A Step Ahead describes what we set out to accomplish with this second edition textbook. As authors and educators, we know your goal is to ensure your students are prepared for the future—their future course work, lab experiences, and careers in the sciences. Building a strong foundation in biology will put your students a step ahead on this path.
Through our classroom experiences and research work, we became inspired by the prospect that the first edition of Biology could move biology education forward. We are confident that this new edition of Biology is a step ahead because we listened to you. Based on our own experience and our discussions with educators and students, we continue to concentrate our efforts on these crucial areas:
- Experimentation and the process of science
- Modern content
- Evolutionary perspective
- Emphasis on visuals
- Accuracy and consistency
- Critical thinking
- Media—Active teaching and learning with technology
Continued feedback from instructors using this textbook has been extremely valuable in refining the presentation of the material. Likewise, we have used the textbook in our own classrooms. This hands on experience has provided much insight regarding areas for improvement. Our textbook continues to be comprehensive and cutting-edge, featuring an evolutionary focus and a emphasis on scientific inquiry.
The first edition of Biology was truly innovative in its visual program and with the second edition it remains a step ahead. In watching students study as well as in extensive interviews, it is clear that students rely heavily on the artwork as their primary study tool. As you will see when you scan through our book, the illustrations have been crafted with the student’s perspective in mind. They are very easy to follow, particularly those that have multiple steps, and have very complete explanations of key concepts. We have taken the approach that students should be able to look at the figures and understand the key concepts, without having to glance back and forth between the text and art. Many figures contain text boxes that explain what the illustration is showing. In those figures with multiple steps, the boxes are numbered and thereby guide the students through biological processes.
A Step Ahead in Serving Teachers and Learners
To accurately and thoroughly cover a course as wide ranging as biology, we felt it was essential that our team reflect the diversity of the field. We saw an opportunity to reach students at an early stage in their education and provide their biology training with a solid and up-to-date foundation. We have worked to balance coverage of classic research with recent discoveries that extend biological concepts in surprising new directions or that forge new concepts. Some new discoveries were selected because they highlight scientific controversies, showing students that we don’t have all the answers yet. There is still a lot of work for new generations of biologists. With this in mind, we’ve also spotlighted discoveries made by diverse people doing research in different countries to illustrate the global nature of modern biological science.
As active teachers and writers, one of the great joys of this process for us is that we have been able to meet many more educators and students during the creation of this textbook. It is humbling to see the level of dedication our peers bring to their teaching. Likewise, it is encouraging to see the energy and enthusiasm so many students bring to their studies. We hope this book and its media package will serve to aid both faculty and students in meeting the challenges of this dynamic and exciting course. For us, this remains a work in progress and we encourage you to let us know what you think of our efforts and what we can do to serve you better.