Humanizing Online STEM Showcase

Mehdi Safaee, Instructor, Southwestern 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.

Before this class I had some experience with with teaching online because of the pandemic. However, I did not really know much about humanizing classes online. Without the in person element it feels difficult to make connections with students, but through this course I learned many techniques to make the classes more personal.

Where I Am.

I have made great progress with my equity journey. The module on "Moving from equality to equity" really changed my perspective on things. I didn't really think too much about the difference between these terms, but now I understand the importance of making the class fair for all students and acknowledging areas in which students may need extra help. This is especially important in math which is a subject lots of students feel unconfident in. I also liked the section on providing "Warm, wise feedback." It's important to give students specific instructions on where to improve, but also making sure students feel supported and know I believe in their capabilities.  

Where I Will Be.

In the next 6-12 months, I see myself becoming a more thoughtful instructor. I want to create more connections with my students, and I can do so by using a more empathetic approach. I will use the "Principles of humanizing" to guide me, and by doing so my students will hopefully feel more comfortable with me. I want to be able to bring the same level of warmth and friendliness that I provide my students in person to an online enviorment as well.

screenshot of liquid syllabus.

Liquid Syllabus

The liquid syllabus is a great way to introduce students to my class. The video and bio both are an opportunity for the students to get to know me. The video especially is a great way to show them my personality. The teaching philosophy and pact are also great at building trust, since they show students my commitment to them and fostering their learning experience. 

course card screenshot. course card is a photo of female mathematicians throughout history.

Course Card

I picked this picture for my course card for two reasons. The first is that the contributions of women in mathematics are not really taught, so I think it's a good way to highlight them. The second reason I chose this picture is because I wanted something that included people. I thought that would be more personable than a photo of math symbols or a chalkboard. 


My homepage will hopefully make students feel more comfortable because it provides them with some information about me. If they know a little about me before the class, I think that will lay the foundation for a better relationship once it begins. By including my contact information I hope that conveys to students that they can always message me if they have questions. 

Getting to Know You Survey

One question from my survey that will help me adapt my teaching is "What tools will help you study in this class?" Depending on their answers, I can provide study guides, practice quizzes, or any other resource to help them prepare. The second question that is helpful for me is asking them about their experience with math classes. A lot of students have bad experiences in math, so if I know that going in I can work on making the learning environment more comfortable for them. 

Ice Breaker

My ice breaker is designed to make students feel more comfortable in class. I ask them about their major, values they find important, and lastly for them to share an object that represents their core values. This assignment allows students to open up to the class, and also get to know each other through Flip. I think it's a great way for students to feel more connected to each other in an online class.

Bumper Video

This bumper video will be used to introduce the topic of classical v. subjective probability to my students. After watching it, they will answer a discussion post defining the terms in their own words and coming up with an example for each one. This video will help by students by clearly explaining the terms and giving them examples to inspire their own. 


The purpose of this microlecture is to introduce my students to the concept of bionmial probability. It will help my students greatly because in the video I provide them with three different methods of solving these types of problems. By giving them options, it will make it easier for them because if one method is challenging they can try a new one.