Humanizing Online STEM Showcase

Dr. Kimberly Perris, Director of Nursing | Assistant Professor 

Cal Poly Humbolt RN-BSN program

This site provides examples of instructional resources created in the Humanizing Online STEM Academy, a professional development program funded by the California Education Learning Lab and administered by the Foothill DeAnza Community College District. 


Where I was.

In 2019 I became the founding director for the RN-BSN program at Cal Poly Humboldt, new to teaching, and new academia, with a vision for the future of nursing. The program was intentionally designed for working nurses, in a hybrid format, with most instruction delivered in modules asynchronously, with two synchronous weekend intensives each semester. In 2020, we welcomed our first cohort and, due to COVID-19, were required to be all online. Courses were in line with the vision to accommodate working nurses' schedules; however, the weekend intensives were synchronous via ZOOM. Through a "Pivot to Online Learning" course at our university, as we developed our first courses for the program, I was introduced to the concept of humanizing online learning. Initially, I labored over videos, repeatedly recording,  until satisfied. 

Where I am.

Now, two and a half years into program development, I can see room for improvement in my teaching style and the tools I use in my online courses. Students have consistently requested more online presentations; they are used to this  teaching style in their Associate of Nursing Degree program. I struggle with the value of lengthy power-point presentations as a meaningful learning tool but have not had the bandwidth to explore other methods of delivering key concepts beyond articles, textbooks, and YouTube videos in the asynchronous portion of our curriculum. Currently, I use welcome videos, weekly video announcements, recorded video assignment overviews, and comments in Canvas when grading to humanize our courses. I don't labor over perfection in my course videos like I used to.

Where I am going

I am excited and empowered by what I have learned in this course. I will use Adobe Spark to create course videos and I think students will appreciate this technology to deliver key concepts. I will also use Flip for a Wisdom Wall so our students can provide feedback to incoming students in courses and the program. I plan to use recorded voice technology more often when communicating feedback on assignments and work to provide more timely feedback.

Liquid Syllabus

The first introduction to Kimberly Perris will be through my liquid syllabus, a friendly overview of the course.  There are several elements including a list of expectations for both the student and myself, my teaching philosophy, a week #1 to do list, and several resources where to get help. This should help the student orient themselves even before the course begins. 

Course Card

Once a student logs on to Canvas, the first thing they see is the Course Card.  I chose this image to empower nurses to see themselves as providers of care.

Home Page

Once the student clicks on the course card, they come across my Humanized Homepage.  This page is meant to be inviting, but not overly informative.  I want the students to know that I'm happy to have them in my course and hopefully excite them about the course.

Getting to Know You Survey

The "Getting to Know You" survey is assigned in the first week of the course.  There are several questions that will help me to better know who each student is, along with a variety of preferences.  Among things I'd like to know, as working nurses, "where are they working, and what is their role". 

Wisdom Wall

A Wisdom Wall is a collection of "learning stories" recorded by students in prior classes and/or cohorts of mine.  At the beginning of the course, the students listen to past students' advice, and at the end of the semester, they post their own advice. As a new program, our students know that they are co-creating this program with us. We invite their feedback throughout the program and encourage a mentoring model el. This activity allows students to share their initial hopes, fears, and words of inspiration and encouragement for incoming students. 

Bumper Video

I want my nursing students to leave this program feeling empowered and armed with knowledge and tools to fill gaps in care. This assignment is designed for them to think beyond their current role and to evaluate a patient through the lens of a provider (physician, nurse practitioner, physician's assistant, etc.)


A microlecture, according the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative, is "a short recorded audio or video presentation on a single, tightly defined topic."  My lecture is designed for nurses to have a tool to improve gaps in care, to improve access, and to empower nurses to see themselves as a solution to complex healthcare systems.