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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

1,329 ratings
393 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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351 - 375 of 389 Reviews for Understanding Plants - Part I: What a Plant Knows

By Sylvie B

Mar 3, 2020

A passionate lecturer which integrates superbly research of more than a century ago into dynamic, well-structured lectures with very good visuals and animations. Learned plenty! Be warned though: either there is a problem with Coursera managing the quiz section or with the course itself, as the final quiz is rigged with system errors. The questions of the final quiz are a trap: be aware of the differences between check boxes (i.e. multiple answers) vs radio-dial buttons (a single answer). Be also aware that it's all or nothing when making an error on a multiple-answer question. A really downer to end what was so far a very good and very enjoyable course!

By Marcelo d S Z

Aug 15, 2018

The course is brilliant, really insightful and enjoyable. Daniel Chamovitz is a very good teacher. Only issue that can be solved very easily is to adjust the rubrics of the final quiz to be clear if the questions allow one or more correct answers, as this doesn't follow a pattern and confuses while taking the test. I almost gave up to try it again after filed the first time (and ultimately purchase the certificate) because I was sure I opted for right answered many times but got a negative feedback until I realised what was going on.

By Janet L R

Nov 27, 2020

I enjoyed the class. The teacher was great. The readings took many hours due to being a beginning Botany student. I had to study the syllabus a lot for basics. The quizes could be more straight forward if each question had only one answer. I especially liked watching the time laps plants growing. The text was good and the lectures were often entertaining. He had some good questions.

Thanks for the free class. now I need to take a class in horticulture so I can improve my skills in the garden.

By Nancy L

Mar 5, 2019

Lots of great information - Thank you! It would have been helpful if some key concepts had been repeated/emphasized more throughout the course. Maybe include a unit summary or study guide before taking each quiz. And definitely include a course review before the final quiz! Thanks for a great course. I'm going on to take Part 2.

By Lois B

Nov 25, 2019

Fascinating information, very interesting lectures. But the tests weren't designed very well - more likely to trip people up than provide a real review of the information. It would have been helpful if we were informed of how many of the possible answers were correct for each question.

By Natthpan

May 9, 2020

This is a very good opportunity to learn plant. I once hated this lesson in school. Because the way my teacher taught was so boring, but this course is completely different, it is so interesting. The important thing is that it save a lot of time the lesson was short but got the point.

By Amanda S

Jun 27, 2017

Very interesting course, although some of the concepts were beyond me and I couldn't get to grips with them! Very pleased to have passed though, so perseverance paid off. Never take plants for granted, they're amazing!

By Aadra G

Jun 26, 2020

I highly commend the explanation of multiple core principles in cell biology, experiment design, and history while covering the topic. The pace suited me well.

By Bat-el P

Jan 19, 2017

Professor Daniel Chamovitz was wonderful and very interesting. But it was difficult for me as I have very little preliminary information on plants and biology

By Jet

Feb 15, 2018

Very educational! Some conclusions of some experiments I could recollect as detailed as was necessary for the final test. Learned a lot!! Thanks!

By Emil

Jun 16, 2020

The course is not bad, but I have to say, that one has to have previous knowledge in the field of biology, before taking the course.

By Saleem A

Feb 10, 2017

nicely covers the content for even a new learner its a good source of knowledge. i am impressed by the course content and teacher


Jun 18, 2017

It is a very interesting seminar, Teacher has very good communication skills. But the final exam was very difficult!

By Mohamed D T

Jul 13, 2020

It is a good course and very developed. It woud be good to have more Laboratory expirements in the course.

By Sonal D

Apr 12, 2020

This is a very interesting course. Very simply and nicely explained. Only Final quiz has some loopholes.

By Saikat D

Jul 26, 2020

I liked the lectures very much. However, I think the quiz design needs more attention.

By Shirdheen R

Aug 10, 2017

It was a very interesting course and has made me look at plants with a different lens.

By Priscilla v D

Oct 6, 2018

I really liked this course. Definatly a success. But how do i get my cerftificate.

By Elana H

May 3, 2017

Very compelling and easy to follow (this coming from a Liberal Arts major).

By Sandra P M M

Jan 13, 2018

The videos are quite interesting, but the final test is a bit confusing.

By Ananya K

Jun 14, 2017

A very good course.. Really enjoyed it. Teaching was the best. Loved it

By Amusan M K

Dec 31, 2017

Very interesting introduction into the world of plants. Amazing!!!


Nov 21, 2016

Les questionnaires sont un peu piégeux. Le cours est pas mal.

By Francine

Mar 24, 2017

Very interesting subject matter, presented very well

By Mark

Nov 1, 2016

Very informative--IMPOSSIBLY HARD FINAL EXAM though.