After chatting the idea through with a few people, I've managed to get my hands on a Lego Mindstorms NXT kit, with permission to flash it with the LeJOS OS/API. So watch this space!
In other news, I've started reading a book on BlueJ, entitled 'Objects First With Java: A Practical Introduction Using BlueJ' by David Barnes. No doubt it'll bore me to tears, but reviews looked good so I'm going to give it a try. I'm hoping to get myself up to a basic level in Java before I start the courses in October.
1. "Objects First With Java: A Practical Introduction Using BlueJ (4th Edition)" by D. Barnes - See: http://www.amazon.com/Objects-First-Java-Practical-Introduction/dp/0136060862/