Loyola University Chicago

Department of Computer Science


Dr. Peter Dordal Author of New Open Textbook

Technology, as we all know, is constantly in flux. But how academic institutions react to its ever-changing nature can underscore the success of students. Dr. Peter Dordal’s free online/open textbook, An Introduction to Computer Networks, offers a technology-based learning opportunity to students. The book is drawing strong attention from commentators in the technology community, as noted through Hacker News. This measures the pulse of ideas and interest is this field.

Dr. Dordal talked about the interest in the book and what it means in both the academic and professional fields of technology.

 “This is an experiment for textbooks and I wanted to make it accessible to many,” Dr. Dordal said. “I tried very hard to write a book that would be attractive to use even if it were not free.”

This rising trend for open textbooks is modeled after open source projects such as Wikipedia. According to Dr. Dordal, writing an open textbook has many benefits. Costs are low and content can be updated more quickly. Open books are also particularly easy to incorporate into classes as a supplemental text. Dr. Dordal’s textbook can be downloaded for free by anyone, and he uses the text in both his undergraduate and graduate courses.

This is also an experiment for Dr. Dordal, whose purpose in writing this particular book was to make it accessible to students, faculty, and industry professionals alike. Computer networks instructors across the nation are comfortable using this online textbook, and the technology community was very interested in advancing the text.

This is a welcome product, because in the computer science community, there are few open-textbook choices. While there are many open-source applications/programs out there, open textbooks are still in the newer phase of development.

But the trend is picking up speed, with many companies now producing digital textbooks. In 2012, California Governor Jerry Brown even signed state bills to develop 50 online textbooks for the University system and the creation of a digital library.

Dr. Dordal's textbook is available online