Humanizing Online STEM Showcase

Dr. Jacky Baughman, Assistant Professor of Geology, Cal Poly Humboldt 

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.

Like many faculty members, I taught my first online class, or rather I haphazardly transitioned all my in-person courses to online during the Covid-19 pandemic, in March 2020. I learned a lot, quickly. I learned consistency and organization are critical, I learned students crave connection, and I learned there are lots of amazing technologies out there and I knew how to use very few of them. 

Where I am.

The Humanizing STEM curriculum has given me confidence to be my authentic self, to be more efficient in my development and implementation of online tools, and has reminded me forging connections within and between my students is the most inclusive teaching practice I can take on! I appreciate the opportunity to practice one-take videos, intentional feedback with actionable items for students, short and clear assignment instructions (maybe with videos!), and creating accessible content.

Where I am going.

I am excited to implement Humanizing elements (see below!) into my online and in-person classes. I look forward to student feedback and continuing to make my courses more humanized, accessible, and inclusive!

Liquid Syllabus

The liquid syllabus serves as a first introduction of me and the course to my students. 3-7 days before the start of the semester I will share a link to the liquid syllabus via email. The liquid syllabus is designed to provide important information, help students get started and feel prepared going into the semester, and let them know that I'm a real person, who cares about them and their learning.  

The web-based syllabus includes a welcome video, which shares both a little bit about me, about our course, and invites them to be present in their learning. The liquid syllabus clarifies what they will need to be successful during the first week of the semester and the expecations that I have of them and that they can have as me as we develop a vibrant online learning community together. 

5 cartoon people holding a globe, windmill, sun, plant, and water to represent earth, resources, and human-earth interactions

Course Card

A course card is the image and info students first see when accessing a course website on Canvas. This course card shows diverse people with the globe, plants, water, a windmill, and the sun. Geologists tackle some of the most pressing topics facing society including mineral and energy resources and climate change. Diverse scientists and perspectives are needed to ensure a healthy and sustainable future.


Students will visit the  homepage or landing page on Canvas over and over again and I want it to be a space that:

The homepage includes quick links to key class info including weekly modules, student help hours sign up, our class schedule, and  the course synchronize Zoom link. And a welcome video and an invitation to ask questions and visit for student help hours!

Getting to Know You Survey

The getting to know you survey serves 3 important purposes. 

Students complete the survey in the first week of the course, which includes questions such as "What is the one thing that is most likely to interfere with your success in this class?" and "What is something a past teacher or professor has done that has helped you succeed in class?" I then can use those questions to help students mitigate road blocks to their learning and add elements that have helped them in the past.

Wisdom Wall

The Wisdom Wall will be introduced in the first and last week of the semester. During the first week of the semester, students will have the opportunity to hear advise from their peers who have already successfully completed the course. They will then have the opportunity to reflect on that and consider which strategies they will implement for their own learning. At the end of the semester, students will then get to share their own successes to help the next generation of geology students!

This allows students to think about where they are, where they are going, and where they've been. Plus allows them to connect with their peers!

Bumper Video

Bumper videos are a great way help set up assignments and tough class concepts or revisit them! 

This Bumper video assists students as they work to create a graph with two y-axes using real ice core  from Antarctica where they plot temperature and CO2 data versus time.

What I love about this is students can directly follow along. Pause the video, do the work, and keep on pushing. I suspect this tutorial will save me and the students lots of time in the future!


In GEOL 303: Earth Resources and Global Environmental Change, Students watch videos, read articles, and/or listen to content in preparation for each synchronous online class session. This particular microlecture serves two primary purposes.

The microlecture is a great tool to break down content into small, manageable, and digestible pieces. A particularly effective approach for online learning.

This site is by Jacky Baughman 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.