Online abroad; study abroad; international education; international studies; web conferencing; design based research; evaluation study; formative evaluation; olc quality framework; five pillars; global competence; online learning; instructional technology


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine if a proposed technology-mediated intervention is a viable alternative to traditional study abroad for those who are unable to travel. While technology cannot reproduce the same experience of traveling abroad, the primary objective of this study was to determine if there is value in using Web conferencing technology to provide students with access to the same opportunity to interact with international experts in the field as their counterparts who were able to travel. This formative evaluation is the first in a series of iterative studies aimed at developing a viable, sustainable, technology-based solution through design-based research (Reeves, 2006). Methodology/Design: Two guiding questions drove the focus of this formative evaluation: Did the program accomplish what was intended and was it implemented effectively? These generated a set of evaluation questions using the Online Learning Consortium (OLC) Quality Framework, which were used to evaluate the quality of a joint study abroad program in Brazil with students and instructors from the University of Central Florida and the University of Scranton. While studying global health management in Brazil, the group in the field broadcasted their site visits live to online participants back in the United States. Web conferencing tools allowed the online attendees to see and hear the group in Brazil and interact in real time through the audio or text chat. Evaluation data was compiled from multiple sources including an anonymous student survey, instructor interviews, session recordings, financial budgets, and online facilitator observations in order to triangulate and evaluate the effectiveness of this Web-based intervention. Findings: Web conferencing technology appears to be a viable alternative that is not necessarily as immersive as traveling abroad, but it does provide its own set of benefits to higher education students. This formative evaluation revealed clear areas for improvement, including technical and procedural elements, but instructors and online participants did find value in the experience. Was it perfect? No. Was it successful? Yes. Was it encouraging? Definitely. Exploration of the evaluation questions under each of the five pillars of the OLC Quality Framework revealed both success factors and areas for improvement in each of the following categories: learning effectiveness, scale (commitment & cost), access, faculty satisfaction, and student satisfaction. Implications: Overall, this was a successful proof of concept that justifies future improvements and subsequent further evaluation in an iterative design-based research program. In addition to repeating this study with the joint global health management course in Brazil, this intervention could also be implemented and evaluated in other contexts, disciplines, and countries around the world. This formative evaluation produced a set of recommendations for the next study based on the success factors as well as the areas for improvement identified in this initial implementation in addition to a list of suggestions for future research.


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Graduation Date





Gunter, Glenda


Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


College of Education and Human Performance

Degree Program









Release Date

August 2016

Length of Campus-only Access

1 year

Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)


Dissertations, Academic -- Education and Human Performance; Education and Human Performance -- Dissertations, Academic

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