Academic Technologies is wrapping up a semester-long project with professor Angela Gonzales, recently named Engaged Learning and Research Faculty Fellow. Gonzales used WebEx to assist her in developing a service-learning component for her development sociology senior capstone course. Through the course, Cornell students had the opportunity to make connections between theory and practice by working on a wellness promotion service-learning project for the Natwani Coalition community organization on the Hopi Reservation in northeastern Arizona. Member of the Academic Technologies team guided Gonzales through the use of WebEx, the university’s videoconferencing platform, to enable an on-going connection with the Hopi Reservation.
The Engaged Learning and Research Faculty Fellows program enhances the capacity of faculty to develop courses and research projects that connect the university with local, national and international communities.“The ability for students to successfully engage and partner with organizations on the Hopi Reservation wouldn’t have been possible without WebEx,” says Professor Gonzales. The organizations involved were the Hopi Special Diabetes Program, the Hopi EducationEndowment Fund, and the Natwani Coalition, which is dedicated to improving the Hopi food system and community health. “It not only helped to create a sense of community with the three organizations we worked with,” she continues, “but also allowed community partners to communicate directly with students via video conferencing. This deepened the collaborative relationship between students and their community partners, and also helped the partner organization to share the work with others in the community through recorded WebEx meetings.”
WebEx also helps support other teaching needs, such as enabling Professor Gonzales to continue to meet with students and deliver lectures while traveling away from campus. “WebEx allowed me to maintain the class schedule and provided students with the flexibility to watch the lecture outside of class, something that many expressed appreciation to be able to do, given their busy schedules,” she says.“The flexibility that WebEx provides is critically important for those of us whose research and professional activities require frequent travel from campus,” says professor Gonzales.
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