Student and Teacher CSP Ebooks are now Available

September 25, 2015 at 8:00 am 8 comments

We now have TWO ebooks supporting CS Principles (see website here) now available — one for teachers and one for students.

Our teacher ebook summer study is now ended. (Announcement about launching the study is here.) We’re crunching the data now. We’ve already learned a lot about what teachers want in an ebook. We learned where our user interface wasn’t obvious, and where we needed to explain more. We learned that teachers expect end-of-chapter exercises. We have used what we have learned so far to produce the two new ebooks.

STUDENT CSP EBOOK: About a year ago, we received additional NSF funding (from the Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE) program) to develop a student version of our CSP ebook. We have been running participatory design studies and gathering usability surveys from students to get input on what a student ebook should look like. We have now released the first version of the student ebook.

The student CSP ebook is available at  It doesn’t require a login, but we recommend that teachers have their students login. Without a login, we store saved answers on the local computer, but if the student logs in, we save the answers by the student’s username.  The course name is StudentCSP.

We recommend that teachers create a custom version of the student ebook for your students.  This allows teachers to customize the ebook, assign homework, and view student’s progress, and even create additional assessments for students.

New Version TEACHER CSP EBOOK: We iterated on our teacher ebook at the same time that we were developing the student ebook. We hypothesize that the student CSP ebook may actually encourage teachers to complete the teacher ebook. We can imagine that teachers who use the student ebook might want to stay one step ahead of the students, e.g., “My students are starting Chapter 3 on Monday, so I better finish Chapter 3 this weekend.”

We have now created a second version of our teacher CSP ebook. This one is in lockstep with the student CSP ebook, includes all the end-of-chapter exercise answers and teacher notes (e.g., on how to teach particular concepts, common student difficulties, etc.). We are not making the second teacher ebook available openly (because it includes answers to the student problems).

Teachers, please contact us at with the name and location of your school, and we’ll send you the URL.

We recommend that teachers create their own course for their students.  See for why a teacher might want to build a custom course and how to do it.

  • You must register on Runestone first at Enter StudentCSP as the course name. Be sure to record your username. We find that users often forget what they entered and assume it was their e-mail address — and it may not have been. You can also choose to sign in with your account on Google Plus, Facebook, Twitter, or several others.
  • Then go to and select “Create your own Course”.
  • Create a unique name for your course (use your school name and StudentCSP and year maybe), add a description, and your institution, and then select “CS Principles: Big Ideas in Programming by Mark Guzdial, Barbara Ericson, and Briana Morrison“.
  • Leave the rest as defaults and click the “Submit” button.  This will build a custom version of the student ebook for your students and it will have a unique URL and course name.  You will be listed as the instructor and can look at the log files and view other information on the instructor page (you can get to this by clicking on the icon that looks like a head and shoulders and the top right of your screen when you are in the ebook).

Entry filed under: Uncategorized. Tags: , , , , .

Different is not Lite: A 2002 Argument Against Media Computation What can I do today to create a more inclusive community in CS? Guest Post from Cynthia Lee

8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. cmcwerner  |  September 25, 2015 at 11:19 am

    Help me out here. This (your CSP ebook) looks like a programming course. I thought CSP was about more than just programming. I saw your blog and was excited about some more resources (beyond programming) that I might incorporate into my CSP course, but alas, I found programming exercises in Python. Great stuff, just not what I need to make more CSP course more about Principles and less about programming.

    • 2. Mark Guzdial  |  September 25, 2015 at 11:57 am

      As we say clearly at the front, this ebook is about supporting the Programming-related Big Ideas, including Data. We explicitly identify the learning objectives that we are addressing.

      The goal of our project is to educate teachers. We’re not hearing new CS teachers complain about the difficulty of teaching the non-programming aspects. We’re hearing that they’re uncertain about the programming aspects. That’s what we’re focusing on. Our ebook is designed to be a low-cognitive load approach to developing teacher self-efficacy and confidence about the programming aspects.

      I am interested in the student ebook explicitly as a tool for encouraging more teachers to complete the teacher ebook. We hear from teachers who have been unwilling to start the teacher ebook unless we also have a student ebook. We’re giving them one, in order to get them to do the teacher ebook. I want teachers to say, “My kids are about to start Chapter 3 on Monday. I’d better finish it myself this weekend.” The results we have on the teacher ebook suggest that the ebook really works — if we can get teachers to go through it. For me, the student ebook is a honey pot to get teachers to learn.

      Charlie, you’re not in our target audience. You know the programming part and care more about the rest. Novice teachers worry and care more about the programming part. We don’t reach CS10K by catering to you. We have to worry about drawing in the new teachers who are frightened by programming. I’m trying to smooth their way.

  • 3. markfromct  |  September 26, 2015 at 8:14 am

    Hi Mark,

    This looks fantastic!  If a teacher was using these materials, over what period of time would they be teaching.  In other words is this a full semester, 5 days a week course or a once a week for 12 weeks type of enrichment class.

    Thanks again,

    Mark Ahrens

    • 4. Mark Guzdial  |  September 26, 2015 at 3:40 pm

      Teachers who went through the ebook have said that it took them about 20 hours to get through the version from this summer. With the additional exercises, it is about 30 hours at least. So, if you are teaching with it and spending (maybe) 30 minutes a day in the ebook — that is about 60 classes. About 12 (5 classes a week) weeks if you covered the whole thing in class.

  • […] Instructor Dashboard for the Runestone Interactive and our group’s CSP eBooks (see announcement here). The goal for the dashboard is to offer useful reports, graphs, and analytics accessible by […]

  • […] (see post here) and which led to our student and teacher ebooks that we recently released (see post here).  The authors of the paper are Barbara, Steven, Brianna Morrison, and […]

  • […] group at Georgia Tech has been developing and evaluating ebooks for several years (see this post with discussion of some of them). We publish on them frequently, with a new paper just accepted to ICER 2016 in Melbourne. We use […]

  • […] of the papers extends the ebook work that I’ve reported on here (see here where we made them available and our paper on usability and usage from WiPSCE 2015). Identifying Design Principles for CS […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 10,185 other subscribers


Recent Posts

Blog Stats

  • 2,060,331 hits
September 2015

CS Teaching Tips

%d bloggers like this: