Configure an OpenDSA eTextbook

OpenDSA is an eTextbook project developed at Virginia Tech. OpenDSA materials include many visualizations and interactive exercises that support courses in a wide variety of Computer Science-related topics such as Data Structures and Algorithms (DSA), Formal and Programming Languages.

OpenDSA has hundreds of visualizations and exercises. Most algorithms and data structures are illustrated by interactive algorithm visualizations. Students could enter their own test cases to see how the algorithm or data structure works on that input, and they can control the pacing of the visualization. Go to the OpenDSA website to read more about OpenDSA.

A course instructor who is using the Canvas LMS can add OpenDSA materials directly into their Canvas courses appearing as Modules and Assignments in Canvas. Below are the detailed instructions for how to configure an OpenDSA eTextbook.

To configure a new eTextbook, click on the Create Book menu item located at the top of the page.

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You will be taken to a new page (shown below) where you can create your own Book Instance.
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Following is the explanation of each field:

Load Existing Configuration (Optional)

1. Select Reference Configuration: You may select from a number of configuration files that are stored on the OpenDSA server. These can be useful as a starting point for creating your own configuration.

2. Select Your Configuration: If you have created/uploaded a configuration to the OpenDSA server in the past, you may load it and make modifications to it. If you only wish to change the point values of the exercises in the book, you may update the existing configuration directly. If you wish to modify the content of the book (e.g. add or remove modules), you must save your configuration as a new template book.

3. Select Configuration File: If you have a book configuration file (.json), you may load it using this option.

Book settings

These are global settings that describe or apply to the entire book.

Book Content

This two-pane drag-and-drop interface allows you to specify the content that should be in your book. Before you can select the content in your book, you must first either 1) select the book language, or 2) load an existing configuration.

Saving Your Configuration

Once you are finished configuring your book you can:

1. Click "Save New Configuration" to save the configuration as a template book to the OpenDSA database. The book will then show up in the list of available books when creating a new course.

2. If you have loaded one of your existing configurations you can click "Update Configuration". You can then update your Canvas course by regenerating it. Note that this option does not support removing chapters and/or modules.

3. Click "Download Configuration" to download a JSON file containing the configuration.