There are many challenges in academia, and several come from the failings of what should be our primary asset, the textbook:
These problems are particularly obvious in the world of computer science and engineering, especially introductory programming.
Publishers like to promote their companion websites, but they are just that: companions. Separate. Tacked on. They aren't really integrated with the textbook, despite promises to the contrary, and are usually developed by non-educators, not the author of the actual book.
Tutorial materials can be found online, but they are often of dubious quality, and they aren't designed for students taking college courses. They certainly don't have the instructor in mind, who wants flexibility of coverage and pedagogical support.
In this day and age, we can do better.
Rephactor's mission is to provide an alternative to the traditional textbook—one that's superior to traditional texts in many ways:
Rephactor was created by Dr. Tom Way, an Associate Professor of Computer Science at Villanova University in Pennsylvania. He's also the founder and CEO of First Class Technologies, LLC.
An innovator in Computer Science education research, Tom also investigates topics in parsing, machine learning, human-computer interaction, nanocompilers and the burgeoning field of entertainment technology. As leaders in the field of Computer Science education, Tom and his colleagues at Villanova have always played an active role in pushing the envelope of CS education. They pursue a wide range of CS education initiatives that include interdisciplinary course design, distributed expertise and improved inclusion of women in CS, among many others.
Tom is also the author of Rephactor Java, our flagship e-text. Prior to his academic career, he worked in the television and film industry in Hollywood and as a morning drive radio host. His professional endeavors include a position on the board of directors of a software and Internet services company, freelance software engineering and web site consulting, and Director of Research of the successful science satire web site DHMO.org. Tom is an accomplished professional magician, writer, actor, filmmaker and marathon runner.
We appreciate the many instructors and students that provide feedback about Rephactor books and lend their insight into making it better. Questions and comments are always welcome!