One of my favourite aspects of this course so far is the separation of practical activities from the reading and note-taking bits. I think it’s probably better to do the practical activities on the same day as the related reading, or thereabouts, but it’s nice to have the option of doing all the practical work in one big session. I really like the format of the exercises, too; the instructions are set out in html files packaged together with the code files you have to work on, but for most of the activities I’ve done so far, the gist of the instructions is also included as comments in the code itself, so you don’t have to do much tabbing back and forth between NetBeans and your browser.

I’ve got the day off work today, so I’ve been spending a bit of time catching up on the practical activities for Units 3 and 4. Once I’ve finished those, I’ll be taking the printed copy of Unit 5 out with me on my afternoon walk (if the fair weather holds, that is!). Unit 5 is all about packages, abstraction, interfaces, etc, so I’m looking forward to getting a more in-depth view of those topics, but the main reason I’ll be happy about finishing Unit 5 is that I’ll then be able to get stuck into the last three questions of TMA01.

I’m pretty impressed with this TMA so far; it looks like the first three questions are based on the same project, which is a kind of basic hangman-style word-guessing game. I really like the fact that Q2 and Q3 build on the previous question, it makes the TMA feel like one big endeavour rather than a sequence of little tasks. Hopefully I’ll still feel as enthusiastic about the format of the TMA once I’ve actually finished those questions!