Simpson Computer Science Professor Writes Textbook

What do you do when you are looking for textbooks to teach your students and the books available are either too academic, boring for the students, or not academic enough? If you are Associate Professor of Computer Science, Paul Craven, you decide to write one yourself!

“This book evolved from my class notes over the last five years,” Craven says. “Every semester I took questions my students had and tried to make it better and more targeted to what they need to know.

“Then I devoted my sabbatical last spring to make it publication-ready.”

Craven was determined to create a learning source that would produce great programmers by making programming fun. His focus was on creating games.

Craven explained that he wrote a lot of his own material. “I wrote so much material for my class that about four or five years ago, students said they weren’t using the standard textbook for the class anymore. After that I taught completely off the materials I had created.”

To make it easier for the student, he put the material on the web and kept improving it semester after semester.

He realized, however, that a lot more people started using the material than just his students. “Today, I get over 600 unique people coming to the website every day. Once I realized how popular the site was, I thought the logical next step was to create a book and e-book version of the website,” said Craven.

The book is available in multiple formats – a paper version from Amazon, and Barnes and Noble, and an e-book version from Amazon Kindle. The material is also available online at

Craven couldn’t be happier with the final product. “I particularly like hearing from high school students that use the material. Programming courses don’t count toward high school graduation in most states, and programming isn’t part of the standardized testing schools do. Even though programming is one of the top-paid careers you can get out of college, very few schools offer it. It is usually up to the student to learn about it on their own.”

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