CS 3500: Object-Oriented Design

Syllabus --Fall 2016

This website is for a prior semester of CS3500. Please go to http://www.ccs.neu.edu/course/cs3500 for the current semester, and update your bookmarks accordingly.

Meeting places & times

Course staff & office hours



Benjamin Lerner




314 WVH


Wed 10:30 – 12:00 PM,
Thu 1:30 – 3:00 PM,
and by appointment


Amit Shesh




310A WVH


Mon 10:00–11:15am,
Wed 1:30–3:30pm,
and by appointment



Amit Banne




WVH 102


Wed 4–6pm, Thu 4–6pm


Benjamin Brown




WVH 102


Mon 6–8pm, Wed 6–8pm


Caitlin Matuszak




WVH 102


Tue 12–4pm


Charles Zheng




WVH 102


Sun 2–6pm


Cooper Kwiatkowski




WVH 102


Thu 9am–1pm


Kevin Clancy




WVH 102


Sun 12–4pm


Nicholas Flanders




WVH 102


Wed 12–4pm


Nishant Ratnakar Shetty




WVH 102


Wed 4–6pm, Fri 4–6pm


Purva Kamat




WVH 102


Mon 10am–noon, Fri 11:30am–1:30pm


Samuel Berin




WVH 102


Mon 4–8pm


Spencer Bateman




WVH 102


Tue 3:30–5:30pm, Wed 11:00am–1:00pm


Thomas Pedbereznak




WVH 102


Sun 2–6pm


Ty Coghlan




WVH 102


Tue 5:30–9:30pm

CCIS Tutors:


See here

Ben Lerner
Ben Lerner

Amit Shesh
Amit Shesh

Amit Banne
Amit Banne

Benjamin Brown
Benjamin Brown

Caitlin Matuszak
Caitlin Matuszak

Charles Zheng
Charles Zheng

Cooper Kwiatkowski
Cooper Kwiatkowski

Kevin Clancy
Kevin Clancy

Nicholas Flanders
Nicholas Flanders

Nishant Ratnakar Shetty
Nishant Ratnakar Shetty

Purva Kamat
Purva Kamat

Samuel Berin
Samuel Berin

Spencer Bateman
Spencer Bateman

Thomas Pedbereznak
Thomas Pedbereznak

Ty Coghlan
Ty Coghlan

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 8. You should download and install the Java SE Development Kit, version 8 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 I’ve posted instructions to license the Ultimate Edition on Piazza.

If you are having trouble setting up IntelliJ, Prof Shesh has recorded 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)



09/07 W


Why object-oriented design?



09/12 M


The essence of objects



09/14 W


Java review


notes and notes

09/19 M


Java safari



09/21 W


Java safari (part 2)



09/26 M


Introducing the Model, and the Builder pattern



09/28 W


Controllers and Mocks;
Class Activity: abstracting I/O



10/03 M


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


10/05 W


Encapsulation and Invariants



10/10 M


No class: Columbus Day


10/12 W


Design exercise: Turtles



10/17 M


Inheritance vs. composition



10/19 W


Intro to Performance


notes and notes

10/24 M


First exam


In class

10/26 W


Design critique: music models


10/31 M


Class activity: GUI, MIDI basics


MVC code, starter code and code

11/02 W


The Adapter pattern



11/07 M




11/09 W


The strategy and decorator patterns



11/11 F


No class: Veterans’ Day


11/14 M


Class activity: Strategic FreeCell


11/16 W


Case study: Interpreters



11/21 M


Case study: Interpreters


11/23 W


No class: Thanksgiving


11/28 M


Introduction to JavaScript


11/30 W


JavaScript inheritance and patterns


12/05 M


Exam review


12/07 W




12/15 Th


Final exam


3:30–5:30pm, MU 201 and RI 200


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 09/12


Mon 09/19

Assignment 2: The Model


Mon 09/19


Tue 09/27

Assignment 3: Interface Design & Representation Design


Tue 09/27


Fri 10/07

Assignment 4: A Freer FreeCell


Fri 10/07


Fri 10/14

Assignment 5: The Music Editor: First Movement


Fri 10/14


Fri 10/21

Assignment 6: The Music Editor: Second Movement


Fri 10/21


Mon 11/07

Assignment 7: The Music Editor: Third Movement


Mon 11/07


Mon 11/21

Assignment 8: The Music Editor: Coda


Mon 11/21


Mon 12/05

Assignment 9: The Music Editor: Da Capo al Fine


Mon 12/05


Wed 12/14

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.

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.

Submitting by email

Homework will ordinarily be submitted to the CS 3500 submission server at https://cs3500.ccs.neu.edu. However, sometimes (detailed below) it may be necessary to submit by email. In this case, email your instructor with the subject line “HW N submission” (where N is the appropriate homework number). Attach your source files to the email individually; do not use a ZIP file or other kind of archive.

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 Dr. Shesh (ashesh@ccs). Or if you don’t have time to try again then you should submit by email.

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, log on to the submission server after the deadline has passed. You will see a link to request a late day for the particular homework. The server will keep track of the number of used 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%) and the exams (15%, 25%). 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.



Letter grade

92.5% and above




































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