading. There’s lots of room for creativity, too, so have fun!
-Now that you’re in full swing with the project, let’s take a closer look at some concepts that you have already been using in your code. Specifically, the keyword “extends”. What exactly does it mean that your program “extends PApplet”? To answer this question we’ll need to dive into the details of how Java allows for Class Hierarchies through Inheritance and Polymorphism. These fundamental and powerful concepts will serve you well in the future! We’ll use these ideas to allow for displaying markers differently. If you feel you’re already comfortable with Inheritance and Polymorphism, feel free to dive straight into the project (programming assignment) for this week. As you work with the project, feel free to have some fun and introduce new levels of class hierarchies for improved functionality.
GUIs: Responding to User Events
-You’ve reached an exciting point in the project - in this week you’ll add interactivity to your map! You’ll be learning how to design event-driven programs, using a new and powerful programming paradigm. Your map will now respond to mouse hovers and clicks. As always, make sure you're writing code along with us as you watch the videos and work through the week. Also, feel free to dive into the programming assignment (project) whenever you are ready
Searching and Sorting: From Code to Algorithms
-You've come a long way in this course, and you've got a great project to show for it. In this last module we'll shift gears a bit to talk about some very exciting and fundamental algorithms for finding and sorting data in an array. Searching and sorting algorithms are not only fundamental to computer science, but also ideal for beginning to explore issues of algorithm efficiency. We will only begin to touch on issues of algorithm efficiency here. We will say much more about it in the next course in this specialization, so we hope you will continue with us. We'll also apply sorting to your project, and you'll wrap things up by finishing your project with an extension of your own choosing.