Glencora Borradaile

         Associate Professor & College of Engineering Dean's Professor, School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Oregon State University

April 1, 2014

Source for open-source textbooks for computer science?

Filed under: Silent Glen Speaks @ 7:56 pm

My soon-to-defend Ph.D. student, Theresa Migler, pointed me to the Open Textbook Initiative by AIM, with the question as to whether a similar resource exists or is in development for computer science.  I am now forwarding that question to you.

The Open Textbook Initiative looks awesome.  It is more than just a collection of textbooks that are available freely.  The textbooks are vetted against a set of reasonable criteria, including (but not limited to):

  • able to serve as the primary text in a mainstream mathematics course at the undergraduate level in U.S. colleges and universities
  • have exercises
  • be class-tested and have been used (and be in current use) by faculty other than the author

I think this is a great direction to go in.  Peer-reviewed and peer-tested classroom resources, available freely to all.  These are exactly the types of resources I limit myself to for my courses (although, it isn’t a limit of quality).  Currently I use:

All of these, I think, meet the OTI criteria.  Do we have a similar group that vets open textbooks in CS?


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  1.   Tommy — April 2, 2014 @ 1:57 pm    

    Hm, does qualify? (Check “Collections”.)

    There are a number of online resources for more specific ares within CS Ed though. E.g. if you want to do peer instruction you could have a look at, or if you want to do process oriented guided inquiry learning you could look at

    Maybe OpenDSA qualifies as well? (

  2.   vzn — April 2, 2014 @ 11:18 pm    

    try this question recent TCS books with drafts available online
    imho john e savage models of computation is very good, free online.

  3.   aravind — May 5, 2014 @ 1:39 pm    

    Thanks for this post! Inspired by it, I will use only freely-available material for my Fall ’14 algorithms class. An additional excellent resource I have found is Kevin Wayne’s set of slides that support (primarily) the Kleinberg-Tardos book. (I like the K-T book a lot, but am waiting for the upcoming version that will be quite a bit cheaper.)

    •   Glencora Borradaile — May 5, 2014 @ 2:52 pm    

      Wow! That’s great, Aravind! I am sure your students will appreciate it.

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