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From textbook to flexbook: Professor uses new collaborative tool in the classroom
Date:8/13/2012

MANHATTAN, KAN. -- A Kansas State University professor is gaining attention for creating a textbook replacement that saves students money and provides instructors with teaching flexibility.

Brian Lindshield, assistant professor of human nutrition, has developed an online form of textbook called a flexbook. His flexbook is one of three nominees for an Education-Portal.com People's Choice Award for "Most Open Resource."

Instead of buying a textbook, students in Lindshield's human nutrition course use a flexbook titled "Kansas State University Human Nutrition (HN 400) Flexbook," which is free for students to use. A flexbook is an open collaborative platform for open course materials. Lindshield created the flexbook to help students save money on course materials and to help students and instructors gain access to rapidly changing information.

"I believe the courses that can most benefit from a flexbook are the lower-level, high enrollment, textbook utilizing courses," Lindshield said. "The content in these courses is more general, and there are likely resources and material available that can be used to make an open educational resource for them."

Lindshield teaches more than 100 on-campus students every spring semester and approximately 45 online students in his human nutrition course each semester. He used a wiki the first time he taught the course in 2009. After feedback from students, Lindshield developed the flexbook in Google Docs to share with his students.

Because flexbooks are designed to be read online, they contain links to videos, animations, relevant news stories, websites and other online material, Lindshield said. A flexbook is designed to have more figures and visuals than huge amounts of text.

To meet students' various learning styles, Lindshield created four ways to share the flexbook with his students: through Google Docs, a Web link, a PDF posted on K-State Online or a print copy that studen
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Contact: Brian Lindshield
blindsh@k-state.edu
785-532-7848
Kansas State University
Source:Eurekalert

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