Your feedback is important to us
Please take two minutes at the end of your visit to help us improve our information and services.
Skip to content The Open University

Software development with Java

On this page

Discover the fundamentals of an object-oriented approach to software development. Starting from an analysis of requirements, you’ll be introduced to up-to-date analytical techniques and processes essential for specifying, designing and implementing a software system, including a graphical user interface. Although the small systems developed in the module have been chosen to facilitate learning, the underlying concepts are widely used by professional software developers. Software models are created with UML and implemented with Java 6, using NetBeans. You need Java experience, preferably by prior study of an OU Level 2 Java module.

Modules at Level 2 assume that you are suitably prepared for study at this level. If you want to take a single module to satisfy your career development needs or pursue particular interests, you don’t need to start at Level 1 but you do need to have adequately prepared yourself for OU study in some other way. Check with our Student Registration & Enquiry Service to make sure that you are sufficiently prepared.

Register for the course


Start End Fee Register
31 Jan 2015 Sep 2015
£505.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in February 2016.
Start End Fee Register
31 Jan 2015 Sep 2015
£505.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in February 2016.
Start End Fee Register
31 Jan 2015 Sep 2015
£1050.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in February 2016.
Start End Fee Register
31 Jan 2015 Sep 2015
£505.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in February 2016.
Start End Fee Register
31 Jan 2015 Sep 2015
£505.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in February 2016.
Start End Fee Register
31 Jan 2015 Sep 2015
£930.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in February 2016.
Start End Fee Register
31 Jan 2015 Sep 2015
£1316.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in February 2016.
Start End Fee Register
31 Jan 2015 Sep 2015
£1316.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in February 2016.
Start End Fee Register
31 Jan 2015 Sep 2015
£505.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in February 2016.
Start End Fee Register
31 Jan 2015 Sep 2015
£1316.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

See below for information about part time tuition fee loans available for study towards a qualification.

This course is expected to start for the last time in February 2016.

*Fees may vary by country.

What you will study

How do teams of professional software developers work together when creating complex software systems? How can the development process be partitioned to enable different people to work on different tasks, and what techniques can assist the individuals involved?

In this module you will be introduced to object-oriented approaches to software development that are widely applicable in the creation of software that meets the needs of its users: from small, simple systems to large, complex ones. These approaches take you from an analysis of what is required of a system through its specification, design and implementation. They include concepts such as use case design; the construction of structural and dynamic models; and the specification of classes. You will also be introduced to the role of user interface design within software development, and to some key aspects of testing software.

Using paper-based materials and computer-based practical exercises you will learn about fundamental software development ideas, illustrated by small sample systems. You will participate in the development of these systems through examples and guided exercises. You will discover how to develop a software system by creating models using the industry standard Unified Modelling Language (UML). You will apply and extend your understanding of object-orientated technology and of Java, and will implement code using NetBeans, a widely used integrated development environment from Oracle (previously Sun Microsystems). As well as learning techniques and processes that you can use when developing your own software, you will meet concepts that underpin the theory of software development, such as software development methods and reusable software components.

Block 1 begins by introducing the common phases of object-oriented software development, taking an introductory look at how these phases can be combined to form different software development methods. Requirements specification is introduced as an initial development phase followed by the creation of an initial model of the software structure, incorporating elements such as class diagrams and invariants.

Block 2 sets the scene for object-oriented design by introducing the design and implementation of component-based software. Generic ideas such as cohesion and coupling are discussed, as well as the role of object-oriented concepts such as encapsulation, and Java-specific concepts such as access modifiers. You will then look in detail at determining how a system will work, employing sequence diagrams to create and compare different designs.

Block 3 will show you how to take the designs for a system and use them as a basis on which to implement and test the system. Some key ideas in human-computer interaction are then introduced.

Block 4 pursues the concept of graphical use interface (GUI) development and you will participate in the design of GUIs for the sample systems. Java event handling and GUI facilities are reviewed, and example GUIs are constructed using NetBeans’ GUI design facilities.

As you study the module, you will be using email, online forums and the World Wide Web for communication with the University, your tutor and other students.

Entry

This is a Level 2 module and you are expected to have study skills appropriate to Level 2 study. The module requires knowledge of Java to the level taught in Object-oriented Java programming (M250) (or Object-oriented programming with Java (M255) (now discontinued) and Putting Java to work (M257)), including the ability to create Java applications that involve:

  • the core Java language, including primitive data types and control structures
  • the use of Java APIs, such as the Collections framework
  • the definition of classes, including: instance methods and variables; static methods and variables; constructors; inheritance; overriding; abstract classes; interfaces; polymorphism; packages; and access modifiers
  • and the use of exceptions.

M256 does not require knowledge of client-server or multi-threaded programming.

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service.

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.

If you have a disability

Module texts are available in electronic format. The module may be challenging if you have impaired sight as many diagrammatic models are involved, though descriptions of the diagrams are available. M256 uses the software package NetBeans version 6.9. Much of the software can instead be run from a command line although there are some practical exercises that require the ability to analyse visual information that appears on a computer screen.

The study materials are available in Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF). 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. The books are available in a comb-bound format. Other alternative formats of the study materials may be available in the future. Our Services for disabled students website has the latest information about availability.

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. Visit our Services for disabled students website for more information, including:

  • help to determine your study requirements and how to request the support that you need  
  • Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs)
  • using a computer for OU study
  • equipment and other support services that we offer
  • examination arrangements
  • how to contact us for advice and support both before you register and while you are studying.

Study materials

What's included

Module texts, other printed materials, module software (including NetBeans) on CD-ROM, website, online forums.

Computing requirements

You will need a computer with internet access to study this course. It includes online activities – you can access using a web browser  – and some course software provided on DVD.

  • If you have purchased a new desktop or laptop computer running Windows since 2007, or an Apple Mac (OS X 10.6 or later) or Linux computer, you should have no problems completing the computer-based activities.
  • A netbook, tablet or other mobile computing device is not suitable for this course – check our Technical requirements section.

You can also visit the Technical requirements section for further computing information including the details of the support we provide.

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. Depending on the distribution of students taking the module we may also be able to offer group tutorials or day schools that you are encouraged, but not obliged, to attend. Contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service 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 February 2015. We expect it to be available once a year.

How to register

To register a place on this course return to the top of the page and use the Click to register button.

Student Reviews

“Good introduction to UML and best practices in software development waterfall cycle. The exam was awful, just a memory test ...”
Read more
“I did this in conjunction with M257, and the two fit well together. As this course deals more with the ...”
Read more

Distance learning

The Open University is the world’s leading provider of flexible, high quality distance learning. Unlike other universities we are not campus based. You will study in a flexible way that works for you whether you’re at home, at work or on the move. As an OU student you’ll be supported throughout your studies – your tutor or study adviser will guide and advise you, offer detailed feedback on your assignments, and help with any study issues. Tuition might be in face-to-face groups, via online tutorials, or by phone.

For more information read Distance learning explained.

Are you already an OU student ? Go to StudentHome for information on choosing your next module.
Course facts
About this course:
Course code M256
Credits 30
OU Level 2
SCQF level 8
FHEQ level 5
Course work includes:
4 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
Examination
No residential school

Your questions

Try our frequently asked questions.

Come and meet us at an event near you.

Or contact an adviser by Email or call +44(0) 845 300 60 90 +44(0) 845 366 60 35

Employers' questions

Contact Corporate Enquiries
Visit our website for employers or Email us

Get a prospectus

Download or
order