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Teaching Tools in Plant Biology
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FAQs and How To Access and Use Teaching Tools in Plant Biology (TTPB)

What are Teaching Tools in Plant Biology?

Teaching Tools in Plant Biology is a feature of The Plant Cell, published by the American Society of Plant Biologists. TTPBs are developed to facilitate the teaching and learning of plant biology at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Each topic summarizes our current understanding of a facet of plant biology in an accessible and easy-to-read style. The materials can be used in a variety of contexts, including traditional lecture-based courses, flipped courses in which outside-of-class readings are augmented by in-class discussions and activities, and independent learning.

How often are are they updated?

TTPB are peer-reviewed and updated regularly. Follow TTPB on Facebook, Twitter, or the ASPB blog for notifications of updates and new content.

What do they include?

Each topic includes several components including large and small slide sets, a review-style article, and a teaching guide.

PowerPoint slide sets

  • Average about 100 slides
  • Image-centric slides with hyperlinked sources
  • Provide a coherent overview of the topic
  • Key experiments and methods are introduced and described
  • Basic and advanced concepts are included - you select what is most appropriate for your needs
  • Text can be modified or translated

Abridged 24 slide sets

Just the main ideas, suitable for a more basic-level courses

Lecture Notes

  • Review-style articles written for undergraduates
  • Recommended Reading lists for further study that include hyperlinks to the primary literature and recent review articles

Teaching Guides

  • Learning objectives
  • Short overview of key points
  • List of slides and slide concepts
  • Study/exam questions to assess understanding and comprehension
  • Discussion questions for engagement and connections to other topics
Who can access TTPB?
  • Instructors or students at an institution with an institutional subscription to The Plant Cell/Plant Physiology (contact Suzanne Cholwek for more information about subscriptions)
  • ASPB members (Contact Shoshana Kronfeld or more information about membership)
  • Individual tools are available on a pay-per-view basis
  • Individuals at Research4Life (AGORA/HINARI/OARE)–eligible institutions (
  • The first six titles do not require a subscription

How can I access TTPB?

All of the titles are listed on the Teaching Tools in Plant Biology home page. Depending on whether you are an institutional subscriber or ASPB member, or are accessing them on a pay-per-view basis, you will need to navigate through a few pages to reach a list of links to each of the components. You can download the resources to your computer and post them on a protected course website for easier access by your students.

How can I use TTPB?

TTPBs are designed to be flexible and support a wide range of uses. Many instructors use them as sources of images to add to an existing lecture. Others use them as a source of recent information to supplement the material in the course textbook. The materials can be provided to students for reading outside class, or as an entry-point for advanced inquiry. The tools are also widely used by students, postdocs, and faculty as an easy way to learn new material outside one’s primary focus area. You also can give the materials to new students or researchers joining your lab as a broad overview of the field of study. Basically, you can use TTPBs for any of your teaching, learning, mentoring, studying, or investigating needs!

What topics are available?

TTPB cover a variety of topics, and more topics are being produced. Many of the topics fall into the following themes:

  • Plant-water relations (Part 1): Uptake and Transport
  • Plant-water relations (Part 2): Adaptations, acclimations and applications
  • Plant nutrition (Part 1): Membrane transport and ion homeostasis
  • Plant nutrition (Part 2): Uptake, distribution and assimilation of mineral nutrients
  • Powering the plant: Conversion of light into chemical energy in photosynthesis
For more information, or if you have questions about Teaching Tools in Plant Biology, please contact Mary Williams or visit the TTPB Publication site.
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