Communication and Media Studies 551

COMS 551
Intercultural and International Communication

1. Catalog Entry

COMS 551
Intercultural and International Communication
Credit hours (3)

Intercultural and international communication is grounded in key historical, political, organizational, and interpersonal contexts that shape our interactions with people from different cultures. This course addresses the communication challenges and develops skills that can help people become competent communicators in an intercultural setting.

2. Detailed Description of Course

This course will begin with an overview that identifies the necessity of developing intercultural and international communication competence. The rapid rate of globalization has provided individuals with more opportunities to interact with people from different cultures. The ability to effectively communicate with those who have different cultural backgrounds becomes an essential skill that college students need to succeed in various personal and professional settings.

Once students understand the importance of learning intercultural and international communication, specific theoretical frameworks (e.g. communication accommodation theory, linguistic relativity theory, non-verbal codes) will be discussed in detail. Lastly, students will learn to apply these theories to various international contexts that will include, but are not limited to, interpersonal settings, organizational settings, health care settings, and the media. Students will also study the challenges and strategies involved with obtaining communication competence.   

3. Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

This course will be offered once each academic year. It will meet twice every week. Students will be required to study written materials on the course topics. They will become involved in exercises that illustrate the course concepts and processes. The students will be required to interact with international students and participate in role-playing activities and creative enactments concerned with problem solving through communication interaction. Students are not merely tested on the course content, but are experientially involved.

Lectures, discussions, and course exercises are central to the course conduct. Further, students will independently study particular concepts, theories, or strategies in the way of written assignments and a final project. Students will also demonstrate their understanding of contemporary issues in intercultural and international communication by completing a term paper. The learning activities in class include but are not limited to the following:
• Lecture and discussion led by the instructor
• Guest lecturers/presenters
• Small group discussion
• Individual or group oral presentations
• Informal and formal in-class and out-of-class writing assignments
• Individual and collaborative research activities involving library and Internet searches

4. Goals and Objectives of the Course

The following learning objectives will be addressed in this course:
• To know yourself as a cultural being and enhance self and other awareness about cultures.
• To demonstrate knowledge of and sensitivity to a variety of cultural perspectives and be able to identify ways of understanding and appreciating cultural similarities and dealing with challenges that arise from cultural differences.
• To acquire knowledge and skills at various layers that increase your intercultural communication competence.
• To identify barriers—racism, sexism, and systems of privilege—that arise from histories of colonization, exploitation, and discrimination, and learn ways to creatively address these inequities.
• To gain a critical perspective on local/global issues by examining the historical and political dimensions of intercultural relations.

5. Assessment Measures

Students’ learning may be evaluated by but not limited to the following methods:

• Tests of course content to measure student’s basic knowledge of course materials.
• Graded written assignments to measure the student’s ability to identify underlying values and assumptions in intercultural communication and their ability to apply the course materials in real life cases.
• Class discussions and in-class exercises to measure the student’s logical and practical reasoning and oral communication skills as well as the student’s ability to work with others in a collaborative process.
• Individual or group oral presentations to measure the student’s understanding of particular cultural positions, mindsets, or issues as well as the student’s ability to present reasonable and persuasive arguments.
• Term papers to measure the student’s understanding of the contemporary issues and challenges in intercultural and international communication and the student’s ability to propose and conduct a research study independently.

6. Other Course Information


Review and Approval

February 10, 2014