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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

1,716 ratings

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


Aug 14, 2021

I really liked this course, the professor was engaging, clear, and informative, and did a great job explaining and simplifying the more complex biology topics so that it was digestible for beginners.


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! :)

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1 - 25 of 496 Reviews for Understanding Plants - Part I: What a Plant Knows

By Jonathan G

Jan 12, 2018

Interesting course. Although some of the questions being tested in some of the modules including module three did not coincide with what was being taught. There were questions on the quizzes that were not covered in any of the lectures.

By Claire R

Mar 21, 2018

Maybe this course deserves 3 stars rather than 4 because it has some problems--but I really enjoyed it and learned a ton.

Problems: 1) The Professor is obviously learning how to teach via this platform as he goes along making the first few lessons much more confusing than they need to be

2) The book has been updated but the course has not

3) Some links to external content are broken--It's easy enough to find other YouTube videos that cover the content but it's a glitch

4) And, the biggest problem for me--as a professor some of his quiz questions fall into the "gotcha" category--meaning they are more about how the question is exactly worded rather than a test that lets you figure out if you're understood the content and remembered it correctly

But if you're interested in learning the material, the course is well worth taking.

By Maura R

Oct 1, 2016

So far, I'm really enjoying this course. I like the look of it, the professor is engaging and as a layperson I find the content very, very interesting. What a wonderful take on plant biology!

By Jake K

Aug 2, 2020

JUST DON'T PAY FOR IT. The content of this course is good, but the testing structure is confusing and bad. The quizzes are full of typos and don't seem to have been proofread at all. The subtitles for the videos are very wrong, especially when it comes to scientific terms. Furthermore, there doesn't seem to be any course moderators active on the forums. It's just past students who have no ability to fix anything. So issues that were reported years ago still haven't been fixed.

Don't pay for a course certificate because the quality is not worth your money. Just read Professor Chamovitz's book. The material is nearly identical.

By Robert W

Jul 4, 2019

Tests are rather specific and difficult. A few misspellings throughout. Information was fascinating.

By Damien J G

Mar 11, 2018

The content was extensive and complex; often a bit too complex and not elaborate. Very brief, unintelligible parts were quizzed. It was often hard to understand my Professor.

By Ashish A

Mar 4, 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.

By Cathy H

Mar 15, 2021

It was very interesting to learn about research on plants and their abilities to detect and respond to a variety of stimuli and to relate that to people and our sensory experiences. Thank you!

By Irena P

Aug 1, 2017

Excellent lectures, terrible exams.

By Edward K G

Feb 4, 2021

Good information, quizzes very poor. The final had an incorrect answer. The quizzes assumed knowledge not taught or addressed in the supplemental readings, questions were often worded in a very confusing way. I would NOT take another course from this instructor. Very bad experience.

By Julie

Sep 3, 2017

I loved everything except the quizzes and final needed more grooming. Not with correct information, but with the set up. Besides the spelling mistakes and the "incorrect answer" text clearly displayed as one of the answers, they definitely needed a second and third look. Another tweak is if there is only one correct answer, don't set it up as if there is more than one. Keep the single answer questions as radio buttons, not squares.

By Jacinta M

Feb 11, 2019

Great course - the professor is enthusiastic, engaging, and teaching complex concepts in a way that makes them easy to understand and remember, even for someone with no biology background.

By Yesyca A L B

Feb 5, 2019

It is a very emosionante course, demanding and at the same time fun. Without being scientific, nor handle technical terms, it is very easy to understand and learn, even for non-English speakers.

But if I would like the exams, which present multiple answers, have the opportunity to know which or which are the correct answers to the question, since when there is still to complete the correct options, do not guess! , without knowing whether or not there is an appropriate answer within the options.

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 Christina R

Oct 22, 2019

I really enjoyed this course and I found most of the information fascinating. I was not at all a fan of the quizzes and final exam. The questions are more about the wording than the information. They're designed to trip you up rather than test your knowledge. And I absolutely loathe "check all that apply" questions. Other than that, the course was really great, and I'm thinking of going on to the next.

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 Lorenzo B

Dec 3, 2020

This is my 4th course on coursera and definitely my favorite. Overall the course is very well made and it goes through concepts quite in depth. I have some ecology and land management background and I took this course together with other beginner courses to test my basics in order to advance more. Many of the other courses I could listen in the background and went through much information that I already knew. This one, on the other hand, I had to pay full attention, and failed the quizzes multiple times. The name of the course makes it sound like an introductory course for "tree hugging nature-lovers", but is instead an in-depth introductory course to plant biology. The professor, though, takes all the time to explain all the information and concepts and no previous experience is required. Quiz questions throughout the video make sure you understand and are ready to move on. Most probably will take the follow-up course.

By Renuka D

Aug 11, 2017

The Course was interesting enough for me to go for the Part II of the course as well. The final quiz still mesmerizes me, I could not get a few answers even after reviewing the entire syllabus, checking on the net etc. Probably after completion atleast if you couls share all the answers...Thanks

By Ruth V

Dec 13, 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! :)

By Muhammad I I A

Feb 25, 2023

Most amazing and marvelous concepts regarding Plant Biology are given in this course. I'm truly grateful that I had the Honor of learning from Daniel's great insight.

By Saúl d l P L

Feb 1, 2019

Very good

By Stéphane S

May 10, 2019

This is an excellent, exciting, and well taught course, which introduces quite interesting findings about plants. The addition of more learning materials, especially lecture notes, would make it truly great! Thank you, prof. Chamovitz.

By Md. T H

May 9, 2020

The course was great. I wish it had seen more real pictures.

By Taha R

Nov 19, 2017


By Lionel M

Apr 17, 2017

Despite getting a little bit lost in some technical details, I thought the course was still worthwhile and interesting, and i learned stacks of stuff that I should have know all my life. Well presented and entertaining, and just about the right demand on my time.

Some of the tests were a bit hard going because I felt that multiple answers made it more difficult to learn from wrong answers. I would have preferred more questions with a higher % requirement.

This is the second course I have done by these folk (I did part II first). They are good courses. Hope they decide to do one on pollination some time. Thanks.