Learning from this book

This book was made especially for you, the student.  It arose out of observations and feedback from several semesters of teaching, and more recently during the online semesters of 2020 -2021.

  1.   Some students liked to have a reference, but textbooks are prohibitively expensive, dense, and not always aligned with what is taught in class.
  2.   Many students prefer to watch quick videos (often Khan Academy) and often seek out resources online.

Unfortunately, many of them (and yes even some Khan Academy ones! ) are inaccurate, propagate misconceptions, or are not appropriate for the level of the class.

So I did the work for you.

As you read you will see embedded videos, animations, and additional links to learning. These deliver the information and content as it pertains to this class. You will also have access to lecture videos for some topics.

I hope this digital text will be a happy medium between the two options.

Make sure you have exhausted all the options (Links to Learning, watching animations, and other videos provided). If after doing all of that you still find yourself looking for alternative explanations- please seek out help before looking online for other resources! 


⊗ Only watching the videos and not reading the text.
⊗ Only reading the text and not watching any of the linked resources.


3. Cognitive science and studies of how our brain process information has shown that the more ways you look at information the better it is for long-term retention.

Hopefully by having multiple options within one text will provide for a seamless experience.

How is this book organized?

In each chapter, you will see the following features to guide you:

  • Learning Objectives guide you through what you can expect to learn by reading and completing the chapter exercises.  ALL exam and quiz questions are paired with these learning objectives! You should take these very seriously.
  • Exercises allow you an immediate opportunity to put new information into practice.
  • Links to Learning sections provide you with opportunities to continue exploring the concepts you are learning through connections to other helpful information.

My recommendation

During your established study time set aside for each ‘Lecture’ as per CANVAS consider doing the following:

  1. Print out any note-templates, active learning notes provided in your course site.
  2. Start by noting the learning objectives and the problem set questions.
  3. Begin reading the assigned sections of the book – pause and watch the lecture videos if instructed within the text. If you think you have a good grasp you can watch them at increased speed!
    • Print out (or have available a digital form) ‘Lecture Video Slides’ when made available and keep them nearby to make any notes or look at the figures.
  4. Fill in the active learning notes as you make your way through the material (try to do it without looking at the text first!)
  5. Use the List of Terms to make concept maps connecting as many as you can.
  6. Complete any associated assessments or practice in your LMS (Learning management system- CANVAS).
  • Treat the assessment as a QUIZ  to test your understanding of the factual knowledge.
  • Take note of where you are guessing, what you got wrong so you can review.

This book is will continue to change.  Your experience using the book and suggestions will be valuable as I continue to modify chapters!


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Introduction to Molecular Biology Copyright © by Sapna Mehta is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.