Year of Award


Document Type

Professional Paper

Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name

Environmental Studies

Other Degree Name/Area of Focus

Environmental Education

Department or School/College

Environmental Studies Program

Committee Chair

Fletcher Brown

Commitee Members

Dan Spencer, Amy Ratto-Parks


environmental education, outdoor education, NOLS, gender


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research


There is an extensive database of literature about diversity in outdoor Environmental Education and any of the studies focus on NOLS specifically. Several studies have investigated the impact of course composition in terms of gender as well as socioeconomic diversity; however, the research studies about course composition and gender were limited to differences between single gender and coed groups. The role of gender ratios on coed groups has not been widely researched. This study was designed to fill this gap in the research literature. Using course quality survey data, results showed that the student responses were significantly different between gender balanced and imbalanced courses. Students on gender-balanced courses responded more positively to questions about social interactions, their sense inclusion and group effectiveness. This is only a preliminary study however, and is unable to answer questions about why these differences exist. Outcomes from this study do raise additional questions about the nuanced social dynamics on NOLS field courses. Based on these results, I compiled a series of suggestions for NOLS, including future research questions.



© Copyright 2016 Alexandra M. Alway