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student integration, faculty research, research projects


Traditional pedagogical models, at times, are inadequate for equipping students with real-world skills. A shift towards integrating students into faculty-led research is essential, as demonstrated by the Coronado Muster Roll project. In this project, students use virtual reality technologies to create immersive experiences that explore the complex relationships between Spanish and Indigenous communities during Francisco Vázquez de Coronado’s 1540 expedition. A specific assignment within the course tasks students with developing digital narratives. The muster roll itself is revealed to be more than just a list; it serves as a snapshot capturing the depth and complexities often lost in grand narratives. It shows that both Spanish and Indigenous communities had complex alliances and mutual interests. This hands-on, virtual reality-based assignment not only deepens students’ understanding of historical intricacies but also provides invaluable applied research and creative skills. The integration of students into faculty research projects, like the Coronado Muster Roll is not just a pedagogical strategy; it is a necessity in today’s rapidly evolving educational landscape.