Course Syllabus

Please note that the specifics of this Course Syllabus are subject to change. Instructors will notify students of any changes and students will be responsible for abiding by them. Even if you print this syllabus, please check the online version often.


IST 242: Intermediate & Object-Oriented Application Development (3 credits) - Intermediate application development including algorithms, data structures, and object-oriented concepts.

This is a second course in application development. It will focus on the intermediate knowledge needed to create applications that use high level programming languages, combining original code with existing code libraries and application programming interfaces (APIs). The perspective will be of application development that takes place within a human and organizational context; in this sense, data structures will be construed as representations of organizational entities and information, and algorithms as a reflection of human and organizational processes and activity. Students will also learn about common application architectures and design patterns.


One of the following courses:

  • IST 140 
  • CMPSC 121
  • IST 240


  • Understand the basic rationale and approaches for object-oriented application development and how to apply this to the development of object-oriented applications.
    • How classes and objects can be used to represent real world problem spaces, including the abstractions of methods, attributes, operations, encapsulation and information hiding and the separation of behavior and implementation
    • How to implement object-oriented abstractions; core object-oriented concepts including inheritance, polymorphism, encapsulation, and information hiding; classes and their constructors, attributes, and methods; abstract classes, methods, and interfaces
  • Problem-solving in human-centered application contexts that require event-driven applications.
    • Understand and describe the role of event handing as a central application development technique for human-centered problem domains
    • Implementing event-driven application development for systems supporting human-computer interaction


All course-related email, including messages to your instructor(s) and fellow students should be sent within Canvas, using the Inbox. Every attempt will be made for the instructor (or a substitute) to respond to email questions within 24 hours.

Additional instructor information can be found by selecting People and then the Teacher name.


Most students do well in the course using only my notes and examples. Some students like to have a textbook to support their learning. No materials are required to be purchased for this course.

Recommended OPTIONAL Texts:

  • Herbert Schildt, Java: The Complete Reference, Eleventh Edition, 11th Edition.
    • An online version of this text is available at no cost as a Penn State Library E-Book.
  • Horstmann, C. (2013). Big Java: Late Objects, Wiley. ISBN: 9781118087886
    • An online version of this text is available at no cost as a Penn State Library E-Book and can be accessed through Library Resources in the left navigation. Some E-Books will only be available online, while others will be available to download in full or in part. You may choose to use the E-Book as an alternative to purchasing a physical copy of the text. For questions or issues, you can contact the University Libraries Reserve Help.
    • The publisher (Wiley) also offers a student companion site, sorted by both chapter and resource.

Virtual access to the Java JDK and Netbeans IDE

If you are unable to install the Netbeans IDE or on your computer, the Netbeans IDE can be accessed through IST's virtual lab environment WinLabs. 

Assignments & Grading

This course is assignment-intensive. It is very important that you follow the deadlines and do your assignments every week. No late assignments are accepted.

Very important: The amount of time you'll need to spend on an assignment is directly proportional to its difficulty: the more difficult the assignment, the more time you'll need to complete it. Many assignments allow more than one week to work on them. This is by design. For those assignments, you will need more than one week to work on them. So it is very important that you start early on those assignments instead of trying to do them in one or two days right before they're due.

The course builds incrementally from your prerequisite (IST 140) to a fairly developed knowledge of Java. 

The sharing of knowledge is strongly encouraged. Working together to understand and learn during the semester is essential; however, COPYING (from the Web or peers) assignments or Java code is unacceptable. This will be considered an academic integrity violation.

The course is based on assignments.

  • Assignments
    • We will wrap up every major topic with a problem that will gather what was discussed that week. It should be done individually without any discussions among peers. Clarifying questions might be asked directly to the instructor.
    • Each problem is built around the three core pedagogical beliefs that guide this class.
      • First, the problem-based approach puts more control of the learning into the hands of the student.
      • Second, problem-based learning requires students to develop excellent problem-solving skills.
    • Thus, the course design is more PROCESS-oriented than CONTENT-oriented. As a student, your responsibility is to develop a product and the instructor's role is to help guide, interpret, assess and evaluate your efforts. The instructor's role is to be a guide and facilitator. The central point is that the problem-based nature of the course provides you, the student, a chance to both pursue topics and draw on material and resources in ways that best help you respond to the problem that has been posed. In doing this, you can learn about how to assess your own knowledge and develop strategies for how to improve your problem-solving skills.

There are two types of deliverables. Most assignments will ask for Java code. 

  • Java: You will submit the .java files, the Java source code. They should be zipped using NetBeans export to zip function. Please check the submission guide.
  • Other: PDFs, Word files, or just filling in submissions forms on the dropboxes.

Your grade is based on the total number of points your earn and you earn points with each assignment.

The grading systems and scale are developed to encourage and reward learning. Early in the semester, the assignments are weighted less so that you can learn (typically by failing to get the full assignment) by doing problem-based work without being ‘punished’ for making mistakes. 


Course Grading Breakdown
Grading Category Total Points Assignments
Lesson 01 40 4 assignments
Lesson 02 10 1 assignment
Lesson 03 20 2 assignments
Lesson 04 20 2 assignments
Lesson 05 10 1 assignment
Lesson 06 10 1 assignment
TOTAL 110 100%

Course Grading Scale

The following are minimum cutoffs for each grade:

  • 93.00% = A
  • 90.00% = A-
  • 87.00% = B+
  • 83.00% = B
  • 80.00% = B-
  • 77.00% = C+
  • 70.00% = C
  • 60.00% = D
  • less than 60.00% = F

Course Policies and Expectations

  • Logging into Canvas - Students are expected to login regularly to check for course updates, announcements, emails, discussions, etc.
  • Emailing through Canvas - Students are expected to use Canvas for all course email communication.
  • Attending virtual meetings - Students are expected to use specified virtual meeting tool(s) for collaboration, meetings, presentations, etc., as needed.

Academic Integrity

Penn State and the College of Information Sciences and Technology are committed to maintaining Penn State's policy on Academic Integrity in this and all other courses. We take academic integrity matters seriously and expect you to become a partner to the University/College standards of academic excellence.

For more information, please review these policies and procedures:

While utilizing additional sources outside of this class is encouraged for gaining a better understanding of course concepts, seeking explicit answers for graded assignments from outside sources (e.g. Course Hero, Chegg, tutoring services like, etc.) is considered CHEATING and will not be tolerated. Sanctions range from failure of the assignment or course to dismissal from the University. Additionally, sharing course content without permission is a violation of copyright and may result in university sanctions and/or legal ramifications. Contact your instructor with questions related to this topic. 

University Policies

Review current information regarding various Penn State policies (such as copyright, counseling, psychological services, disability and military accommodations, discrimination, harassment, emergencies, trade names, etc.) on the University Policies page.

Penn State takes great pride to foster a diverse and inclusive environment for students, faculty, and staff. Acts of intolerance, discrimination, or harassment due to age, ancestry, color, disability, gender, gender identity, national origin, race, religious belief, sexual orientation, or veteran status are not tolerated and can be reported through Educational Equity via the Report Bias webpage (


Find extensive information and links to many Penn State and IST resources (including the Penn State libraries, video conferencing tools, technology and software, writing and research help, and much more) on the Resources page.

Technical Requirements

Standard World Campus computer technical specifications are assumed for this course. Please test your computer for requirements. In addition, a webcam and a headset with a microphone are REQUIRED for the course. These may be used for virtual meetings, virtual office hours, interactions with classmates and your instructor, and group presentations - which are all conducted with virtual meeting tools. No special software is required.


The following schedule outlines the topics covered in this course, along with the associated time frames, readings, activities, and assignments. All due dates reflect Eastern Time (ET). Specifying the time zone ensures that all students have the same deadlines, regardless of where they live.

Course Summary:

Date Details Due