This blog site reflects the biology- and teaching-related musings of Mariëlle Hoefnagels and Matthew Taylor. As dedicated teachers, we understand the challenge (and importance) of engaging students in introductory biology. We believe that all students can learn and apply the core concepts in a biology class, but they need study aids that help them understand the content, not just memorize it. We also believe in the power of biological knowledge: Every aspect of student life revolves around biology, so understanding biology gives students a vital tool they need to make sense of the world.
Mariëlle earned her PhD in botany and plant pathology at Oregon State University in 1997, and she has been teaching nonmajors biology at the University of Oklahoma ever since. It is her favorite part of her job at OU. She loves helping students learn about a topic that they might have feared in the past, and she loves coaching them to help improve their study skills.
Shortly after coming to OU, she became a McGraw-Hill textbook author. At first she was a coauthor on Ricki Lewis’s Life book, but she eventually developed her own titles (Biology: Concepts and Investigations and Biology: The Essentials). For Mariëlle, writing and teaching are perfectly complementary activities. She thinks about her students as she writes, and she thinks about how best to explain topics in the book as she teaches.
Matthew received a Master of Educational Technology from Boise State University and a MS in Biomedical Sciences from Oklahoma State University. He is an adjunct instructor of biology at the University of Oklahoma. For the last decade, Matthew has helped Mariëlle with all parts of textbook development and production. In particular, he has focused on transitioning the titles from print-focused to a digital environment, with projects such as developing animations, creating interactive online questions, and rethinking art and other content to create a better user experience with the ebook.