A free plant diversity course by Bruce Kirchoff is now available to all educators.

Here is a summary of his open-access teaching resources available online for download and use by faculty worldwide:

Contact: Dr. Bruce Kirchoff (e-mail: kirchoff@uncg.edu)

Free Lesson Materials on OSF website

The extensive (2.4 Gb) resources available on my OSF website are intended to help faculty develop a course on plant diversity (including fungi and algae). The resources can be used in whole or in part to jump start a course. They include both lecture and laboratory materials, as well as homework, quizzes, and exams. These materials were developed over the course of more than 15 years and have been extensively tested in the classroom.

Available for download on the OSF website are these files and folders:

  • Exam questions (zip archive)
  • Homework – Phaeophyta Assignment (zip archive)
  • Image Quiz use and assignments (zip archive)
  • Images (zip archive)
  • Lab manual and lab assignments (zip archive)
  • Lab Prep Manual (zip archive)
  • Lecture Notes (zip archive)
  • PowerPoint lecture files, original and annotated (zip archive)
  • Questions for student response system (zip archive)
  • Quizzes (zip archive)
  • Readme – Plant Diversity (Word file)
  • Speaking Assignments (zip archive)
  • Syllabus-Plant Diversity (Word file)

The philosophy underlying these materials is that it is the instructor’s job to get the students to do the work. The more that the students do on their own work, the better they will learn. This philosophy is reflected in the way the laboratories are designed, and especially in the homework, which forms an important part of the course.

These materials have been used with several different course formats pre- and post-Covid. The Readme file on OSF contains detailed information on the contents of the archive. Links to resources outside of the archive are given below.

All of the files in the archive are licensed CC-By Attribution 4.0 International  except the photographs and drawings in the Images folder. These images are licensed CC0 “No Rights Reserved”. I have declared them to be in the public domain.


Effective homework is an essential part of any course. The vast majority of homework in this course was assigned using open-source software I developed to teach plant life cycles and plant morphology terminology. The software is free and can be downloaded from the web. The following YouTube video explains the philosophy behind the software and provides a brief example of how it can be used: LINK. The software is distributed under the Apache 2.0 license, a permissive license that allows you to use and modify the software as you see fit.

Lectures on YouTube

License: The lectures on YouTube are licensed CC-BY 3.0. This means that you can use the videos in any way you choose, including downloading them and uploading them to another service, so long as you acknowledge me, Dr. Bruce Kirchoff, as the author. The license is embedded in the metadata of the videos. See list of videos below.

The Best Way to Study – The White Paper Method

This five-minute video explains the most effective way to study. I have had students go from failing at midterm to passing with a B by using this method.

Plant Diversity Lectures for a Semester-long Course on Youtube

Playlist of all lectures

Individual lectures:

  • 01 Introduction to Plant Diversity LINK
  • 02 Introduction to Algae, Chlorophyta LINK
  • 03 Chlorophyceae LINK
  • 04 Ulvophyceae LINK
  • 05 Charophyceae LINK 
  • 06 Rhodophyta LINK 
  • 07 Euglenophyta LINK
  • 08 Phaeophyta LINK– supplement to the homework assignment LINK
  • 09 Introduction to the Fungi LINK
  • 10 Zygomycota LINK
  • 11 Ascomycota LINK
  • 12 Basidiomycota (no Teliomycetes) LINK
  • 13 Teliomycetes of Basidiomycota LINK
  • 14 Lichens LINK
  • 15 Myxomycota LINK
  • 16 Acrasiomycota LINK
  • 17 Bryophyta LINK
  • 18 Introduction to Vascular Plants LINK
  • 19 Lycophyta LINK
  • 20 Psilotophyta LINK
  • 21 Arthophyta LINK
  • 22 Pteridophyta LINK
  • 23 Introduction to Gymnosperms LINK
  • 24 Cycadophyta LINK
  • 25 Ginkgophyta LINK
  • 26 Coniferophyta LINK
  • 27 Gnetophyta LINK
  • 28.1 Angiosperms PART 1 LINK
  • 28.2 Angiosperms PART 2 LINK