Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation in Practice

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Morgridge College of Education, Higher Education

First Advisor

Michele Tyson

Second Advisor

Sarah S. Hurtado

Third Advisor

Bobbie Kite


Course development, Higher education, Inclusive learning environment, Online learning, Program evaluation, Utilization focused evaluation


This evaluation was chosen to address the desire of students to see themselves and their lived experiences in their coursework at University College, the location of this study. The purpose was to complete a utilization-focused evaluation that assessed first, the formal and informal practices involved in the course development process within an academic department at University College, University of Denver, and second to determine the extent to which the course development process contributes to an inclusive learning environment. Data were collected using qualitative methods including semi-structured interviews of key stakeholders in the course development process, observations of weekly course development meetings, and review of documents used throughout the process. The data were reviewed and coded for elements and themes relevant to the evaluation’s purpose. Findings were analyzed in relation to the evaluation questions which centered on documenting the existing course development process including the formal and informal practices that are employed which contribute to an inclusive learning environment, and assessing the extent to which the course development process fosters and supports and inclusive learning environment. The findings highlighted the emphasis of informal over formal practices guided by the instructional designer, and that, while there is support for subject matter experts during the process, the focus on structural and temporal aspects of the course design process may be sidelining conversations and work toward inclusive practices. Recommendations that emerged from the evaluation included (a) creating a more equitable process for selecting subject matter experts; (b) leveraging a culture shift at University College to support ongoing improvement efforts; (c) creating opportunities to bring more perspectives and worldviews into the design and development process so that students can see themselves and their lived experiences reflected in the course content; and (d) centering inclusive practices in both the course development process itself as well as within the course content. Recommendations for future research and process improvement efforts focus on the connection to other elements of teaching and learning such as teaching practice, instructor engagement, and the development of a learning community among students, and creating processes and practices that allow students and their instructors to interrogate the white, eurocentric, cis-het, patriarchal structures that dominate the landscape of higher education.

Copyright Date


Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

All Rights Reserved
All Rights Reserved.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Rachel K. Rogers


Received from ProQuest

File Format



English (eng)


249 pgs

File Size

2.0 MB


Higher education