Steering Online Success in STEM

Strategies, tactics, tools, and workarounds for teaching of online courses

Resources Developed:

  1. SOS-STEM Videos YouTube Playlist
  2. SOS-STEM Videos Indexed by topic and linked (PDF)

The Covid-driven switch to online/remote instruction during the spring 2020 semester presented significant challenges to instructors of STEM courses at USF. Many, if not most, had no prior experience in online instruction and had to scramble during spring break to learn enough to convert their courses to an online format. Many applied creative teaching strategies, adapted existing tools, and developed creative workarounds to meet this challenge.

The STEER group at USF/HCC thought it would be helpful to solicit STEM faculty to produce short videos describing their approaches to online instruction and thirty-five science and engineering faculty answered the call.  Their videos cover a wide range of topics including the use of virtual laboratories, short “how-to’s” for various apps and technology, online assessment, engaging students, and many more. We encourage you to explore them for content of interest to you and we hope that you find them useful in further developing your online teaching skills.

Summaries of their videos and links to view them on YouTube are provided below.

  1. SOS-STEM Videos YouTube Playlist
  2. SOS-STEM Videos Indexed by topic and linked (PDF)

Summer 2020 Project Details

Dear Colleagues:

The STEER grant offers you a new opportunity to help your faculty colleagues and learn new tips for remote learning/moving classes online. 

Steering Online Success in STEM (SOS-STEM)

Why: To share among all STEM departments the best practices and lessons learned when moving to Remote Learning and Online Classes

What: $1,000 stipends for up to four faculty members from each STEM department (the Departmental Group, DG). Each participant records a brief video that explains the strategies, tools, and workarounds they employed, view videos from seven colleagues in other STEM departments (their Interdisciplinary Group, IG), meet with those colleagues in a TEAMS meeting to discuss the videos and the workarounds viewed. Next, they regroup with their other departmental colleagues to prepare a report and deliver that report to their department.

How: Videos should be a narrated “screencast” type video (for example of 5-10 minutes. Each video should show 2-3 strategies, tactics, tools, and workarounds employed as the course moved remote/online. The videos do not need to feel professional; a quick-and-dirty tour of your online examples is all that is needed. We encourage discipline-specific examples, such as taking high resolution pics of rocks so the geosciences students can use a virtual petrographic microscope. Or explain your tips for engaging students online, or best practices for online testing. Technical help is available from ATLE (


  1. Apply using the 2-minute survey link by June 8. (Name |Email |Instructional Role |Dept |What are the top 2-3 things you would show your faculty colleagues in your switch to remote/online teaching?).
  2. STEER will email acceptance notices by June 15.
  3. Upload videos to a special Canvas course by July 3.
  4. Watch the seven videos produced by members of assigned Interdisciplinary Group before July 10, taking notes to start a “top tips” page for their department.
  5. IGs meet by video to debrief the videos during the week of July 13-17 and write up additional “top tips” learned from meeting.
  6. Departmental groups meet next to unify their presentation, then
  7. DGs deliver that presentation to their departments in late July or early August.


  1. Transmit “top tips” by email to department (with cc to STEER), and present as part of the department’s July/August meeting.
  2. Submit a half page report to STEER to debrief the department meeting/dissemination, and any planned next steps within the department toward adoption of the tips.

Expected Time Commitment: 8-10 hours

Eligibility extends to permanent faculty from:

College of Arts and Sciences:
Cell Biology, Microbiology and Molecular Biology
Integrative Biology
School of Geosciences
Mathematics & Statistics

College of Engineering:
Chemical, Biological & Materials Engineering
Civil and Environmental Engineering
Computer Science and Engineering
Electrical Engineering
Industrial and Management Systems Engineering
Mechanical Engineering
Medical Engineering

Hillsborough Community College
Mathematics & Sciences Division

Systemic Transformation of Education Through Evidence-Based Reforms (STEER)

This material is based on work supported in part by the National Science Foundation under Grant #DUE 1525574. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.