Author

Amy E. Cross

Date of Award

5-2014

Level of Access

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Interdisciplinary Program

Advisor

Kristina Passman Nielson

Second Committee Member

Brian Doore

Third Committee Member

Justin Wolff

Abstract

This thesis will explore the incorporation of virtual technology in higher education courses and its influence on the users and our understanding of higher education. This thesis draws on emerging theories in education including project-based learning, the integration of the arts and humanities into STEM (STEAM), interdisciplinary learning, intercultural understanding and civic engagement. It will describe how the use of virtual environments can integrate these theories in higher education courses.

The methodology used is participatory, action-based research and employs social change theory. A model developed for evaluation and assessment will be presented to support the conclusion. The modem, virtual community of Four Bridges in Second Life will be used as the primary basis for this study.

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