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Main · Arts and Sciences · Comm Media and the Arts Dept

Intercultural Communication

  • Fall 2021
  • Section All
  • 3 Credits
  • 08/19/2021 to 12/13/2021
  • Modified 08/04/2021


Introduction to the theory and practice of successful intercultural communication. Students investigate how communication is affected by dimensions of cultures, cultural values, world views, relationships, and social institutions. Students will become ethical and skillful intercultural communicators. A grade of 2.0 or higher fulfills the Global Perspectives and Diversity Core requirement for curricula effective Fall 2005 or later. (F, Sp)


Prerequisites Course: Minimum 2.0 in (COMM 110 or COMM 120 or COMM 130)
Placement Scores: Reading Level 5 and Writing Level 6
Recommended: ENGL 121

Contact Hours







Total Hrs


Formerly SPCH 280.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Compare and contrast important socio-cultural characteristics of the U.S., African, Asian, European, Middle Eastern and Latino cultures.
  2. Describe the role of perception, personal motivators, and relationships in intercultural communication.
  3. Describe and analyze how values, beliefs and worldviews, and social institutions promote socio-cultural order in various societies and affect individuals and communication
  4. Describe and analyze how cultural antipathy, such as ethnocentrism and prejudice, affects individuals and society, and propose constructive ways to resolve such conflict.
  5. Describe the elements and process of intercultural communication.
  6. Compare and contrast U.S., Asian, European and Middle Eastern and Latino verbal styles and describe how verbal and nonverbal factors affect intercultural communication.
  7. Identify the culturally sensitive and adaptive communication skills that underlie constructive intercultural communication. 
  8. Analyze and evaluate social and personal issues which derive from macro- and/or micro-cultural variations that may create barriers to effective intercultural communication, and propose strategies for dealing with such issues to help improve intercultural communication.
  9. Analyze social and personal issues arising from cultural variations which may create barriers to effective intercultural communication, and propose strategies for dealing with such issues.


Other Materials/Resources

Instructors may use audio-video materials in the classroom or require students to access these materials outside of classroom time.


Student Electronic Access to Grades

D2L is the College’s Course Management System which includes a gradebook function allowing students access to their grades in order to receive timely and meaningful feedback on their progress in the course at any time. These grades will align with the Evaluation Criteria listed in this syllabus. D2L is accessed through the MyLCC page.

Whenever practicable, results for graded items should be posted electronically within 48 hours after the instructor has completed the grading process for the items, and final grades for the course should be entered no later than the specified grading day.


Types of evaluations and related weights
Type Weight Topic Notes
Assignments 30%
Final Exam 10%

The final exam is a common core assessment across all sections.

Projects 15%

All sections of COMM 280 must use the Cultural Resume Project as a common assessment tool, which will weigh 15% of the course grade.

Quizzes 20%
Other 25%

Discussion boards

Additional Information

RESPONSE PAPERS:  During the semester, students will be exposed to a variety of intercultural situations.  These situations may come about as a result of guest speakers, film viewing, attending events, and the like.  Students will be asked to write personal response papers for these situations at least three times during the semester.  Each paper will cover information about what the student has learned from the situation and how it has changed their outlook on that particular culture.  Personal reaction papers will be evaluated on the basis of clarity, comprehensiveness, and the extent to which they show understanding of the course concepts.

ORAL REPORTS:  Students will report on an intercultural events they attended or an intercultural interview they conducted.

CULTURAL RESUME PROJECT:  Students will take part in a project in which they explore in detail the elements of a culture.  During this project students will investigate the culture to discover aspects of its people, social institutions and practices, values and beliefs, customs and courtesies, and communication style.  Research sources for the project include library, Internet, and personal interviews.  The research also includes comparison of the selected culture with U.S. culture to allow students a better understanding of the similarities and differences that exist between them.  The culmination of this research will be a written document detailing their findings as well as a multi-media oral presentation.

QUIZZES/TESTS:  Students will take quizzes and tests based on textbook and class lecture and discussion materials.  The number and format of the tests and quizzes will be determined by the section instructor.  Each test and quiz will contain some common questions across all sections as a means of uniform assessment of the course.

FINAL EXAM:  A common final exam will be comprehensive and consist of objective questions, such as true-false, multiple-choice, and matching.  Exam questions will cover the textbook, supplementary reading materials, lecture, workbook exercises and case studies.  Instructors may include other means of assessment, such as the Strategies Proposal, as part of a final exam

OTHER:  This category includes such written and oral activities as the instructor assigns to augment the requirements of the course. Some of the activities in this category may be individual assignments, while others may be done in a small group setting. Moreover, students may be asked to complete some of these activities in the classroom, while others may take the form of homework.


College Standard




College Grading Standards

Recommended Guidelines for Student Grades

4.0  --- Excellent

4.0     ---     91 – 100%

3.5  --- ---------

3.5     ---     86 – 90%

3.0  --- Good

3.0     ---     81 – 85%

2.5  --- ---------

2.5     ---     76 – 80%

2.0  --- Satisfactory

2.0     ---     71 – 75%

1.5  --- ---------

1.5     ---     66 – 70%

1.0  --- Poor

1.0     ---     60 – 65%

0.0  --- --------

0.0     ---       0 – 59%


Course Policies

Class Participation

In order to enroll in an online or ORT COMM Course, you will be required to own/purchase basic video recording equipment and have appropriate technical skills.

You will need the following:

  1. Digital video recording equipment capable of recording up to 10 minutes of video footage with quality audio.
    1. An up-to-date smartphone, Flip video camera OR web cam
    2. It can be beneficial to have a tripod but it is not required.
  2. Ability to record a video from a distance, to transfer it to the computer, compress it if necessary, upload it to a video sharing site [YouTube] and then post a link to the video via D2L (instructions will be included in syllabus/D2L).
  3. A functioning computer with reliable, consistent access to high speed internet.
  4. Technical skills to record a presentation that includes both the speaker and the visual aid. There is free software both in the class and online to help fulfill this requirement.

Note: problems with internet access or technical issues will not be accepted as an excuse for not submitting assignments on or before the due date.

Both lectures and speech presentation will be conducted live, using web conferencing technology (Webex or Zoom). These could be recorded and used for critiques and feedback. It is expected that you have consistent access to this web conferencing platform to actively participate and engage in lectures and class activities.

Extra Credit

Extra credit may be available in this course. This information is provided by the section instructor.


Class Attendance/Participation

Institutional Policies

Transfer Potential

For transfer information, please consult the LCC Transfer webpage.  In addition, the Michigan Transfer Network website allows students the ability to search courses and discover how those courses transfer to colleges and universities statewide.

The Michigan Transfer Agreement (MTA) simplifies the transfer of students from one Michigan institution to another. For the most current information, see the LCC General Education webpage.

Students interested in transferring are strongly encouraged to contact the Academic Advising Center in the Gannon Building - Star Zone, (517) 483-1904.

Disability Statement

Students with disabilities who believe that they may need accommodations in this class are encouraged to contact the Center for Student Access, Gannon Building, Star Zone - Center for Student Support, via the Center for Student Access website, or by calling (517) 483-5323 as soon as possible to better ensure that such accommodations are implemented in a timely fashion.

Student Code of Conduct and General Rules and Guidelines

LCC supports a positive learning environment that provides opportunities for student success. The College recognizes the value and importance of a safe and orderly learning environment that encourages honesty, integrity, and ethical conduct. The Student Code of Conduct and General Rules and Guidelines ensure the protection of student rights and the health and safety of the College community, as well as aid in the efficient operation of College programs. In addition, the College has established procedures for addressing reports of alleged violations.                 

It is the responsibility of the student to be familiar with, and abide by, the Student Code of Conduct, as well as the General Rules and Guidelines. Furthermore, the instructor may establish reasonable guidelines within the classroom environment. Violations of the Student Code of Conduct and General Rules and Guidelines may be reported to the Office of Student Compliance.

Enrollment Verification

Class attendance and participation are essential to student success. Instructors will update class rosters by the 8th day after the start date of sections less than 8 weeks long, and by the 15th day after the start date of sections 8 weeks or longer to accurately reflect student enrollment in each course. Students who have not attended by these dates may be administratively dropped and responsible for any required tuition and fee charges.

Academic Success Coaches

At Lansing Community College, student success is our top priority.  Our Academic Success Coaches mentor students to help them meet their educational, personal and career goals.  LCC faculty or staff may refer you to an Academic Success Coach if they recognize that mentoring or assistance may be helpful to you. Please monitor your LCC email for referral notifications.  Your participation in academic success coaching is voluntary.

In addition, we encourage you to contact an Academic Success Coach on your own if you need help, guidance or assistance to reach your goals.  To contact an Academic Success Coach, call (517) 483-1422, email [email protected], or visit the Academic Success Coaching Team website for more information.

Nondiscrimination Statement

Lansing Community College is committed to providing equal employment opportunities and equal education for all persons regardless of race, color, sex, age, religion, national origin, creed, ancestry, height, weight, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, familial status, marital status, military status, veteran’s status, or other status as protected by law, or genetic information that is unrelated to the person’s ability to perform the duties of a particular job or position or that is unrelated to the person’s ability to participate in educational programs, courses services or activities offered by the college.

The following individuals have been designated to handle inquiries regarding the nondiscrimination policies: Equal Opportunity Officer, Washington Court Place, 309 N. Washington Square Lansing, MI 48933, 517-483-1730; Employee Coordinator 504/ADA, Administration Building, 610 N. Capitol Ave. Lansing, MI 48933, 517-483-1875; Student Coordinator 504/ADA, Gannon Building, 411 N. Grand Ave. Lansing, MI 48933, 517-483-1885; Sarah Velez, Human Resource Manager/Title IX Coordinator, Administration Building, 610 N. Capitol Ave. Lansing, MI 48933, 517-483-1874; Christine Thompson, Student Title IX Coordinator, Gannon Building, 411 N. Grand Ave. Lansing, MI 48933, 517-483-1261.

Compliance with COVID-19 Safety Precautions

All students, employees and visitors have a part to play in keeping the LCC community safe.  Everyone entering campus is required to adhere to the safety measures as outlined on the Keeping LCC Safe webpage. Reports of noncompliance with any current work safety rules and public health orders will be submitted to the Student Compliance Office for appropriate action.  Students with questions or concerns should email [email protected].

Media Release Statement

Photographs, pictures, slides, movies, video, or other media coverage of students may be taken for College-related business, in connection with their enrollment or participation in LCC activities without compensation from LCC, its Trustees, officers, directors, employees, students and agents of each of them, and photographs, pictures, slides, movies, video, or other media coverage of students may be used for any legal purposes.

College Catalog

For rules and procedures on matters such as Academic Calendar, Withdrawals, Incompletes, Appeals, etc., please consult the College Catalog, along with your Academic Advisor and Academic Success Coach.

Additional Items

Course Practices

An Academic Honors Option is a form of instructional agreement whereby a student can earn an Honors designation on his or her transcript by completing one or more approved enrichment assignments in a non-Honors course. This course allows qualified students to complete Academic Honors Options. The Academic Honors Option assignment(s) designed by faculty for this course are explained below. If you elect to complete this work and do so successfully, your achievement will be noted on your official LCC transcript. Please be aware that Academic Honors Options DO NOT earn Honors course credit.

Students seeking an Academic Honors Option may complete one of the following assignment choices in addition to all other course work assigned by the instructor:

  1. A research paper on a topic germane to the course and approved by the section instructor. The material covered in this paper is intended to go beyond the material already dealt with in the course to allow the student an additional learning experience.
  2. An oral presentation (with/without a written component) on a topic germane to the course and approved by the section instructor. The material covered in this presentation is intended to go beyond the material already dealt with in the course to allow the student an additional learning experience.
  3. Additional projects may be discussed and approved by your section instructor. A service learning project is strongly encouraged in this category.

Additional information about these assignments will be available on the course's Desire2Learn site.

Course Specific Information

The following information is intended to aid the student in understanding what will be expected of him/her in this course:

The typical weekly reading assignment in this course is 25-35 pages of textbook material plus an occasional instructional handout provided by the instructor. This course requires students to submit written work to be graded. In matters of content, students' writing is expected to be clear, purposive, direct, and in compliance with assignment requirements. In matters of expression, students' writing is expected to be coherently organized; effectively worded; and free of excessive errors in grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Students should be aware that the examinations in this course do more than simply test for recall of key terms and definitions. Test questions frequently call upon students to explain, apply, or demonstrate concepts and skills taught in the course.

Class attendance is extremely important in this course. Students who frequently miss class may do poorly on assignments and examinations because they lack essential knowledge and information presented during their absence. 

The focus of this course is on helping students to develop effective intercultural communication skills. To help accomplish this goal, the instructor will utilize a series of activities, exercises and discussions during class time throughout the course. In order to derive maximum benefit from the course, the student will find it necessary to participate in these classroom activities.

Writing Support: Students who would like assistance with writing assignments are encouraged to visit The Writing Center in the Arts & Sciences Building. Peer Writing Assistants are available for students working on their writing at any stage of the writing process. Students may schedule appointments by calling The Writing Center at 483-1907, or may drop in during open hours.

Technology Use: The following statement may be found in the LCC Course Schedule Book for the current semester:

Students should be prepared to use computer technology in their coursework, including gaining regular access to the Desire2Learn course site associated with each class. Every section at LCC has a D2L site associated with it that may be used by the instructor as a mandatory part of the class. D2L can be accessed from any computer with an Internet connection and Web browsing software, including computers in the Learning Commons in the TLC Building. Student D2L Orientation training is available online.

Detailed Outline of Course Content and Sequencing

Each student will be provided with a course calendar specifying assignment due dates, examination dates, and other pertinent schedule information for the COMM 280 section in which he/she is enrolled.

Week 1 Intercultural Communication:  A Requirement for the Interdependent Global Society

Week 2 Communication and Culture: The Voice and the Echo

Week 3 The Deep Structure of Culture: Lessons from the Family

Week 4 Worldview: Cultural Explanations of Life and Death

Week 5 Worldview: Cultural Explanations of Life and Death

Week 6 Cultural History: Precursor to the Present and Future

Week 7 Cultural History: Precursor to the Present and Future

Week 8 Cultural Values: Road Maps for Behavior

Week 9 Culture and Identity: Situating the Individual

Week 10 Verbal Messages: Exchanging Ideas Through Language

Week 11 Nonverbal Communication: The Messages of Action, Space, Time, and Silence

Week 12 Nonverbal Communication: The Messages of Action, Space, Time, and Silence

Week 13 Intercultural Communication in Contexts: Applications in Business, Education, and Healthcare

Week 14 Intercultural Communication in Contexts: Applications in Business, Education, and Healthcare

Week 15 The Challenges of Intercultural Communication: Managing Differences