Note that you can access the Java 8 APIs at
Note on the course materials: We'll start with Liskov. Don't worry about the publication date;
Liskov is basically a math book, and hence ages remarkably well.
We're interested in contracts, mutability, data abstraction, and type abstraction.
Bloch is concerned about the same things,
but explores them in more detail and in more up-to-date Java.
Bloch also corrects some important points
that weren't well understood when Liskov's text came out.
Students are expected to read the relevant material
(text, various sources on the web, etc.)
The lectures will not cover everything in the readings,
class time will be spent on exercises that rely on the readings.
- Quizzes: 50%
- Piazza contributions: 5%
- Homework assignments: 15%
- Final exam: 30%
Weekly quizzes replace midterms.
Quizzes take place during the first 10 to 15 minutes of class.
Best not to be late.
I hand out printed quizzes (on paper) with adequate space to respond.
All you need, besides an understanding of the material, is a something to write with.
All quizzes count towards the final grade. Missed quizzes score zero.
Students who miss a quiz or perform badly on a quiz may choose to take the "make-up" quiz.
The price of a make-up quiz is a 20% deduction in credit off the top.
(Example: your original quiz grade is 5/10. You buy the make-up and correctly answer
9 of 10 equally weighted questions. Your final score improves from 5/10 to 7/10.)
- There are no negative scores on quizzes, make-up or otherwise.
If you attempt the make-up quiz, that score counts, no matter what the score
was on your first attempt. "Attempt" is defined as you accepting the quiz.
Scheduling: I plan to offer make-up quizzes during GTA office hours.
If, for some reason, that doesn't work, I'll come up with a different plan.
Students who wish to take a make-up quiz
must inform me with either an email or a private post on Piazza.
The make-up quiz is different quiz than the one given in class,
but focuses on the same topics.
- Make-up quizzes must be taken promptly. "Prompt" means within two (logical)
weeks of the original quiz. (Example: Quiz 1 takes place on Wednesday,
September 4. The make-up must be taken by September 18.)
- Quizzes are generally returned at the next class meeting. Make-up quizzes
are returned after the last person has taken the make-up.
SWE 619 will use the
software for a discussion board and for posting updates.
Participation on the discussion board counts towards your grade.
Here's the deal:
A constructive, relevant, non-redundant post earns a Piazza point.
Here are some examples:
You can earn one Piazza point, but no more, in any given week. (A "week" is
defined as the way Piazza tracks weeks.)
You're done earning points after you hit the magic number 5,
but you are, of course, still welcome to continue posting.
Participation must occur during the semester, not after final exams start.
Note: starting early is good strategy.
- A question that elicits a substantive, correct answer.
- A substantive, correct answer to another student's question.
- A substantive, correct refinement or clarification of another student's answer to a question.
- A pointer (with discussion) that links a class topic to something external (and relevant).
- A correction to anything substantive that I get wrong!
I find anonymous discussions unhelpful in this class;
here learning is predicated on interactions.
Plus, part of your education
is to learn to stand behind your questions and ideas. That's how employees
function in the working world. Piazza allows
partial, but not complete, control of anonymous posts.
Should someone post anonymously, I will ask the poster to change the visibility
and ask the class not to respond to the anonymous version.
There are weekly homework assighments.
I post homework assignments on the class web site.
Generally, you should submit assignments via
but if there is no "code" aspect to the homework, you are
welcome to hand in a paper submission in class.
Because of the way in which this class is taught, it is important to stay on pace.
Homeworks are due before class.
Handing in an assignment after the start of class or changing an assignment
after the due date will result in the assignment being considered "late".
Substantial penalties apply to late assignment submissions:
20% if turned in up to one week late; zero credit thereafter.
If you will miss class on the day something is due,
submit your solution prior to class electronically.
Collaboration on homework exercises
You may work homework problems individually if you wish. But I discourage it.
Since collaboration is a valuable learning technique,
you are encouraged to collaborate using
one of the following two models:
Collaborate with other students in SWE 619 to analyze the problem
and develop a solution approach, but each student submits his or her own
solution. (Piazza is a great forum for this collaboration.)
In this model you may collaborate with as many SWE 619 students as you wish.
Assignments are graded individually,
and there is no grade credit for collaboration in this model.
Collaborate from start to finish with at most
two other students in SWE 619.
Your group must submit one solution and each person will get the same grade.
Each person must contribute substantially, and
the submission must outline
what each person contributed.
Absent this statement, no credit will be awarded to any student.
Note: Since my experience is that students typically produce better solutions with
this type of collaborative solution,
To encourage students to follow this model
it carries a 10% bonus credit per assignment.
Note: You are NOT ALLOWED to include “guest names.”
Every person listed as a collaborator must contribute.
If someone is listed as a collaborator but did not contribute,
all will be reported to the university
The final exam is closed book/closed notes/closed web.
The only exception is a single sheet of 8 1/2 x 11 paper (double sided)
with hand-written notes created by the person taking the exam.
The final is in-class and comprehensive.
I place great emphasis on in-class learning.
I plan an in-class exercise for every class.
Students will work in small groups.
Sometimes, I will let you choose your group; sometimes, I'll
choose the groups.
Some of these exercises need a Java development environment.
Very often, the in-class exercises will be closely related
to an upcoming homework assignment.
These exercises will be used to monitor attendance.
The course schedule page links to a number of short videos created
with the ShowMe service.
Some students find these helpful for grasping key points
from various lectures.
Several items of note:
- Each ShowMe captures an interaction a student has with me.
Such interactions can help students master the material
more effectively than having me drone on solo.
- I am interested in creating more ShowMe videos for other
topics in the course. Contact me if you would like to help me do this.
These interactions count towards class participation.
- I am open to redoing existing topics if there is something
you think could be done better.
In-class computers and communication
Phone calls, text messages, instant messages, email, and general web surfing are
highly disruptive to other students and hence not allowed during class time.
Technology devices may only be used for the class purposes (eg following slides or
working on in-class assignments.)
Please note that questions of general interest should not be emailed
to me. Post on Piazza instead.
Virginia Privacy Laws
The state of Virginia now has laws that require the University (including me) not to
disclose student email addresses, phone numbers, and addresses.
This will impact communications in this class as follows:
- Communicating via email with groups of students is problematic. (Bcc is a partial
but not very good, solution.) As far as I have been able to determine,
Piazza does not make student emails visible to
other students, even though instructors can see email addresses.
Hence, this is another reason to favor the Piazza forum.
- You can choose to disclose your email whenever and wherever you wish.
That's up to you.
As with all GMU courses,
SWE 619 is governed by the GMU Honor Code.
In this course, all quizzes and the final exam
carry with them an implicit statement that it is the sole work of the author.
See the collaboration discussion above for rules on homework assignments.
Any deviation from this is considered an Honor Code violation,
with ultimate sanction determined by the Honor Code committee.
Students with learning disabilities (or other conditions documented with GMU Office of Disability Services)
who need academic accommodations should see me and contact the
Disability Resource Center (DRC) at (703)993-2474.
I am more than happy to assist you, but
all academic accommodations must be arranged through the DRC.