Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Morgridge College of Education, Higher Education

First Advisor

Judy Marquez-Kiyama, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Ryan E. Gildersleeve, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Christina H. Paguyo, Ph.D.


Study abroad, Evaluation, Access


This doctoral research project investigated issues of access to study abroad at the University of Denver (DU). The study evaluated the use of the learning management system Canvas during Fall 2017, in preparation for student applications for study abroad during Fall 2018. The evaluation utilized qualitative data from focus groups with students and families, interviews with higher education professionals and analytics data on the usage of Canvas. The findings identified that the usage of Canvas during Fall 2017 was low in comparison to the number of individuals who applied to study abroad and was focused on the preparation for the application to the program. Various suggestions for improvement were generated by the participants of the study and these suggestions provided support for the recommendations to the OIE staff. The framework of Critical Disability Studies with a focus on the emerging Disability Media Studies (DMS) was used to investigate how the distribution, content and organization of Canvas impacted access to study abroad by underrepresented populations at DU.

The recommendations for the improvement of the delivery of the Study Abroad Handbook in Canvas were developed to support the work of the OIE staff and to be immediately actionable. These action steps originated from the discussions and contributions of the OIE staff, DU professionals, students, families and myself. The recommendations ranged from content re-organization, increased access to study abroad advising staff, testimonials from previous study abroad participants, study abroad information in Spanish to support family awareness and a revisiting of all online tools used by the OIE. A major recommendation is on the creation of a theory of change or learning map for the complete study abroad experience along with the establishment of an annual evaluation program.

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

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