Some of the issues we have at USP is that text books are
- too costly, and
- not contextually relevant.
The idea that textbooks are too costly is not new. The problem of being contextually relevant is more pernicious.
Many first-year programming text books, in my experience, have a US focus. The examples that they use are drawn from US culture. So as a CS1 lecturer, I end up teaching students, say, the rules of baseball before we learn how to program the rules of baseball. Moreover, books from US publishers are based on the knowledge that US high-school students are supposed to have. The students in Fiji and in the 11 other countries that USP serves, start with a background different from that of US high-school.
To deal with (1) and (2) above I extended (well, reduced and extended) and contextualised Allen B. Downey’s “How to think like a Computer Scientist: C++ edition”. In extending Downey’s work I’ve upgraded all the examples to C++17 and produced a book with a South Pacific flavour. The book is available under an open-access licence from my personal site.