Java 101 – A Bootcamp Approach

In 2016 I had the opportunity to teach a bootcamp style Java course for the University of Central Arkansas. When I signed on to teach there was no set curriculum or course requirements. The only objective I was given was: teach a group of adult students how to program in Java. The class itself met two nights a week in-person and once a week online via Zoom over the course of three months. I structured the course such that a new concept was introduced at the first meeting every week. The second meeting we went over the concept again with practical examples. The online time was used to work on an assignment that used the current week’s concept. Note this was pre-Covid and my theory was nobody would really pay attention to the online session, so I could use it as Q&A time. Having now spent significant time on Zoom in this situation as an instructor and student, my intuition seems to have been correct.

For a course text, I used Learning Java published by O’Reilly; at the time it was the 4th edition. This was primarily for reference though as one of the suggestions for the course was to use resources found for free online. Another request was to use tools developers would use in the real world. To fulfill these request, I put a series of examples in a Github repository, and showed the students how to use Netbeans. I also had them make use of the built in version management tools to submit pull requests of their assignments. The concept behind this was to simulate what it would be like working on a collaborative project in a midsize development firm.

Over the coming weeks, I am going to make a series of posts that will go through the core concepts of the curriculum I put together. My hope is somebody can make use of this content. That could be somebody new to Java, or another teacher in search of resources to structure a similar course.