Biology: How Life Works 2nd Edition
Ongoing discoveries in biology mean that a new edition of an introductory biology textbook will certainly have some new science content. But, more importantly, our second edition is new in the sense that we had the opportunity, for the first time, to listen to students and instructors who used HLW in the classroom. The second edition is responsive to this group and their input has proven invaluable.
What we heard from this community is that the philosophy of HLW resonates with students and instructors. They appreciate a streamlined text that rigorously focuses on introductory biology, an emphasis on integration, a modern treatment of biology, and equal attention to text, assessment, and media. These elements haven’t changed—they are the threads that connect the first and second editions. In fact, all of the changes of the second edition are integrated within the framework of the first edition; they are not simply add-ons.
We are particularly excited about the work we’ve done in assessment. In the first edition, we worked with a creative and dedicated team of assessment authors to create something wholly new: not a standard test bank, but a thoughtful, curated, well-aligned set of questions that can be used for teaching as well as testing. These questions are written at a variety of cognitive levels. In addition, they can be used in a variety of contexts, including pre-class, in-class, homework, and exam, providing a learning path for students.
Our approach was so well received that we took it a step further in the second edition. The HLW team is excited to have Melissa Michael, our lead assessment author in the first edition, join us as a lead author in the second edition. Her new role allows her to work more closely with the text and media, which makes for an even tighter alignment among these various components.
Instructors have told us that they especially like the activities that can be used in class to foster active learning among students. In response, the second edition includes a rich set of activities across the introductory biology curriculum. Some are short, taking just a couple of minutes to explore a specific topic or concept. Others are longer, spanning several class periods and exploring topics and concepts across many chapters.
Although students and instructors appreciated a streamlined text, we also heard that more attention was needed in ecology. In response, we added a chapter that focuses on physical processes and global ecology. This new chapter also had a ripple effect throughout the later chapters of Part 2, giving us more space to explore other ecological concepts more deeply as well.
The media in HLW is many layered, so that a static visual synthesis on the page becomes animated online — and even interactive — through visual synthesis maps and simulations, using a consistent visual language and supported by assessment. Media resources for this new edition have been expanded to reflect its increased emphasis on global ecology — for example, there is a new Visual Synthesis figure and online map on the flow of matter and energy in ecosystems. We also developed additional media resources that focus on viruses, cells, and tissues.
We feel that this edition is a wonderful opportunity for us to continue to develop an integrated set of resources to support instructor teaching and student learning in introductory biology. Thank you for taking the time to use it in the classroom.
The Biology: How Life Works Author Team
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