Syllabus for COM-335

ELEMENTS OF INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION


COURSE DESCRIPTION

Elements of Intercultural Communication presents a theoretical and practical approach to the study of intercultural communication. The course focuses on the many elements and processes involved in the sending and receiving of messages across cultures. The aim of the course is to increase your sensitivity to and understanding of intercultural differences and similarities so that this awareness can lead to more effective communication. The course covers basic concepts, principles, and practical skills for improving communication between persons from different ethnic, racial, religious, and cultural backgrounds.

COURSE OBJECTIVES

After completing this course, you should be able to:

  1. Explain the communication process and relate it to communicating with cultures different from your own.
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of how cultural differences in world view, family experience, and history shape perceptions, behaviors, and communication patterns.
  3. Analyze and articulate the variables in the intercultural communication situation (attitudes, social organization, patterns of thought, roles, language, space, time, nonverbal communication, ethnocentrism, world view).
  4. Describe specific verbal and nonverbal communication patterns that are reflected during human interaction.

Explain the influence of culture on communication in at least three settings where intercultural exchanges are most likely to occur: the workplace, school, and health care environments.

  1. Identify and implement ways to improve the intercultural communications in various professional, academic and social settings.

COURSE MATERIALS

You will need the following materials to do the work of the course. The required textbook is available from the College's textbook supplier, MBS Direct.


Required Textbook

ISBN-13: 978-0495567448

Suggested (optional) Material

To learn more about specific topics, check the references in the “Notes” section starting on page 412 of your textbook.

A helpful (and often entertaining) paperback book that is a widely known bestseller on inter-cultural communications may interest you if you are actually interacting personally or professionally with individuals from other cultures. The book is Do’s and Taboos Around The World, by Roger E. Axtell, a former executive with Parker Pen. The most recent version—the third edition—is published by The Benjamin Company, a John Wiley & Sons division, and is available from libraries, book stores, and Internet book sites for under $15. Among other features, the book contains a country-by-country bullet-pointed discussion of tips on greetings, gift giving, topics of conversation, and general protocol—all of which are very useful to anyone interacting regularly with colleagues, acquaintances, or relatives from other cultures!

Movies dealing with cross-cultural issues are easy to come by, are an enjoyable way to observe what may happen when cultures collide. Some noteworthy movies that illustrate aspects of inter-cultural communications—often humorously or very dramatically—are: My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Bend it Like Beckham, Gung Ho, Tootsie (for male-female communication insight), The Birdcage (for insight into the culture and communication of gay individuals), Black Rain, King Ralph, Moscow on the Hudson and Lost in Translation. Check out some of these titles in movie guides or on Internet sites to see if you think you’d enjoy any of them for what they say about the cultural issues on which they focus.

COURSE STRUCTURE

Elements of Intercultural Communication is a three-credit online course, consisting of six (6) modules. Modules include learning objectives, study materials, and activities. Module titles are listed below.

Consult the course Calendar for assignment due dates.

ASSESSMENT METHODS

For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in online discussion forums, complete written assignments, take a proctored midterm examination, and complete a final project. See below for more details.

Consult the course Calendar for assignment due dates.

Discussion Forums

In addition to posting an introduction to the class in Module 1, you are required to participate in five (5) graded online discussions.

Communication with the mentor and among fellow students is a critical component of online learning. Participation in online discussions involves two distinct activities: an initial response to a discussion question and at least two subsequent comments on classmates' responses. Meaningful participation is relevant to the content, adds value, and advances the discussion. Comments such as "I agree" and "ditto" are not considered value-adding participation. Therefore, when you agree or disagree with a classmate, the reading, or your mentor, state and support your agreement or disagreement. You will be evaluated on the quality and quantity of your participation. Responses and comments should be properly proofread and edited, professional, and respectful.

Written Assignments

The six (6) written assignments that you submit to the mentor for evaluation and grading consist of essay questions on material from the textbook and reader and encompass personal experiences, theories, and synthesis.

Communication does not take place in a vacuum, and applying real-life experiences and anecdotes you have had to your discussions and activities enhances your appreciation and understanding of the subject you’re studying. (You’ll also find that the experiences and anecdotes that other class members will share with you in the online discussion forums will help you gain additional insight into the subject.)

Take the time to familiarize yourself with the written assignment questions in each module, and read through the assignment questions before you begin each reading assignment.

Your answers to assignment questions should be well developed and should show evidence of thought, organization, effective writing, and of course responsiveness to the question! Please make sure you edit and proofread your work before submitting it. Gross errors in grammar, spelling and punctuation distract from what you are writing and compromise the credibility of your work.

Preparing and Submitting Assignments

Prepare your written assignments using whatever word processing program you have on your computer. Include your name at the top of the paper, as well as the course name and code and the semester and year in which you are enrolled.

Before submitting your first assignment, check with your mentor to determine whether your word processing software is compatible with your mentor's software. If so, you can submit your work as you prepared it. If not, save your activity as a rich-text (.rtf) file, using the Save As command of your software program. Rich text retains basic formatting and can be read by any other word processing program.

Below is the rubric that will aid in the grading of written activities.

Midterm Examination

This course requires you to take a closed-book, proctored midterm examination. Consult the course Calendar for the scheduling of the exam.

 

The midterm is two hours long and covers all material assigned in Modules 1, 2, and 3. It consists of short essay questions on the basic concepts from the textbook and reader. If you have concerns about the format and/or content of the examination, please contact your mentor at least a week in advance of the scheduled test.

 

For the midterm, you are required to use the College's Online Proctor Service (OPS). Please refer to the "Examinations and Proctors" section of the Online Student Handbook (see General Information area of the course Web site) for further information about scheduling and taking online exams and for all exam policies and procedures. You are strongly advised to schedule your exam within the first week of the semester.

 

Online exams are administered through the course Web site. Consult the course Calendar for the official dates of your midterm exam week.

Statement about Cheating

You are on your honor not to cheat during the exam. Cheating means:

If there is evidence that you have cheated or plagiarized in your exam, the exam will be declared invalid, and you will fail the course.

Final Project

The final project is in the form of a written paper that is worth 20% of your course grade. You will be required in your paper to develop a framework for analyzing and understanding a specific culture or co-culture by examining these characteristics:

GRADING AND EVALUATION

Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:

All activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:

A

=

93–100

C+

=

78–79

A–

=

90–92

C

=

73–77

B+

=

88–89

C–

=

70–72

B

=

83–87

D

=

60–69

B–

=

80–82

F

=

Below 60

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or better (for an area of study course) or D or better (for a nonarea of study course), based on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., exams, assignments, discussion postings, etc.).

STRATEGIES FOR SUCCESS

First Steps to Success

To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:

ACADEMIC INTEGRITY

Students at Thomas Edison State College are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.

 

Academic Dishonesty

Thomas Edison State College expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the College insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty can take the following forms:

Please refer to the Academic Code of Conduct Policy in the College Catalog and online at www.tesc.edu.

 

 

Plagiarism

Using someone else’s work as your own is plagiarism. Thomas Edison State College takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing will be severely penalized. If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, or without identifying it as a direct quote, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism. (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > “Citing Sources.”)

Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else’s. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.

Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.

Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.

For examples of unintentional plagiarism, advice on when to quote and when to paraphrase, and information about writing assistance and originality report checking, click the links provided below.

Examples of Unintentional Plagiarism 

When to Quote and When to Paraphrase

Writing Assistance at Smarthinking

Originality Report Checking at Turnitin

 

Disciplinary Process

First-time incidents of academic dishonesty concerning plagiarism may reflect ignorance of appropriate citation requirements. Mentors will make a good faith effort to address all first-time offenses that occur in courses. In these cases, the mentor may impose sanctions that serve as a learning exercise for the offender. These may include the completion of tutorials, assignment rewrites, or any other reasonable learning tool including a lower grade when appropriate. The mentor will notify the student by e-mail. Decisions about the sanctions applied for subsequent plagiarism offenses or other violations will be made by the appropriate dean’s office, with the advice of the mentor or staff person who reported the violation. The student will be notified via certified mail of the decision. Options for sanctions include:

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