The CK-12 foundation defines a flexbook as a “free and open source textbook platform where one can build and edit collaborative textbooks1.” The FNDH 400  (formerly the HN 400 flexbook, department changed its name from Human Nutrition to Food, Nutrition, Dietetics and Health) Flexbook fits this definition, but I feel the name is particularly accurate due to the flexibility of Google Docs. Students in addition to having access through Google Docs, can download the flexbook as an .odt, .pdf, .rtf, .doc, text, or html file giving them flexibility to use the document how they would like. Students can also choose whether they would like to read the flexbook digitally or print and read it on paper.

The flexbook is divided into 13 chapters with sections and subsections. These are numbered in such a way that the first number represents the chapter. A period separates the chapter from the section number, and another period is followed by the subsection number. The figures are non-copyrighted figures or I have made them myself in PowerPoint. The flexbook also contains links to articles, videos, and animations in Web Link boxes. These can be clicked to open the link, and urls for these resources are also provided at the end of the section or subsection.

I am happy to share the flexbook and PowerPoint slides that I use for class with other instructors teaching similar courses. Please email me and we can get something arranged. I hope eventually this flexbook, or something similar, will become a collaborative project.

Brian Lindshield allows others to distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon this work, even commercially, as long as attribute this resource.

Here’s a citation to use for this purpose, but if this doesn’t work for your purpose, please cite the url which is also provided below.


Lindshield, B. L. Kansas State University Human Nutrition (FNDH 400) Flexbook.

Shortened URL:

The flexbook was a finalist for the 2012 People’s Choice Award for the Most Open Resource (note is now

About the Course

FNDH 400 is a 3-hour, intermediate-level, nutrition course at Kansas State University taught on campus every spring semester, and all 3 semesters (fall, spring, summer) via the Division of Continuing Education. Ideally on-campus students take the course during the spring semester of their sophomore year. Most on-campus students in the class are majoring in Nutritional Sciences, Nutrition and Health (previously Public Health Nutrition), Nutrition and Kinesiology, Athletic Training, or Dietetics. There is an increasing number of Biology, Life Sciences and other majors taking the course. Online, more students are nontraditional and a little more than half are distance dietetics students (K-State offers a distance dietetics degree).

About the Author/Instructor

Brian Lindshield, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Department of Food, Nutrition, Dietetics and Health. He received an A.S. from Pratt Community College in ’01, a B.S. in Human Nutrition from Kansas State University in ’03, and Ph.D. in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in ’08.

Peer-reviewed flexbook/OER journal articles

Lindshield, B.L., Adhikari, K. Campus and Online U.S. College Students’ Attitudes Toward an Open Educational Resource Course Fee. Int J High Educ. 2(4): 42-51, 2013. doi:10.5430/ijhe.v2n4p42

Lindshield, B.L., Adhikari, K. Online and Campus College Students Like Using an Open Educational Resource Instead of a Traditional Textbook. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching. 9(1): 26-38, 2013.

Lindshield, B.L., Adhikari, K. The Kansas State University Human Nutrition (HN 400) Flexbook. Educause Quarterly. 34(4), 2011.

Flexbook Presentations

3/5/13 Innovations in Teaching & Learning Showcase

“Open Educational Resources, Textbook Replacements?”

3/4/13 Innovations in Teaching & Learning Workshop Panel

“Take 5: Teaching Technologies that Work”

9/27/12 IDT Roundtable

“E-textbooks and Beyond”

One of 3 speakers at session. link as of 05/18/2021)

3/16/12 Teaching, Learning, and Technology Showcase 2012

“Using Flexbooks to Supplement/Replace the Traditional Textbook”

9/28/11 Axio Learning Conference 2011

Peer Showcase: “Using flexbooks to supplement/replace the traditional textbook”

7/25/11 Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior Oral Presentation

“Kansas State University Human Nutrition (HN 400) Flexbook”

9/29/10 Axio Learning Conference 2010


1/12/10 7th annual K-State Teaching Retreat

“Flexbooks: Better than Textbooks?”

Media Stories about the Flexbook

9/26/13 K-State Today
K-State faculty receive funding to develop open alternative textbooks

1/29/13 Kansas State Collegian
Open-sourced ‘flexbook’ earns K-State educator national acclaim

9/19/12 College Human Ecology Press Release
Lindshield’s flexbook nominated for national people’s choice award

9/12/12 Partnership for Technology Innovation
Providing an Open Resource, Lowering the Financial Burden link as of 05/18/2021)

8/24/12 Kansas City Star
K-State professor develops textbook flexibility (inactive link as of 05/18/2021)

Other media outlets where article was published:

Chicago Tribune:–tms–kidmoneyctnsr-a20120827-20120827,0,77297.story (inactive link as of 05/18/2021)
McClatchy Wire
Sacramento Bee
Sun Herald (Biloxi-Gulfport and Mississippi Gulf Coast
Lexington Herald-Leader
The Telegraph (Georgia)
The South Carolina State
The Olympian (Olympia, Washington)
The Bradenton Herald (Florida)
Bellingham Herald (Washington)
News Observer (Raleigh, North Carolina)
The Modesto Bee (Modesto, California)
The Idaho Statesman (Boise, Idaho)
Civic Plus (Blog)
The Stockton Record (Stockton, California):
The Detroit News

8/16/12 Up to Date KCUR 89.3 (Kansas City NPR station)
The ‘Flexbook’: A Textbook Replacement

8/13/12 Kansas State University Press Release
From textbook to flexbook: Professor uses new collaborative tool in the classroom

Other media outlets that published the release:

Campus Technology:
News Medical:
Kansas City infoZine:

8/13/12 K-State Today
Professor’s collaborative flexbook nominated for national people’s choice award

2/22/12 Just In Blog
Lindshield flexes his flexbook muscle and tells how you can, too

12/15/10 Issue 16 Axio Quarterly
Flexbooks: What Can They Do For You? (inactive link as of 05/18/2021)

Contact Information

Brian Lindshield Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Food, Nutrition, Dietetics and Health
Kansas State University
208 Justin Hall
Manhattan, KS 66506-1407
Phone 785-532-7848 Fax 785-532-3132
@brianlindshield on Twitter


Thanks to former Kansas State University student Russ Wolters for his input and feedback on the flexbook design and revision. The feedback from FNDH 400 students has been extremely important in improving the flexbook.




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Human Nutrition Copyright © 2019 by Brian Lindshield is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.