Humanizing Online STEM
Instructor-student relationships are the connective tissue
between students, engagement, and learning… face-to-face and online.
Online courses don’t only provide a stable backbone for instruction in times of crisis…
…they also increase access to students who have been left out of the traditional higher education paradigm. By removing the barrier of travel and time, asynchronous online courses serve students who do not have the privilege to be on campus or predict their schedule week to week.
As such, community colleges and access-oriented institutions led the United States in online course enrollments long before COVID. But we’ve learned that expanding access alone does not achieve equity. Just like face-to-face courses, online courses must be intentionally designed and taught to support all students in achieving their college goals.
Increasing Belonging Online
is a pathway to equity.
Humanizing is a model of online teaching that leverages the opportunities of online education by cultivating welcoming, supportive classes that foster belonging for all students, particularly those from minoritized communities. Faculty blend culturally responsive teaching and psychologically inclusive course design to create affirming and challenging classes that embrace diversity as an asset. Humanizing centers instructor-student relationships as the foundation of community.
Institutions that invest in professional development to support humanized online teaching and learning will be not only game-changers but life-changers. Equity-minded educators make relationships a priority but also understand that those relationships provide the foundation to challenge students to achieve their full potential (Rendón, 1994; Wood, 2019; Hammond, 2014).
Become a Humanizer
"Think of arriving with an empty tool belt... you'll leave with it full AND the knowledge that goes along with utilizing those tools for our students' benefit! I'm excited to apply all I learned and become a more 'present' instructor/facilitator/supporter in my classes."
"Don’t keep this course a secret! All faculty need a chance to take it! Organized, research-based training like this is pure gold."
"The Humanizing Online STEM Academy has completely changed for the better how I teach my online courses. The material was relevant, well supported with examples and evidence of effectiveness, and extremely well structured and enjoyable to learn."
"I received more instructor support, warm feedback and encouragement than I remember ever having in any previous class I have had online. Best professional development ... in eleven years of higher ed teaching!"
"This Humanizing STEM Academy has been a life-changing experience - opening up my eyes in ways that I would have never imagined coming in. I am very grateful for this opportunity."
"One of my most valuable takeaways ... is the notion of a compassionate demander. The two concepts are not mutually exclusive - in fact, I think they go well together. By accepting late work and allowing second chances and corrections I put the emphasis on the quality of my students’ work."
"The Humanizing Online STEM Academy allowed me to move past frantically learning new tools to examine my cultural context and teaching philosophy. At the same time, I did learn new and useful online teaching and accessibility tools. And very importantly, the facilitators are excellent role models."
In Search of Belonging Online: A New Article
A new article explores the design and implementation of the Humanizing Online STEM Academy, an equity-focused and transformative professional development program linked with belonging in online classes.