I have been looking into available (and free) online courses for more in-depth programming and I came across this one by Future Learn.

Learn basic Java programming by developing a simple mobile game that you can run on your computer, Android phone, or tablet.

https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/begin-programming

This course is only a 7 week course run originally by Reading University – with videos, projects and quizzes.

I am playing catch-up, one of the benefits of online learning is that although I missed the original startdate, I can still join as long as the course is running, but am only up to week 4 and it’s just got really complex!

The first week saw me struggle to download the Android development studio and the java toolkit, plus finding a suitable android device I could test on. You can use the on-board emulator but it doesn’t give you the tactile feedback – or pleasure – of seeing the green screen and animated elements that you yourself have coded.

We’ve gone through code constructs, data types and variables, conditional statements and we are now starting arrays and loops, and the content is good quality – very dry, but I think the subject matter gets quite intense and serious quite quickly.

I am struggling with the exceptionally mathematically minded way that this particular coding syntax is set out, I understand more than I can write myself, which is useful, and I can see where I’ve gone wrong in the code, such as the extra { that broke my game, but when let loose to add in whole new sections, it’s hard, but I will get to the end and hope to gain more insight.

I am finding that I need more than the recommended 3 hrs a week, but can just about cope with that, the best thing with this way of learning is that I can always go back and restart, rewind the video, or try again tomorrow…

The future learn forum for the course tries to encourage you to join in and share, but again, feels flat,perhaps they could schedule a live google hangout session,  and get some real interaction going on!

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