CS 3500: Object-Oriented Design

Syllabus – Spring 2020

Meeting places & times

  • Clark Freifeld


West Village G 102




11:45am — 1:25pm

  • Clark Freifeld


West Village G 106




2:50pm — 4:30pm

  • Mike Weintraub


West Village G 104




1:35 — 3:15pm

Course staff



Clark Freifeld
Clark Freifeld
132G Nightingale


Mike Weintraub
Mike Weintraub
132G Nightingale



Kartik Aggarwal
Kartik Aggarwal


Lal Birali
Lal Birali


Emma Brown-Carley
Emma Brown-Carley


Kyle Chan
Kyle Chan


Sophia Crennan
Sophia Crennan


Rheisen Dennis
Rheisen Dennis


Saleha Farooqui
Saleha Farooqui


Jovan Jean
Jovan Jean


Karmen Lu
Karmen Lu


Abdel-Rahman Madkour
Abdel-Rahman Madkour


Katherine Muldoon
Katherine Muldoon


Anika Rabenhorst
Anika Rabenhorst


Nick Smith
Nick Smith



CCIS Tutors:


See here



Office Hours Schedule

Office hours are spread among several rooms; please check this calendar carefully to know where and when staff will hold their office hours.

The current campus map can be found here. The building name abbreviations are in (red parentheses); the sector of the map where you can find that building is in gray before the building name.

General information

CS 3500 teaches a rigorous approach to object-oriented programming and design, with an emphasis on abstraction, modularity, and code reuse as applied to the building and understanding of large-scale systems. We will explore the basic mechanisms and concepts of object-oriented programming: object, class, message, method, interface, encapsulation, polymorphism, and inheritance. Students will gain hands-on experience with tools and techniques that facilitate the creation and maintenance of applications using the Java programming language.


This course assumes familiarity with programming in the style of How to Design Programs, and basic knowledge of the Java programming language as introduced in CS 2510.


We will have two examinations:



For programming assignments, we will use Java 11. You should download and install the Java SE Development Kit, version 11 from Oracle.

The supported IDE (integrated development environment) for the course is IntelliJ IDEA. This is the IDE that the instructor uses in lecture, and we may occasionally give instructions for how to perform particular tasks in IDEA. You are free to use a different IDE, but we may not be able to help you if you run into trouble. IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition may be downloaded free of charge, and you can also license the Ultimate Edition.

If you are having trouble setting up IntelliJ, we have a video demonstrating how to configure your environment here.


There is no required textbook, but you may find these books useful.

Online resources


This table specifies the lecture schedule; topics are tentative.



Topics (tentative and approximate)



01/06 M


Why object-oriented design?


notes and notes

01/09 Th


Java review


notes and notes

01/13 M


Java review


notes, notes and notes

01/16 Th


Java safari



01/20 M


No class: Martin Luther King Day


01/23 Th


Introducing the Model, and the Builder pattern


notes and notes

01/27 M


Encapsulation and Invariants



01/30 Th


Controllers and Mocks;
Class Activity: abstracting I/O


notes and notes

02/03 M


Design critique: testing, toString, abstractions, I/O


02/06 Th


Design exercise: Turtle Graphics



02/10 M


Inheritance vs. composition



02/13 Th


Intro to Performance


notes and notes

02/17 M


No class: Presidents’ Day


02/20 Th


Exam prep; Introduction to Views, GUI basics



02/24 M


First exam


In class

02/27 Th


Exam review; GUI basics, intro to ICE4


notes and notes

03/02 M


No class: Spring break


03/05 Th


No class: Spring break


03/09 M


GUIs continued, ICE4 continued


notes and notes

03/12 Th


The strategy and decorator patterns



03/16 M


Model Design Discussion


03/19 Th


Adapter pattern, and Strategies applied



03/23 M


Design Principles; Case study: SceneGraph



03/26 Th


Exam prep


03/30 M


Second exam


In class

04/02 Th


Exam review; Introduction to JavaScript


04/06 M


JavaScript continued


04/09 Th


More JavaScript


04/13 M


More JavaScript / Wrapup



Testing your code is sufficiently important that we’ve devoted an entire page to it. Please read these notes, for each and every assignment you work on.

Homework schedule

Homework will usually be due at 8:59 PM; the day of the week varies, so you should check each individual assignment to be sure. General homework policies are here.

This homework schedule is tentative and subject to change at the instructor’s discretion.






Assignment 1: Java finger exercises


Mon 01/06


Fri 01/17

Assignment 2: The Model


Fri 01/17


Thu 01/30

Assignment 3: Interface Design & Representation Design


Fri 01/31


Mon 02/10

Assignment 4: A Freer FreeCell


Mon 02/10


Tue 02/18

Assignment 5: ExCELlence — The Easy Animator: Part 1


Thu 02/20


Wed 03/11

Assignment 6: ExCELlence in Motion — Seeing is believing


Wed 03/11


Wed 03/25

Assignment 7: ExCELlence in Editing — Making animations modifiable


Thu 03/26


Tue 04/07

Assignment 8: ExCELlence in perspective – working with another view


Tue 04/07


Tue 04/14

Assignment 9


Wed 04/15


Wed 04/22

Course policies

Collaboration and academic integrity

You may not collaborate with anyone on any of the exams. You may not use any electronic tools, including phones, tablets, netbooks, laptops, desktop computers, etc. If in doubt, ask a member of the course staff.

Some homework assignments will be completed with an assigned partner, and some may involve a larger team (TBD). You must collaborate with your assigned partner or team, as specified, on homework assignments. You may request help from any staff member on homework. (When you are working with a partner, we strongly recommend that you request help with your partner.) You may use the Piazza bulletin board to ask questions regarding assignments, so long as your questions (and answers) do not reveal information regarding solutions. You may not get any help from anyone else on a homework assignment; all material submitted must be your own. If in doubt, ask a member of the course staff.

Providing illicit help to another student is also cheating, and will be punished the same as receiving illicit help. It is your responsibility to safeguard your own work.

A subtler form of cheating, but nevertheless illegal, is self-plagiarism. This is when you copy and submit code that you developed when you took CS 3500 previously for credit again. This is illegal if done for your group assignments, because the code you are attempting to submit has not been written just by you and your partner in the current semester.

Students who cheat will be reported to the university’s office on academic integrity and penalized by the course staff, at our discretion, up to and including failing the course.

If you are unclear on any of these policies, please ask a member of the course staff.


In general, you should submit your homework according to the instructions on the web page for the individual assignments.

Using the handin server

You will submit your homework using https://handins.ccs.neu.edu. We have written a how-to guide for using the handin server, if you are unfamiliar with it. (To log in to the handin server, you will need an active CCS account. If you are a CS major or have taken a CS class before, you should have one already. If you have forgotten your account name or password, go to https://my.ccs.neu.edu/ and click on the “Forgot Username” or “Forgot Password” links. If you have never created an account before, click on the “Apply for an account” link in the upper right corner.) Make sure you can log in to the handin server, and register for your section of the course, before the first homework is assigned.

Unlike prior semesters, you will usually need to submit multiple files for your assignments, rather than a single file. You should therefore add all your files to a .zip or .tar file, and submit that archive file. Note:

Additionally, every homework where you write code will be followed one day later by a self-evaluation assignment. Only one partner (for team assignments) needs to complete the self-eval, and it will count for both partners.

Submission troubles

If you have trouble submitting to the server and you have time before the deadline, please wait few minutes and try again; it may also be worth checking on Piazza to find out whether other students are experiencing similar difficulties. If upon retrying you still cannot submit, email Alex Grob (agrob@ccs) or your professor. Your email should have the subject “HW N submission problems” (where N is the appropriate homework number), and you should attach the ZIP file exactly as you would have submitted it to the server.

Late days & late work

Each student gets four free, no-questions-asked late days for the term. The purpose of late days is make the extension process fair and transparent by getting the instructors out of the extension-granting business entirely. Instead, when you need an extension, you can take one—provided you have a late day remaining.

To use a late day, just submit the homework as normal. The server will keep track of the number of used late days, and will prevent you from submitting more than one day late to any assignment, or late at all if you’ve used all your late days. Conserve your late days carefully.

No more than one late day may be used on any one homework. You may not look at and must avoid gaining knowledge of the self-evaluation questions until you have submitted your late assignment. Late days cannot be divided fractionally, but must be used whole. Late days cannot be transferred to or shared with a partner, so in order to take an extension both you and your partner must have sufficient late days remaining. Choose your partners carefully.

Using a late day to submit your files does not automatically grant you a late day for the self-eval: it will remain due at the normal time.


Your grade will be based on your performance on the problem sets (60%), in-class exercises (1-2%), and the exams (15%, 24%). Material for examinations will be cumulative.

The grades will computed on an absolute basis: there will be no overall curving. The instructor may choose to curve an individual homework or exam, but please do not bank on such a chance.

The mapping of raw point totals to letter grades is given below. Please note that these grade boundaries may move slightly at the discretion of the instructor, but the grade boundary for A is unlikely to change. Grades are not rounded: for instance, earning a 92.5% does not imply we will round up to a 93% and hence to an A.


























Letter grade