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Thread: Teaching Yourself Biology

  1. #1 Teaching Yourself Biology 
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    How can I get my hands on some Biology Textbooks/materials so that I can learn the basics of Biology. My schools science program is not that great and was basically skimped on while in the class. I am really interested in Biology and the sciiences but there is no way of me learning it at school now, so I was wondering if I could find good resources to actually learn it on my own time. I already looked at the resource section, but those don't seem to have a section for basics. Thanks in advanced.


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    You might look at some free biology teacher resources--you might even recognize some :-)
    Biology


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  6. #5 Free Virtual (Online) Museum 
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    Accidental double post. Please delete.
    Last edited by gottspieler; March 11th, 2012 at 05:55 PM.
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    Why do you want to learn biology? Are there any specific areas your interested in? Anything you've always wanted figure out?

    Learning, self study in particular, generally works best when personal interest and creativity are involved. For example, instead of spending hours and hours memorizing taxonomy, you'd be better off doing some sort of creative research or experiment. The creativity forces you to learn certain things and recall them regularly. Textbooks are a waste of paper.

    (If it's taxonomy that you're interested in than learn why things are named the way they are, rather than just memorizing their names)

    For example, I always forget the proper equation for photosynthesis, but I know the physiology and terms needed to describe the functioning of a muscle, because it's interesting to me. Photosynthesis is also interesting to me, but doesn't regularly enter my mind. Yet, by understanding the theory I could probably come pretty close to guessing the right equation.

    If you just want to learn biology because it sounds cool than you'll find yourself wasting hours/days/years reading textbooks and forgetting everything. If you just want to get an idea for these sciences than skip the technical stuff and get some introduction books. Things with stories, real applications, or theory tends to be easier to retain and generally more interesting. Then, if you still like it you can go deeper. Try to think things over before just learning them. How is water pulled up from the roots of a tree all the way to the the leaves? Sit and think about it. Draw diagrams, try to figure it out, then look it up. After reading some things try to rewrite things in your own words (this requires more mental effort but solidifies things), or apply the theories to your own interests in some creative way, or talk about them with like-minded people, and some non-like-minded ones.

    Don't forget why your learning or you'll lose your drive.
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    YouTube is one of the greatest sources of online learning materials. Despite its reputation, YouTube is not all clips of people falling over and kittens playing, there's some very good educational stuff too. You can find full lecture series (at introductory and undergrad level) uploaded by various universities. I've linked to a few below; if you poke around within each channel you can find many more.


    MIT Opencourseware
    The MIT Opencourseware channel can be found on YouTube here.

    1.MIT 7.014 Introductory Biology, Spring 2005 (34 lectures)
    2 MIT 7.012 Introduction to Biology, Fall 2004 (34 lectures)

    The course notes, lecture notes and assignments (with answers) can be found on the relevant MIT Opencourseware pages for each course, as well as some of the videos themselves: Free Online Course Materials | Courses | MIT OpenCourseWare


    UC Berkeley
    The UC Berkeley channel can be found on YouTube here

    1. Integrative Biology 131 - General Human Anatomy - Fall 2005 (39 lectures)
    2. Biology 1A, 001 - Spring 2012 (21 lectures)
    3. Biology 1AL, 001 - Spring 2012 (6 lectures)
    4. Biology 1B, 001 - Spring 2012 (22 lectures)
    5. Biology 1A, 001 - Fall 2011 (40 lectures)
    6. Biology 1AL, 001 - Spring 2011 (12 lectures)
    6. Biology 1AL, 001 - Fall 2011 (11 lectures)
    7. Biology 1B, 001 - Spring 2011 (40 lectures)
    8. Biology 1B, 001 - Fall 2011 (40 lectures)
    9. Molecular and Cell Biology C148, 001 - Spring 2011
    + many, many, many more


    UCLA
    The uclacourses channel can be found on YouTube here
    1. Life, Concepts and Issues: UCLA Life Sciences 15 (19 lectures)


    iBioseminars YouTube channel

    1. Developmental Biology and Evolution (27 videos)
    2. Biological Mechanisms (55 videos)
    3. Cell Biology & Medicine (36 videos)



    Since the recent redsign of YouTube its now rather difficult to find all the videos of each course on one neat and tidy page, so what I've linked to above is only really a tiny selection of what's available. There's a great deal more if you know where to look.





    Podcasts are also an option; a nice way of keeping in touch with the latest developments (being able to discuss topical science stories is an important skill to develop). Also a good way to get a feel of how science actually works, learn how scientists think and go about their daily business. Good ones with quality content include:

    1. This Week in Virology
    2. This Week in Microbiology
    3. Futures in Biotech
    4. This Week in Parasitism
    5. Meet the Scientist with Carl Zimmer
    Last edited by Zwirko; March 11th, 2012 at 06:27 PM.
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  9. #8  
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    Hi Yael,

    In addition to the above, i would recommend taking some time to find out your natural learning style i.e. audio-visual vs kinaesthetic etc. This will help in both assimilating information and understanding biological concepts. Also, you could save up and invest in private tuition if you wish to pursue biology seriously. Mostly, i would advise thinking things through independently and then discussing these topics with others - members on this forum will be happy to discuss these with you.

    Stick at it. I can relate - trying to teach myself programming. It's harrd.

    Best wishes,

    Tri~
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  10. #9  
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    What area/s of Bio are you focusing on?

    Neurology?

    Endocrinology?

    Zoology?

    Biological Anthropology?

    Immunology?

    Oncology?

    Parasitology?

    Virology?

    Botany?

    Ecology?

    Genetics?

    Mycology?

    Pharmacology?

    Histology?

    Epidemiology?

    Ethology?

    Regardless, you need to either read a few introductory books first or take at least two General Biology courses before being able to understand specific subjects in depth. I'd also recommend taking a year of Chemistry (don't try to learn it on your own!).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yael View Post
    How can I get my hands on some Biology Textbooks/materials so that I can learn the basics of Biology. My schools science program is not that great and was basically skimped on while in the class. I am really interested in Biology and the sciiences but there is no way of me learning it at school now, so I was wondering if I could find good resources to actually learn it on my own time. I already looked at the resource section, but those don't seem to have a section for basics. Thanks in advanced.
    I can teach you.

    Also, Biology (Campbell-Reece 9th ed) is a great book. I've read the 8th edition, but I've heard the 9th edition is even better.

    EDIT: I taught myself cellular biology.
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    Basic topics in Bilogy are Cell, DNA, RNA, Proteins,Enzymes,Bacterias,Enzymes etc.These are very interesting ones.You can learn them online by a google search.Simply type Geogene in google or any other search engine and you will get even more list of related topics.Best luck.
    Last edited by jaychristian457; May 11th, 2012 at 06:14 AM.
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  13. #12  
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    I will go onto amazon.com and purchase used textbooks or other books (you can get some for dirt cheap!) if I need to beef up my knowledge in some of the areas of biology.
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    Buying books online through amazon.com is a good idea.Still better is reading articles which are already available online free of charge.A simple google search will definitely help you out.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SOLARIS_7 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Yael View Post
    How can I get my hands on some Biology Textbooks/materials so that I can learn the basics of Biology. My schools science program is not that great and was basically skimped on while in the class. I am really interested in Biology and the sciiences but there is no way of me learning it at school now, so I was wondering if I could find good resources to actually learn it on my own time. I already looked at the resource section, but those don't seem to have a section for basics. Thanks in advanced.
    I can teach you. Also, Biology (Campbell-Reece 9th ed) is a great book. I've read the 8th edition, but I've heard the 9th edition is even better.EDIT: I taught myself cellular biology.
    I can get you the pdf of this book. It really is an amazing introduction to biology.
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    An electronic pirate, sailing the electromagnetic waves of the matrix, looting servers, and getting drunk on information.
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  17. #16  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Philovitist View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by SOLARIS_7 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Yael View Post
    How can I get my hands on some Biology Textbooks/materials so that I can learn the basics of Biology. My schools science program is not that great and was basically skimped on while in the class. I am really interested in Biology and the sciiences but there is no way of me learning it at school now, so I was wondering if I could find good resources to actually learn it on my own time. I already looked at the resource section, but those don't seem to have a section for basics. Thanks in advanced.
    I can teach you. Also, Biology (Campbell-Reece 9th ed) is a great book. I've read the 8th edition, but I've heard the 9th edition is even better.EDIT: I taught myself cellular biology.
    I can get you the pdf of this book. It really is an amazing introduction to biology.
    Hey, is there anyway i could get the pdf of that biology book from you. Can you send pdfs by internet or is it too big?Cheers.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yael View Post
    How can I get my hands on some Biology Textbooks/materials so that I can learn the basics of Biology. My schools science program is not that great and was basically skimped on while in the class. I am really interested in Biology and the sciiences but there is no way of me learning it at school now, so I was wondering if I could find good resources to actually learn it on my own time. I already looked at the resource section, but those don't seem to have a section for basics. Thanks in advanced.
    Hi there :
    There is plenty of material online .

    Try also biology for dummies on dummies.com, for example .

    I had learned about mindfulness for dummies myself , so, but that was about a certain school of psychology .

    That dummy thing is no offense though .It just means for beginners
    In addition to the links proposed by our friends here above , you can also check some science magazines on line such as : Scientific American .....

    Good luck indeed.

    Have fun in that .
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    Hi Yael,

    I found myself in a very similar situation! I am super interested in biology, but sometimes the textbooks that my school chose for me really didn't cover what I wanted (sometimes it was not in-depth enough, sometimes it was way too in-depth and was hardly understandable)

    I agree with Shoss and JayChristian and their approach to self-learning. One book that I have found extremely helpful was The Machinery of Life by David Goodsell, I purchased it used on Amazon (as I do for almost all of the books I read). It is a gorgeously illustrated introductory text that was both accessible and in-depth.

    Also just browsing Amazon for books that look interesting. Sometimes textbooks are great for what you want to learn, sometimes they aren't. I would suggest checking out a variety of formats of books.

    Also reading scientific literature on topics that you are interested in. The PMC (through the NIH) has a lot of literature available to the public. You could start there.

    Enjoy! Biology is awesome
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    There are lots of ways to have basic knowledge in biology, if you think that your in need seriously visit some websites so they can assist you easily and quickly basic teaching about biology.
    Last edited by Dream Warrior; November 21st, 2013 at 12:17 AM.
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  21. #20  
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    Genetics
    &
    Neuroscience
    &
    Environmental Morphology


    Nuff Said.

    They are however, very Nitty Gritty.
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  22. #21  
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    There many Biology website that now easily to use for you study. But I suggest you to be much vigilant in finding real one.
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    If your looking for decent biology content on the internet, I can definitely recommend the youtube series Crashcourse Biology. Seriously. Check it out, there are 40 episodes with each one building on the previous one. It starts with some VERY BASIC chemistry and works up from there to eu/prokaryotes, on to tissues, nutrition, muscles and how they function, on and on and provides a great framework. I recently started a life science course in college and I could always find a perfectly corresponding Crashcourse video with whatever topic we covered in class. Seriously, look into it.
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  24. #23  
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    If you are in your school, you must have some textbooks.
    I think textbooks contain a lot of basic knowledge of biology.
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    First I would decide what type of biology books your looking for Ecology, Anatomy, Zoology,etc. and than I would go on Ebay or Amazon and buy used text books so that you don't have to spend a fortune.
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    Hi there,

    I have a blog with a number of articles on basic biological topics - basicbiology.net. It's not completely comprehensive but I'm working on it.

    It really does depend on what you're interested in though - plants, animals, microorganism, biochemistry, ecology, genetics? The Campbell textbooks are brilliant and give a great introduction into the massive range of topics that biology covers. I'm sure if you're really keen, which it sounds like you are, you won't have any trouble getting your hands on some great content.
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