Changing Faculty Mindsets and Fostering Belonging Online
The Humanizing Online STEM Academy is a research-based online professional development program developed with a grant from the California Education Learning Lab, shared with an open license and available for institutions using Canvas to adopt. The Academy was piloted and scaled to 82 participants from eight institutions in California. Preliminary results from a qualitative research study show that the Academy is linked with:
- Student belonging, with higher measures reported among Black, Hispanic, Native American, and Pacific Islander students,
- Increased faculty self-efficacy with teaching online,
- Improved faculty perceptions of the role instructors play in improving student achievement and on closing equity gaps,
- Heightened awareness of students’ individual experiences,
- Increased flexibility and approachability,
- Increased instructor-student and student-student interaction
Relationship-rich, Online Professional Development
Working in an asynchronous online environment with a supportive community of peers and “warm demander” (Kleinfeld, 1974) facilitators, participants complete six 1-week modules. Their professional learning is guided with high-touch facilitator interactions (group announcements and reminders, as well as individual check-ins, nudges, and feedback). In the modules, they learn about social psychological factors (stereotype threat, belongingness uncertainty, imposterism) that interfere with a person’s ability to perform to their full potential, and how validation, trust, and care mitigate these threats and cultivate an anti-racist learning environment. Throughout the Academy, participants use humanizing tools (Adobe Creative Cloud Express, Screencast-O-Matic, Flipgrid, Google Sites, and Canva) to develop eight humanized online teaching elements in one of their existing online courses. The final project is a humanized showcase that includes reflections and videos of the eight elements.
Inside the Academy
- is six weeks long
- requires about 10 hours of time per week
- is fully asynchronous (no required Zoom sessions)
- is delivered in Canvas
- is not self-paced. One module is released each week containing content and assignments with due dates. Participants engage in asynchronous discussions.
The Academy is organized into six, one-week modules comprised of the following topics.
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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!"
"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."
Adopt the Academy
The Humanizing Online STEM Academy is available for institutions to download from the Canvas Commons. From the Commons, search for #HumanizingSTEM. Learn more about adopting the Academy.