Humanizing Online STEM Showcase

 Alex Kolesnik, Math Professor, Ventura 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 had very little understanding of how I might be perceived by my students, particularly students from different backgrounds and perspectives.  I did not really think about the concept of appearing to be more "human" in the eyes of my students, or what that even meant really.  I did not consider how students might feel about the course or me as their instructor.  

Where I am.

I feel the course (and particularly the readings and videos) have helped me understand what my students may be experiencing.  I have a better idea of concrete steps I can take to "humanize" my math courses.  With many of the tasks I have completed I feel I have already taken those steps.  It will be easy for me to replicate those steps for future courses that I teach.  I have learned how to use many great tools, such as Adobe Express, Google Sites, and YouTube.  I have also learned how to create and caption videos.  

Where I am going.

My plan is to use what I have learned in my future classes.  This includes not just the physical tools, but even just the mentality of "appearing human" in the eyes of my students.  I also hope to impart some of the knowledge and skills I have acquired with other faculty in my discipline.

Liquid syllabus

Liquid Syllabus

I will send a copy of a course liquid syllabus to my students well before the semester starts.  This will introduce the students to me and give them a great head start to the course.  This should get them going towards a successful semester and hopefully greatly increase student comfort level with both me as their teacher and with the course itself.  

Course card

Course Card

I chose a card that has a nice pattern that seems warm and somewhat "mathy."  The fonts seem fairly "human" and yet also easy to read.  I hope the image is welcoming to students, so that they do not have an initial negative feeling about the course, and me in particular.  


The course website has a fairly simple layout which is not overloaded with information.  The students would have already seen a liquid syllabus which will have given them much of the information they will need.  

The website has the "human" course card, a "human" picture of me (which can also be replaced with the welcome video from the liquid syllabus), a button to get started, information about how to contact me, and links to basic resources.

Getting to Know You Survey

This "getting to know you" survey will be given to students during the first week of classes.  There are some introductory questions, including what to call them (and how to pronounce it accurately), how best to reach them, and their feelings about the course and math in general.  I think this will give them a chance to provide some useful information to me and make them feel important to me.

Wisdom Wall

This video shows the "wisdom wall" activity from the course.  This is where students reflect upon the course and come up with some ideas of things that might be useful for students in future semesters of the course.  Then they record and post those ideas.

Bumper Video

This video should give students a bit of an introduction to me and to the course.  I hope this will add to their comfort level, and reduce any stress they might have.


My course objective for this video is:  Students should be able to conduct and interpret the results from a 2-sample hypothesis test using simulation-based methods. 

The video gives students a practical example that introduces them to both the conceptual and practical side of 2-sample hypothesis testing.