A mixed methods design was used for this research, including both quantitative and qualitative analysis. For quantitative analysis, a one-group pretest-posttest quasi-experimental design was used (Shadish et ah, 2002). Quasi-experiments are most likely to be conducted in field settings in which random assignment is difficult or impossible. They are often conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of a treatment. In a pretest-posttest design, the dependent variable is measured once before the treatment is implemented and once after it is implemented. This design lacks a comparison or control group, and thus threats to internal validity are possible. Qualitative measures included weekly debriefing meetings with small group discussion, reflections expressed in individual participant daily blogs, and daily observations by project instructors during school visits, language and content seminars, and cultural site visits.


Current and Future Professionals

A total of 12 current and future professionals who support students with disabilities participated in all three phases of the project. There were two males and ten females. The average age of the participants was 38 with a range of 24 to 56. Seven of the participants were 31 years of age or over and five participants were 30 years of age or younger. Seven of the participants were first time international travelers. Six of the participants were professionals working in the public-school system, three were SLPs, and three were special education teachers. The remaining six participants were graduate students, three of the graduate students were pursuing a Master’s degree in Communication and Science Disorders and three graduate students were pursuing a Master’s degree in Special Education.


There were three instructors who participated in the educator study abroad project, including the two authors. One instructor was a professor in the Communication Sciences and Disorders program and took the lead on collaborating with the Botswana partners and providing cultural content; the second instructor was a professor in the Special Education program and was responsible for data collection and supporting the teams; and the third instructor was a clinical supervisor and a speech-language pathologist who took care of day to day items such as financial management, problem solving, and travel arrangements.

Botswana Partners

The Director of the DSSS in Botswana provided oversight of the collaboration and assigned four professionals to accompany participants and facilitate the educator study abroad project in Botswana. The four professionals included a lecturer from Tonota College, the former director of the DSSS, a governmental SLP, and a behavior analyst who was also the President of Autism Botswana. The lecturer from Tonota College and the former director of DSSS engaged participants in both Setswana language classes and cultural content seminars. The governmental SLP facilitated all school visits and cultural activities. The behavior analyst coordinated workshops and worked alongside current and future professionals in classrooms.

Three Phases of the Project

Phase 1 - Eight Week Pre-Departure Instruction

The pre-departure phase provided students with information about the trip, culture, language and travel tips. There were eight pre-departure sessions (see Table 11.1), held once a week online using Blackboard®, a learning management system with a web conference tool known as Collaborate®. This online tool was used to allow the instructors and participants to see and talk with each other while showing their computer screens in real-time (http://www. In this format, participants attended synchronous sessions with the course instructors.

Table 11.1 Pre-Departure Weekly Sessions

Weekly Session




Introductions, syllabus review

Ice-breaker; syllabus and assignment review; group selection of cultural activities; travel reminders (e.g., travel insurance, vaccinations).


Fulbright-Hays GPA program; roles and responsibilities

Video-conferencing with President of Autism Botswana; overview and expectations of Fulbright-Hays GPA; Review of Roles and Responsibilities Agreement.





Reviewed the history of the Botswana/University partnership, laws and safety, and travel tips; LinguaFolio introduced with homework assigned; downloaded WhatsApp on phones for communication while in Botswana.



Explored the LinguaFolio fact sheet, website and join codes; provided a LinguaFolio overview and participants registered; practiced uploading evidence in LinguaFolio, and downloaded LinguaFolio To Go on phones.


Intercultural sensitivity and 21st Century Skills

Participants registered for Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (; cultural activities sign-up; review of cultural sensitivity standards; completion of intercultural survey and 21st Century Standards self-evaluation.


Botswana language, culture, history, and traditions

Continued discussion on 21st Century Skills and intercultural sensitivity; reviewed article on Botswana cultural considerations; reviewed James Denbow et al., 2006 book about the culture and customs of Botswana; practiced basic Setswana (tips on pronunciation, watched videos on Setswana Language).


Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

Overview of Universal Design for Learning principles; application strategies for final curriculum project for the course and techniques for working with students with disabilities.


Curriculum activities/ projects; team building

Overview of team building skills using a team effectiveness model with five stages of team development; read article on effective team practices; teams planned their goals, roles, process, communication strategies and evaluation. Continued to lay a foundation and structure for curriculum projects with each team responsible for developing accessible curricular activities integrating Botswana culture and language instruction in K-12 studies.

During each weekly session, the instructors provided participants with an agenda, written directions, reading materials, assignments, and video and web links. Meetings were video-recorded for later or repeat viewing.

Following the eight weekly online videoconferencing sessions, participants came to the university for a full day of predeparture workshops. Activities included continued team building, itinerary review, goal setting, and small

Interprofessional Study Abroad Experience 153 group work on curriculum activity planning. Additionally, the Director of the university’s International Programs and Services led a session addressing travel “nuts and bolts” and safety. A representative from Botswana joined by videoconferencing to share information about Botswana’s language, culture, and educational system, and answered participant questions.

Participants were divided into four work teams with representation by current and future special education teachers and SLPs. Current and future SLPs served as language coaches to assist the group in highlighting similarities and differences in the English and Setswana language systems. Participants with special education experience assisted other participants in their group in integrating UDL principles in curriculum activity design to ensure that the activities would be accessible for all learners in K-12 school settings. Each working group set common goals, established group norms and peer support approaches, and made decisions about project timelines and implementation strategies consistent with the overall project design.

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