Humanizing Online STEM Showcase

April Browne, Computer Science Instructor, Butte College

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.

I am neurodivergent.  I have been searching for a way to communicate better with my students while being true to myself and my neurodivergence.  

Where I am.

I'm not sure I'm anywhere further.  I am still searching for ways to be true to myself and communicate more effectively.  Ways to work on the double empathy problem.  I have been introduced to more technical tools.  I saw an emphasis on video so will be increasing that as I can.

Where I am going.

Searching continues.  Looking for clear explicit instruction on how to do the actual communication part.  

Liquid Syllabus

I want to continue to make this site useful for myself and students.  Giving them access to basic information before the semester is important.  Just have to figure out what is the appropriate link.  I really wish I could do my own HTML editing to make it fit and work better the way I image.

Course Card

I'm not sure that this is welcoming but it is fun for me.  My favorite color is purple so I infuse it into much of the course.  There is a connection between the liquid syllabus and the course card with the image.  And a little bit of a nod to video games with the font chosen.


This was a lot of fun to do.  This is likely my favorite thing I have made.  Unfortunately, I don't see that I will be using it for long in the class.  Making modules their homepage after the first week or two seems to work best for what I need in the course.

I am starting a path towards gamification of this course with making my homepage about the Hero's Journey.  Then they work through the course completing quests.  But this helps to introduce my role more as a mentor than a teacher (sage on the stage).  Hopefully helping students understand the non traditional format of my course better.

How does this serve as a kindess cue of social inclusion?  The Hero's Journey can be found in books, movies, and video games.  Everyone can relate to at least one of those and hopefully showing how programming can also relate to everyone.

Getting to Know you Survey

I'm not sure how this is a kindness cue.  But my goal is to get information about students that I can use to build groups in the course.  The best feedback I have gotten is that students have really enjoyed when I grouped them with "like" people.  Sometimes that is people in the same major and they have other classes together (for example a group of IT majors).  The last semester I had students with the same name and they were able to relate culturally and that made them feel safer to reach out to each other.  NCWIT tells us that putting a token woman in each group can make them less comfortable and now I attempt to put multiple women together (at least 2 if possible).  Thus trying to build a "safe" space for them to reach out and support each other if I am not safe enough for them.

Ice Breaker

As a neurodivergent person I hate ice breakers.  They are either so broad it isn't really clear where to start or I am unsure exactly what is appropriate to share.  I'm so used to oversharing or undersharing.  So I have copied the generic one provided.  In this one you pick values and explain how it supports your life.  I guess this would make some people feel connected by values they find important.  This is an introduction activity where I personally would choose a random value and make up a story.

I will look for introduction discussion boards that I think could be helpful.  I'm thinking about possibly having a person discuss an example of a hero's journey.  

Bumper Video

This bumper video will be used to introduce the Unit 1 the first unit that students have content work.  This video is a quick video on how the units, modules and lessons are set up.  Because I have them set up a little differently than most teachers.  I'm hoping they can use the insights in this video to prioritize their work and time and successfully complete what they need to complete.


This microlecture is a video lecture on the course Academic Integrity Policy. The learning goal is to identify appropriate and inappropriate use of outside resources. My goal is to embed this within the syllabus (have an option for a written syllabus or a video one).  As well as embed it into my help book.  My hope is that my students will use outside resources appropriately which is a concern in my course.  I want to encourage appropriate use of peers, technology, and other resources.  

This site is by April Browne and is shared with a Creative Commons-Attribution-Non-Commercial 4.0 license. Creation of this content was made possible with funding from the California Education Learning Lab.