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Back to Understanding Plants - Part I: What a Plant Knows

Learner Reviews & Feedback for Understanding Plants - Part I: What a Plant Knows by Tel Aviv University

1,321 ratings
390 reviews

About the Course

For centuries we have collectively marveled at plant diversity and form—from Charles Darwin’s early fascination with stems and flowers to Seymour Krelborn’s distorted doting in Little Shop of Horrors. This course intends to present an intriguing and scientifically valid look at how plants themselves experience the world—from the colors they see to the sensations they feel. Highlighting the latest research in genetics and more, we will delve into the inner lives of plants and draw parallels with the human senses to reveal that we have much more in common with sunflowers and oak trees than we may realize. We’ll learn how plants know up from down, how they know when a neighbor has been infested by a group of hungry beetles, and whether they appreciate the music you’ve been playing for them or if they’re just deaf to the sounds around them. We’ll explore definitions of memory and consciousness as they relate to plants in asking whether we can say that plants might even be aware of their surroundings. This highly interdisciplinary course meshes historical studies with cutting edge modern research and will be relevant to all humans who seek their place in nature. This class has three main goals: 1. To introduce you to basic plant biology by exploring plant senses (sight, smell, hearing, touch, taste, balance). 2. To introduce you to biological research and the scientific method. 3. To get the student to question life in general and what defines us as humans. Once you've taken this course, if you are interested in a more in-depth study of plants, check out my follow-up course, Fundamentals of Plant Biology ( In order to receive academic credit for this course you must successfully pass the academic exam on campus. For information on how to register for the academic exam – Additionally, you can apply to certain degrees using the grades you received on the courses. Read more on this here – Teachers interested in teaching this course in their class rooms are invited to explore our Academic High school program here –

Top reviews

Dec 12, 2016

Love the clarity of the instructors deliver which is supported by great explanations and most importantly visual aids & demonstrations. Ps... Especially loved the bloopers at the end. Nice treat! :)

Mar 3, 2020

A perfect course to understand all senses of plants in a straightforward way and I must admit the way professor Daniel chamovitz helped me to better acknowledge this course was satisfactory for me.

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51 - 75 of 386 Reviews for Understanding Plants - Part I: What a Plant Knows


Jan 4, 2021

Professor Daniel Chamovitz, thank you for such an engaging learning experience. Botany will never be the same for me. I always was so distant from knowing anything enough about plants (as a bioengineer and bioinformatician I felt I have to). It was a pure pleasure to be your student. Looking forward, Evgeniya Lokes

By Montserrat L

May 23, 2020

I had not study any biology related since secondary school, but I had always wanted to do some sort of study in botany, this course was great for me. The material is not too hard, specific enough and definitely will give you a new perspective and deeper understanding of plants and the magnificent beings they are.

By Oriama S O

Sep 3, 2018

This course gives a better understanding of plants and gives me an idea of the research questions and type of information/data i might be looking for in an experiment. It gives me an understanding that cuts across both agricultural and biological disciplines and this will greatly impact my career. Thank you

By Neeraj J

Aug 17, 2019

It was a wonderful experience learning from such a fine teacher & expert when time, money and distance do not permit to pursue your dream of Learning. every lecture was so informative, elaborately explained and to the mark. We are lucky to be students of such teachers. Thanks, Coursera to let this happen

By Chantelle B

Jul 12, 2019

A good introduction to the basic senses of plants. This course broadens understanding of plants so that they aren't just seen as unsensing machines but are dynamic and adaptable, aware of and responding to changes in their environments. I recommend reading the book to get the most out of the course.

By Olga C

Apr 4, 2018

Not only was the course informative, in depth and well-structured, it was excellently and eloquently presented, keeping my interest piqued at all times. I really had a great time attending and hugely appreciate all the effort that has been put to creating this. Congratulations and gratitude.

By Juan A P A

Aug 28, 2020

This course was amazing. Dr. Chamovitz is such a great professor and the topics of this course were easy to follow. I loved the genetic approach given in this course about plants and the relation to some genes found in humans. The final exam is a bit long but taking the course is worth it.

By Julie A P

Jun 2, 2017

I can only recommend this course! It is truly inspiring and informative - also for those, like me, who don't have a background in natural sciences. The professor is an efficient communicator and very engaging. I'm very grateful for having this wonderful world of the plants unfurled for me.

By jean m

Sep 28, 2020

I was very pleased with this course. The instructor was engaged, informative and tailored his lectures to his audience and used lots of visuals. The multiple choice could be challenging at times but it was a good refresher on how to take tests - plus - the subject matter was interesting.

By Catherine O

Nov 28, 2020

Fantastic course that's both challenging and informative! Dr. Chamovitz is outstanding in his video lectures and has a terrific sense of humor! I particularly enjoyed learning how much in common we, human animals, have with plants, and how important our plants are to our survival!

By Isha S C

Aug 11, 2020

Thank You sir for giving us the wonderful e-learning experience. You have been amazing in terms of clarity of concept ,very engaging and enthusiastic . Thank you for making biology more interesting . This course will surly help me to explore more .

Respect and Regards from India

By Fabián L

Nov 24, 2020

Now I understand better what the plant perceives, and I value its complexity even more. I am very grateful to them for this masterful and wonderful course. I am very anxious to begin the second part of your teaching Professor Daniel Ch. Greetings from South America. Ecuador!

By Kit K

Jun 20, 2017

The instructor is enthusiastic, entertaining, and does an excellent job of structuring the lectures to include interesting experiments, big-picture overview, and enough detail to dig deeper. The quizzes supported my learning well, too. Would highly recommend this course.

By Serhii S

Sep 21, 2017

Daniel Chamovitz is a great lecturer and the course is very interesting! I would recommend it for everyone: for mature persons - to better understand their plants, for youth - to wake up interest in botany (especially if school program is boring as it was at my school).

By Melissa S

Sep 24, 2020

As a liberal arts person with almost no science knowledge, I found this course to be sometimes challenging, almost always interesting, and ultimately rewarding. Very well paced and structured. Packed with more info than the usual free online course. Would recommend!

By Mohamed F F

Jul 3, 2018

Professor Daniel Chamovitz! Hewww..... This course is like a roller coaster in knowledge about plants. Everything is crisp and clear; gives an amazing learning experience. And with a special regard to Prof. Daniel, HE IS ABSOLUTELY NAILING THE TEACHING SKILLS!!!!!!!

By Yan J

Oct 20, 2019

The class content is interesting and illuminating; the organization of the site is extremely well-thought through and helpful for learning! They deliver to you the right supplementary material at the right time. The best organization I've seen for online courses.

By Duncan C

Jun 22, 2019

This course was absolutely wonderful and helped me remember how much I absolutely love plants and how they work. The professor was wonderful, very charismatic, and the lessons were an absolute joy to watch and engage in. I would absolutely recommend this course!

By clairewing

Mar 23, 2020

Excellent opportunity to learn while being sequestered in home during COVID crisis. Thanks for this class!

Great it was free as well! Book dovetailed well with videos, which were a good length, succinct. Loved the bloopers and seeing the lab at the end. More!

By John S

Nov 12, 2019

Very good course. Interesting premise...that plants have some senses similar to humans. The professor presents the material in a very captivating manner, and include discussion of a number of experiments and case studies to apply the information learned.

By Lauren Z

Apr 21, 2018

I have thoroughly enjoyed this course. It has introduced me to knowledge that help me to better understand plant life, specifically through the use of reference to multiple experiments. I would recommend this course to anyone and look forward to part II!

By S. A V

Jun 23, 2020

I really enjoyed learning about the sensory world of plants. I have always loved plants but now I have a new respect for them. Thanks Prof. Chamovitz for making the course easy to understand and for encouraging your students to interact via the forum.

By Abigail O

Apr 20, 2020

I started this course in covid-19 quarantine thinking I'd learn things that would help me become a better gardener. Got way more than I was expecting and am super excited to take the follow-up course. Really fun, fascinating, and clearly explained.


May 23, 2020

Iam very happy to do this course. The clarity of the lectures are definitely the plus point of this course. Iam eagerly waiting to do the part 2 of this course. Thank you so much sir for made me more enthusiastic to learn more about the plants.

By Davide A

Jun 11, 2020

I've loved the structure of the course. Discovering plant senses and at the same time interrogating about our senses. Chamovitz is very clear and was very easy to understand every single word he said. I'm going to attend the Part II asap!