September 3 – December 11, 2019


Dr. Susan Han, Associate Professor, University of Massachusetts

Course description

This course is a one-semester introductory study of plants that is intended for plant science majors. It is a prerequisite for most of the intermediate and upper-level classes in plant sciences. Topics that will be discussed include classification, cell structure, levels of organization from cells to tissues to organs, reproduction, and structure and function of plant systems. In addition, students will develop a basic understanding of the processes of photosynthesis and cellular respiration. On completion of the course, students will have learned the unique features of plants, how plants function, how they are categorized, and how they fit into the ecosystem.

Prerequisites and Textbooks



There is no set exam date for the 15 quizzes for this course. After you have finished studying for one topic and have submitted the active learning assignment, an exam will be released. Only when you pass the exam that you will be allowed to continue onto the next topic. If you do not pass an exam, you will be asked to study again before re-taking the exam. There is no limit on the number of times each student has for completion of each topic. However, you should aim at passing each exam with no more than two attempts. Each attempt will further delay the time for you to complete the course, so it is critical that you have a good grasp of the topic. Depending on the length and difficulty of the subject, each topic is assigned a point value. The total value of all exams is 800 points.

Experiential assignments

Several low-stakes experiential assignments will be released throughout the semester. These assignments are meant for you to apply the information you learn from the course to plants in your surrounding environment. These experiential assignments will also help you in your preparation for the exams. Grades are determined by the quality and accuracy of the active learning exercises. These assignments are worth 20% of the total grade for the course.


A 1000-point system is used to calculate your final grade for the course. 80% of those grades are from exams taken after completion of each topic. The remaining 20% grades are from the experiential assignments.


  1. Plant classification
  2. Plant Cells
  3. Cell Cycle
  4. Kinds of cells and tissues
  5. Roots
  6. Stems
  7. Leaves
  8. Flowers
  9. Reproductive structures and Meiosis
  10. Sexual Reproduction
  11. Fruits
  12. Seeds and Seedlings
  13. Absorption and conduction of water and minerals
  14. Photosynthesis and conduction of food
  15. Respiration

Academic Honesty

No form of cheating, plagiarism, fabrication, or facilitating of dishonesty will be condoned in the University community. Academic dishonesty includes but is not limited to:

  • Cheating – intentional use or attempted use of trickery, artifice, deception, breach of confidence, fraud and/or misrepresentation of one’s academic work
  • Fabrication – intentional and unauthorized falsification and/or invention of any information or citation in any academic exercise
  • Plagiarism – knowingly representing the words or ideas of another as one’s own work in any academic exercise. This includes submitting without citation, in whole or in part, prewritten term papers of another or the research of another, including but not limited to commercial vendors who sell or distribute such materials
  • Facilitating dishonesty – knowingly helping or attempting to help another commit an act of academic dishonesty, including substituting for another in an examination, or allowing others to represent as their own one’s papers, reports, or academic works

Sanctions may be imposed on any student who has committed an act of academic dishonesty. Any person who has reason to believe that a student has committed academic dishonesty should bring such information to the attention of the course instructor as soon as possible. Formal definitions of academic dishonesty, examples of various forms of dishonesty, and the procedures which faculty must follow to penalize dishonesty are contained in the Academic Honesty Policy.


This class fulfills requirements for all three of the online programs offered by the University of Massachusetts Stockbridge School of Agriculture in Sustainable Food and Farming: