Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Leadership, Research and Counseling

Document Type



This study provided insights about how to develop online cross-cultural projects designed to foster global awareness in upper elementary-age students. Three schools, located in the southern United States, Mexico and Turkey, implemented a cross-cultural model as part of a comparative case study. The primary goal of this research was to gain an understanding of how these populations develop global awareness in an online environment. A second goal was to determine the necessary implications for practice when conducting online, cross-cultural projects in upper elementary classrooms. During eight weeks of implementation, students participated in cross-cultural groups as members of an online community. Qualitative data were collected from the online threaded discussions, focus group interviews with eight case study participants, teacher interviews, parent interviews and observations. Quantitative data from the Inventory of Intercultural Sensitivity (ICCS) survey was collected. Results showed that online cross-cultural projects are an enjoyable and viable means of developing global awareness in upper elementary age students, and that the development of global awareness in an online environment is dependent upon changes in participants’ social comfort zones. Changes in social comfort zones were shown to best occur through social, collaborative experiences, with gender, learning styles and country of origin playing an important role in the design of the online cross-cultural projects. In addition, the study determined that while students enjoy learning about global issues from other students rather than from teachers and textbooks, active teacher involvement in cross-cultural project is necessary for student success. The project concluded that collaborative, constructivist instructional design is essential for the development of online cross-cultural projects.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Janice Hinson



Included in

Education Commons