In the intercultural communication field, direct experience is recognized as the most effective way to develop supportive attitudes, skills, and knowledge by exposing participants to their own and others' affective responses, as well as alternative perspectives. While c ulture is dynamic, with great diversity within, as well as between, cultures, focused exploration of even a single aspect of communication can build a strong foundation for insight into a variety of cultural patterns.   

In this 1 week course, we will explore 1 intercultural communication concept through an experiential learning approach that includes 1 reading and 1 assignment.  

Our intention is to provide a supportive environment for us to explore preferred cultural communication patterns, consider how patterns may influence intercultural interactions, and share learning exercises that you might use in the future.

The field of Intercultural Communication is relatively new.  As R. Michael Paige and Judith N. Martin note regarding the ethics in intercultural training 

       "...if the various areas that comprise intercultural communication and relations are to maintain their legitimacy, we as professionals must constantly seek to improve the quality of our theoretical research, and applied activities through attention to professional development and professional ethics." (p 40) (See Resources)

In respecting these ideas, we feel it contraindicated to keep the synchronous session and full power point on the site. 

It also occurs that you might want to seek out training and or try low risk activities. Please reach out to an experienced trainer. 

In this course you will have an opportunity to:

  • Identify preferred communication pattern(s).
  • Describe how different communication patterns may impact intercultural interactions in personal or professional contexts. 


We officially meet Monday, March 9 to Friday, March 13; however, we'll open the course on Friday, March 6 to give you a chance to explore the site before we begin. If a little more time is needed to wrap up, we will also keep the course active into the following weekend.  As noted in the Microcourse Handbook, expect to spend at least 5 hours for course activities during the week. If you don't have prior online teaching and/or learning experience you may need to invest more time. Active participation will make a richer experience for all participants.

Note: If you haven't already enrolled in the course, please do so by clicking the self enrolment link right under the Course Description on the course homepage or Hub. Thank you! 

Introductions Phase

Suggested completion time: before Monday 5 p.m.

Step 1 - Sharing Our Stories

Before participating in the Monday Collaborate session from 5-6 pm (PT), please introduce yourselves in the Padlet by sharing a story about a time you were in a different cultural situation and experienced something confusing or intriguing. 

Please also take some time to explore the course site and the one reading: Stumbling Blocks in Intercultural Communication by Laray Barna (1998). While it is an older article, it is a classic and is foundational to what we hope to experience this week. Open access: http://www.uwindsor.ca/ctl/sites/uwindsor.ca.ctl/files/stumbling-blocks-in-intercultural-communication.pdf

Observation Phase 

Suggested completion time: Wednesday 12:00 p.m. 

Step 2 - What? Why? 

We encourage you to engage with multiple social contexts to glean a variety of conversations. Maybe even step outside of your comfort zone and go somewhere you typically would not! 


  • Look, listen, and notice real life examples of communication patterns, e.g. on the bus, in film, in the food court, and in the grocery store, etc.
  • Document at least 3 interactions. 
This homework does not require you to find research articles or write academic analyses. The focus is on observations. Think of it as a mini-ethnographic (observing people) exercise that can enrich discussions during the week and inform the one assignment, which is due Friday at 12:00 p.m.


Try going to an unfamiliar place (newspapers, web sites, locations where a multicultural population is etc.) 

We suggest you carry writing tools with you to document what you hear, see, and experience. Note the words of who says what, and the context.  For example: On the bus, an adult said to a child  "....".  

Friendly reminder: Digitally recording people in public places without their written permission is not legal, so it's best to stay low tech and exercise your skills of observation. 

Exploration Phase 

Suggested completion time: Thursday 12:00 p.m. 

Step 3 - Post it! 

Choose one or two of your observations that may be thought provoking for fellow observers.  Post your stories in the Exploration Forum


  • You don't have to have all the answers. It's okay to ask questions.
  • Experiment with visual discussion prompts (photos, icons, animated GIFs, your voice etc.) to accompany your text.
  • Consider the power of story. 

Step 4 - Review and engage

Please engage with others’ posts by 12:00 p.m. Thursday to allow time for multiple collegial interactions. Try to ensure that each participant's post has at least one response when deciding where to add your reply. This assures everyone has some interaction. 

Sharing and reflecting on these stories will help you prepare your assignment - a learning artifact, which is due by 12:00 p.m. tomorrow! See below for instructions. 

Learning Artifact Phase

Suggested completion time: Friday at 12:00 p.m. 

Step 5 - Share Your Learning 

Please use your experiences of the reading, synchronous meeting, and experiential exercises this week to create an artifact of your learning and share it in the Learning Artifacts Forum.

A complete artifact will: 

  • Identify personal preferred communication pattern(s).
  • Describe how different communication patterns may impact intercultural interactions in personal or professional situations.
  • Identify something you could do in the future to enrich intercultural interactions in a personal or professional context.

How you explore and express your learning is up to you. If you are comfortable with video, use that. If you love text, poetry, graphics, images, and/or cartoons, these modalities are also welcome. The goal is to share your experience and possibly inspire others to carry on being curious about how communication patterns impact personal and professional intercultural interactions. 

Consider your artifact as a draft with the intention of enriching the learning for all participants. We're not expecting polished artifacts :) in a one week microcourse. 

What you notice may be quite different from others and that is more than okay. Various perspectives are important and valued. 

To keep the assignment simple and respect everyone's time, please stay within a maximum of 2 minutes if you're using audio/video, and 250 words if you're using text.  If you choose a mode that leaves room for misinterpretation (image only), include some text explanation for clarity. 

Please post your learning artifact by Friday 12:00 p.m. Take time also to n otice the learning others have shared. Remember: This is a repository for viewing and listening only, not commenting.  

To recap:

  • Use the week's activities to guide production of the artifact.
  • Create the artifact draft with whatever mode you like, making sure there is clarity.
  • Video/audio maximum 2 minutes.
  • Text maximum 250 words.
  • Post draft by Friday 12:00 p.m.
  • View/listen only when exploring peers' artifacts.
Last modified: Thursday, 19 March 2020, 9:59 AM