Open SUNY Online Teaching Ambassador 2016 – Fredonia: Daniela Peterka-Benton
Dr. Daniela Peterka-Benton is an Associate Professor and Program Director for Criminal Justice in the Department of Sociocultural and Justice Sciences at the State University of New York at Fredonia. Prior to obtaining her PhD in Sociology with a concentration in Criminology from the University of Vienna, Austria, she received a M.Ed. in Adult and Media Education from the University of Vienna, Austria and a M.Sc. in Criminal Justice from the University of Cincinnati, OH.
Dr. Peterka-Benton has published several articles and book reviews in the field of transnational crime, with a particular focus on the illegal movement of people, such as human trafficking and smuggling, and arms and ammunition. She also assessed cultural dimensions behind various transnational criminal activities such as the effects of cultural collectivism on terrorism participation and related strategies for non-invasive counterterrorism programs. In one of her current projects, for example, she focuses at the intersection of crime and media by analyzing the Battle of Thermopylae and its significance for far-right organizations, with a particular scope on transnational white supremacy.
Dr. Peterka-Benton has always had a great passion for teaching and learning and continues to follow this passion as a dedicated instructor and curriculum developer.
For almost 15 years now, Dr. Peterka-Benton has immersed herself into the world of online teaching and learning and describes her endeavor as an ongoing learning process. The online medium not only allows instructors to reach different student populations but also students, who simply are looking for a more flexible learning environment. The online teaching medium also provides ever growing teaching opportunities for instructors who like to think outside the traditional face-to-face lecture environment. The technology has changed and is still changing so much, that the possibilities to interact with students around the globe seem endless. While high quality online courses demand a lot of work and attention, they in some way allow for even closer class interaction due to the greater involvement of all class participants, despite the geographical distance between instructor and learner. Higher Education in the 21st century cannot focus on traditional residential student populations alone anymore, but instead use online teaching and learning opportunities to open its doors to students from all over the world.