Date of Award

Spring 2024

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Director

Kevin Moberly

Committee Member

Margaret Konkol

Committee Member

Michelle Fowler-Amato

Committee Member

Andrew Kissel


As the world becomes increasingly globalized thanks, at least in part, to the ubiquity of digital technology, scholars in discourse and new media must explore the possibility of learning and composition to expand pedagogical practices and opportunities. This project uses study abroad programs and education as a test case for establishing the feasibility of easily incorporating existing virtual reality (VR) technology into the classroom. It examines the theoretical and technological question of whether advancements in virtual reality have achieved the potential for practical pedagogical applications, and if virtual technology can provide responsible, accurate, and educational access to concepts as complex as culture.

This dissertation considers questions of culture, historical and current study abroad practices, and theories of technology, the virtual, and the real as the foundation for the creation of a digital prototype designed to demonstrate the feasibility of using off-the-shelf VR technology for pedagogical applications. This dissertation also employs empirical user-based research to determine the best design strategies for constructing the VR prototype. By demonstrating how low-cost VR technologies can increase intercultural competence and existing study-abroad pedagogies, this dissertation highlights the potential of using VR to supplement traditional pedagogies in a number of humanities-related fields.


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