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North Idaho College • Coeur d'Alene • Communication & Fine Arts • Communication

Intro to Intercultural Communication COMM-220

  • Fall 2012
  • Section 03
  • 3.0 Credits
  • 08/27/2012 to 12/20/2012
  • Modified 08/23/2012

Contact Information

Office Test

Instructor: Josh Misner

For the most part, I am available at any reasonable time throughout the day by email ([email protected]).  I do try to take every Saturday off to spend time with my family, though, so please wait until Sunday for a response if you email me on Friday or Saturday.  My email goes straight to my phone and I typically respond within 24 hours or less.

Office Hours

  • Monday, Wednesday, 9:00 AM to 12:45 PM, MOL201A
  • Tuesday, Thursday, 9:00 AM to 10:15 AM, MOL201A


This course is concerned with cultural differences and their effects on communication. The course attempts to help students become more sensitive to the needs of people from other cultures with whom we interact. With more and more diversity in our country, and to create and maintain positive relationships with minimal hostility and friction, an understanding of how to communicate across cultures will prove to be a considerable asset. Communication competence with people of other cultures calls for a repertoire of communication skills rarely taught in any other college course. Lecture: 3 hours per week



Communication Between Cultures, Eighth Edition, Samovar, Porter, McDaniel, and Roy, Wadsworth-Cengage, ISBN 978-1-111-34910-3.


At the completion of this course the student should be able to:

  • Identify differences in culture that could cause communication difficulties with those of us in American culture -- and examine reasons why the difficulties occur.
  • Recognize the complexity of the intercultural communication model.
  • Appreciate a wide range of intercultural communication issues both domestic and international.
  • Attempt to achieve intercultural competence through cultural adaptation.
  • Develop a deep understanding of one culture other than your own and examine the importance of communication in achieving this understanding.
  • Develop a better understanding and appreciation for one's own American culture by studying the cultures of others.



Seeing as how you signed up for this course, I can only assume that you want to be in this class and as such, I expect you to play an active role in our online community.  Much of what we learn in this class will come not only from cognitive learning, but experiential learning as well. By enrolling in this course you are making a commitment to form a “learning community” with mutual responsibility for the discussions in our class.  You will be sharing with us your knowledge and experience.  This commitment includes being prepared for projects, activities, and assigned readings. The payoff is a good class for everyone involved.

Late assignments will not be awarded any points unless we have mutually negotiated an alternate submission date more than 24 hours in advance of the assignment deadline.  If you know you are going to be late, let me know and I will work with you, but if you contact me after the fact, it is extremely unlikely that I will work with you.


Assessment & Assignments:

Evaluation will be based on the following assessments:

Participation in online discussion: 30% (2 grade points/week)

Weekly Reflective Journal: 30% (2 grade points/week)

Archetypal Autobiography (midterm): 20%

Final: 20%

Total: 100 points


Assignment Descriptions:

1. Participation in Online Discussion - For this course, you will be required to post your initial responses by Wednesday of that week before you review and comment on at least three of your peers' posts before the end of the week.  Full credit will be awarded to thoughtfully composed responses that: 1) add rich information to our discussion, 2) pose thought-provoking questions to further our exploration of that topic, and 3) compare and contrast peer responses to your own thoughts.

2. Weekly Reflective Journal -- This course presents a deep and insightful psychological journey into the nature of the self and identity, and to facilitate this journey, you will maintain a weekly journal that you will be required to submit at the end of each week.  These journals will be based on prompts posted at the beginning of each week and you will be required to submit at least three separate entries per week.  More details on this component will be provided as the class progresses.

3. Archetypal Autobiography – By the midpoint of the semester, you will submit an autobiography that presents an exploration of the things and events that have shaped your personal understanding of cultural identity.  This story will be based around archetypal patterns that we will study in the first half of the course.

4. Final Project: For your final project/exam, you will conduct an oral history interview with one person who fits any one of the following criteria:

  • The oldest living member of your family with whom you can make contact
  • A mature American who lived through and witnessed segregation/discrimination during the Great Depression, WWII, or the Civil Rights Era
  • A mature American from a distinct co-cultural group, such as Native Americans or first-generation immigrants.
  • A person from a distinctly different social class from your own (high, middle, working-class, or poverty).  In your project, you will need to use evidence to identify and justify why this choice was drastically contrasted to your own social class.

You will then compile the notes from this interview into a narrative, based on what you have learned about the development of identity and compare it to your own, from the midterm project, in a process of reflection and self-analysis.

The goal of this project is for you to use your knowledge of patterns and archetypes to develop a greater understanding of universal similarities and an appreciation of diversity.


Grading Scheme:

In evaluating assignments, I utilize the standard grading scale.  Students often feel there is a degree of subjectivity in the grading.  They are right; part of grading is subjective and part is based on my expertise in recognizing the quality of effort and product.  Generally speaking however, the criteria listed below are what I look for in your work.

A            A superior work will address itself to all aspects of the assignment.  Though it may have an occasional fault, it will be well-organized, detailed, and extremely well presented or written, with enthusiasm and emotional involvement.

B            This score will be for a well-presented work that is weak in some aspects of the superior work.  For example, it may slight part of the assignment; it may not be as clearly organized as a superior work; it may have some minor inconsistencies.  Otherwise, the work is competently composed.

C            This score is given for the following:

                        • those that meet only minimum requirements;

                        • those in which the language is overly clichéd;

                        • those that are too general or superficial

D            This score is used for works that show little understanding of the assignment or suggest serious weakness or incompetence in organization and preparation.

F            This score is for students who fail to present their work at the required time or works that show little understanding of the question or suggest incompetence in structure, syntax, and diction.


Please note: this is a highly tentative schedule and is subject to change, depending on the rate at which this particular class progresses through the material.


  1. Weeks 1-4: Personal Culture & Identity
    1. Archetypal Patterns
    2. Egos & Complexes
    3. Personas & Shadows
    4. Individuation
  2. Weeks 5-8: Interpersonal Influences on Identity
    1. Family
    2. Friendships
    3. Relationships
    4. Midterm - Archetypal autobiography
  3. Weeks 9-12: Merging Identity with Society
    1. Cultural Identity, Power, and Privilege
    2. Coping with Change
    3. Identity, Balance, and Attachment
    4. Navigating Cultural Identity Using Communication
  4. Weeks 13-16: Transcending Identity
    1. Mindfulness & Empathy
    2. Understanding & Forgiveness
    3. Appreciation & Adaptation
    4. Final

Tentative Meeting Dates:

8/27/12: Day 1 - Introductions, expectations, etc.  Should be brief.

10/22/12: Watch "Crash" and discuss the role of power in discrimination

11/12/12: Gather for a "Culture Shock" activity

12/10/12: Get together for a cultural feast and watch "Baraka"

Division Policies

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Institutional Policies

Student Responsibilities

As students undertake to fulfill the obligations and duties outlined in this document, the college community of which they are a part undertakes to respect the basic freedoms of students. In recognition of students’ rights and dignity as members of the college, North Idaho College is committed to the principles found in the NIC Student Handbook.

Center for Educational Access/Disability Support Services

In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504/508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, North Idaho College provides accommodations to eligible students who experience barriers in the educational setting due to learning, emotional / mental, physical, visual, or hearing disabilities.  Instructors will provide accommodations to students only after having received a Letter of Accommodation from the Center for Educational Access. 

If a student would like to request accommodations, he or she must contact the Center for Educational Access so that a Letter of Accommodation may be sent to the instructor.  Students requesting accommodations must contact the Center for Educational Access at the beginning of each semester.


By registering at North Idaho College, you agree to provide payment by the due dates. You also understand that collection costs and legal fees will be added if the services of a collection agency are utilized.

If you are registered for a class and do not attend, you will still be liable for the tuition unless you drop the class.


Last day for students to withdraw from semester-length classes for the fall term: November 7, 2011. 

Instructor-Initiated Withdrawal: Instructors have the right to withdraw students for academic reasons up until the same date; in doing so, instructors must notify students through NIC e-mail within 48 hours of submitting documentation to the Registrar's office, and students have the right to appeal the instructor's decision. For more information, see the NIC Procedure:

Financial Aid Satisfactory Progress Policy: All withdrawals, whether for individual classes, total withdrawal from school, or instructor-initiated are not considered to be satisfactory progress for financial aid.  See the Financial Aid Satisfactory Progress Policy:

Additional withdrawal information:


An incomplete is assigned only if the student has been in attendance and has done satisfactory work to within three weeks of the end of the semester (or proportional length of time for a course of less than a semester in length).  Incompletes are issued only in cases of extenuating circumstances, such as severe illness or injury.  Incompletes are not issued in cases in which the student is simply unable to complete his/her work within the specified semester or session.  If a final grade of "I" is recorded, the instructor will indicate in writing to the Registrar what the student must do to make up the deficiency.  The instructor will indicate in the written statement what permanent grade should be entered if the Incomplete is not removed by the deadline.

All incomplete grades must be removed within six weeks after the first class day of the following term, excluding the summer session.  If the Incomplete is not removed by that date, the grade reverts to the grade indicated by the instructor's written statement authorizing the incomplete.

Discrimination and Harassment

North Idaho College has a zero tolerance policy for any acts of discrimination or harassment of any kind.  For more information, please see the NIC Student Handbook, Code of Conduct Article III and Article VIII. Compliance efforts with respect to these laws and regulations are the responsibility of each member of the campus community and are under the direction of the Dean of Students Office for Student Issues (2nd floor, ESU, 676-7156) and the Human Resources Office (Sherman Administration Building, 769-3304) for employee issues.

Institutional Statement

DROP FOR NON-PAYMENT:  By registering at North Idaho College, you agree to provide payment by the due dates. You will be dropped from classes if payment is not received by  5 p.m. Pacific Time on the third day of the semester. Students on the waitlist will be given the option to register for classes after students are dropped for non-payment.

DROP FOR NON-ATTENDANCE:  You must attend and participate in the first week of this class. Failure to do so will result in your being dropped from this class and may result in your financial aid award being reduced. For Internet classes, attendance is based on participation in an instructional activity; you must complete the first week’s assignment(s) by the assignment due date. Drop for non-attendance occurs at 5 p.m. Pacific Time on the second Tuesday of the semester.