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2015/16 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

GEOG5561M Introduction to Java Programming (WUN)

15 creditsClass Size: 30

Module manager: Dr Andrew Evans

Taught: 01 Oct to 31 Dec, 1 Apr to 30 Jun (3mth)(adv yr), 1 Apr to 30 June, 1 Jul to 30 Sep, 1 Sep to 31 Dec (4mth)(adv yr) View Timetable

Year running 2015/16

This module is mutually exclusive with

GEOG5990MProgramming for Geographical Information Analysis: Core Skil

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

The vast majority of Geographical Information specialists are good at using 'out of the box' software such as GIS to complete analyses, but they are limited to that. This module will take you to the next level – the level at which you are no longer just a user of other people’s software, but can develop bespoke tools for complex analyses that standard software would not cope with. The course will centre on learning the Java programming language. Java is a 'high level' language that works across the internet and on multiple platforms. Learning Java not only gives you a major computing language, but puts you in an excellent position for going on to other languages and understanding the broader issues of programming. As such it is often the language of choice for both environmental and business consultancies, as well as the research sector. The course is suitable for those with no experience of programming, or those with experience of other languages such as VBA. The module is an excellent foundation for dissertation projects.


On completion of the module students should:
- develop core computer programming skills in students.
- develop and awareness of the issues around computer programming.
- develop an understanding of industry-level programming.

Learning outcomes
- Foundation level computer programming for Geographical Information analysts.
- How to build computer analysis and modelling tools for geographical data.
- An understanding of how important elements of computers, such as the web and file storage work.
- Insight into industrial programming practice and frameworks.

Skills outcomes
- Generic C&IT skills
- programming/software development
- web page design
- spatial analysis
- manage and undertake an individual project
- understanding people and organisations
- using everyday work examples
- improving competition.

In addition, the implicit programme level skills.


Introduction to computer programming.
Variables and Objects.
Flow control and methods.
Classes and inheritance.
Dealing with files.
Communication over the web.
Making Windows-based programs.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
On-line Learning82.0016.00
Email/Phone Tutorial12.002.00
Private study hours116.00
Total Contact hours34.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Private study

Students will be given structured practical work and will be expected to work on these projects independently, with academic support delivered by online forums, email, and, if necessary, over the phone. The practical projects will build the foundation for the assessments: an example geographical processing program and a final stand-alone computer model/analysis tool of a complex system, both of which will be completed independently. The students will be supported through this work with VLE materials, including a formative assessment task and online learning materials, FAQs, and materials on ancillary and supporting topics.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Student progress will be monitored through weekly practical tasks including one formatively assessed practical. These will build into the foundational jumping-off point for the two formally assessed projects. The first project will be a relatively structured processing application. The second will be individual to each student; students will have the option of designing their own project (within some key limitations - for example, that the software must load and write data, and involve image creation). Students will have access to formative assessment materials and supplementary tasks online, including walk-through discussions of structuring the solution and the code that might be involved.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Practical1 practical piece assessed formatively0.00
PracticalIndependent project - 2000 word equivalent50.00
PracticalIndependent project - 2000 word equivalent50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

There is no reading list for this module

Last updated: 13/04/2015


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