INFO 281-02
Intercultural Communication
Spring 2016 Greensheet

Dr. Debra K Buenting
Telephone: 719-685-0829
Office location:
Office Hours:
 Monday - Saturday by appointment

Greensheet Links
iSchool eBookstore

Canvas Information: Courses will be available beginning January 28th, 6 am PT unless you are taking an intensive or a one unit or two unit class that starts on a different day. In that case the class will open on the first day that the class meets.

You will be enrolled into the Canvas site automatically.

Course Description

This 3 unit course focuses on developing skills for working in racially, ethnically, linguistically, and culturally diverse communities. It will help you identify and solve cultural differences so essential for navigating a flat world. This course is designed to give you very practical tools to understand the worldview and experiences of others, helping you become a more competent professional, no matter what your career goals

Course Requirements

You need a computer with regular internet access (broadband recommended, especially for video assignments) and an environment conducive to learning. You need to obtain the required books, and have a means for accessing a film you choose to watch and critique. You will also need Adobe Reader for pdf content (free from and Microsoft Word for writing papers (in APA or MLA format).


  • Lutsig, M.W. & Koester, J. (2012). Intercultural competence: Interpersonal communication across cultures, 7th edition. Boston: Pearson


  • Discussions (195 points)
    This course requires weekly reflective discussions based on course materials and informed by lectures and readings. Each discussion is worth 15 possible point, which entails reading all the posts in your group, and posting at least five times; this includes your initial post and questions/responses/dislogue to classmates. Points will be awared based on quality and extent of participation. (CLOs 1-7)
  • Chapter journals (180 points). This assignment satisfies learning objectives 1-7. The purpose is for you to recognice how course concepts play out in real life. Each week you will choose 2-3 key points from the chapter and apply them to your life and career. You might tie concepts to experiences you've had, sceranios you anticipate, or those you've seen played out in the news, on television or in a film or book.
  • Cultural visit & report (100 points) This assignment satisfies learning objectives 1, 2, 3, & 7. You will visit a gathering of your chosen culture. This could be a religious service, community meeting, cultural even or other formal or informal get-together. There you will pay attention to cultural beliefs, values & communication styles. Afterwards you will write a report to the class (2-3 pages single-spaced).

  • Culture paper (100 points) This assignment satisfies learning objectives 1, 2 & 5. This paper has five main sections that need to be emphasized: 1) History of the culture, 2) Cultural beliefs, 3) Cultural values, 4) Communication styles and, 5) Self-reflection of this process (compare & contrast with your culture). This will be a 7-10 page paper double-spaced, with a 2-3 page summary posted for your classmates in a discussion thread.

  • Film Critique (100 points) This assignment satisfies learning objectives 1 & 2. You will choose an intercultural film you will watch, being careful to identify principles you are learning in the course. You will then research background on the film and write a critique of the film from an intercultural perspective.
  • Literature Search (50 points) This assignment satisfies learning objectives 6 & 7. You will do a thorough search for key and timely articles that deal with library and information science and intercultural communication. If you have access to digital copies of the articles, you are requested to attach or post links for them to your report.
  • Final paper (100 points) This assignment satisfies learning objectives 1-7 as well as core competencies C & M. Your final paper will be a very practical application of some aspect of intercultural communication with your chosen field. It will be the culminating expression of what you learned and how you plan to implement it in your career. This will be a semester-long project; note your topic is due week 5, and you are expected to post updates on your progress throughout the semester.

All assignments are due by Sunday midnight of the week they are due. Late submissions will be reduced by 10% of the total points possible for that assignment. No late submissions to the weekly discussions will be accepted.

Tests (175 points)
You will take a mid-term and a final exam that will test your knowledge of basic concepts and skills learned throughout the semester.

Course Calendar

  • Week 1 - What is communication? What is culture? Why do we need to study intercultural communication? 
  • Week 2 - Introduction to intercultural competence
  • Week 3 - Culture & intercultural communication
  • Week 4 - Intercultural communication competence
  • Week 5 - Cultural patterns & communication foundations
  • Week 6 - Cultural patterns & communication taxonomies
  • Week 7 - Cultural identities & Trends in intercultural communication & LIS
  • Week 8 - Verbal intercultural communication
  • Week 9 - SPRING BREAK
  • Week 10 - Nonverbal intercultural communication
  • Week 11 - The effects of code usage in intercultural communication
  • Week 12 - Intercultural competence in interpersonal relationships
  • Week 13 - Episodes, contexts & intercultural interactions
  • Week 14 - The potential for intercultural competence
  • Week 15 - Course wrap-up, final paper due, course evaluations


  • Culture visit & report 100 points
  • Culture paper 100 points
  • Discussion board participation 195 points
  • Chapter journals 180 points
  • Film critique 100 points
  • Literature search 50 points
  • Mid-term exam 75 points
  • Final exam 100 points
  • Final paper 100 points
  • TOTAL POSSIBLE POINTS 1000 (see grading scale below)

Other Relevant Information:
A note from your course facilitator: My hope is that you will find this course both fun and informative. I look forward to sharing experiences and insights with each of you. I trust we will all grow as we share this particular aspect of our journey, forming an online community that makes for challenging and rewarding experience together.

Course Workload Expectations

Success in this course is based on the expectation that students will spend, for each unit of credit, a minimum of forty-five hours over the length of the course (normally 3 hours per unit per week with 1 of the hours used for lecture) for instruction or preparation/studying or course related activities including but not limited to internships, labs, clinical practica. Other course structures will have equivalent workload expectations as described in the syllabus.

Instructional time may include but is not limited to:
Working on posted modules or lessons prepared by the instructor; discussion forum interactions with the instructor and/or other students; making presentations and getting feedback from the instructor; attending office hours or other synchronous sessions with the instructor.

Student time outside of class:
In any seven-day period, a student is expected to be academically engaged through submitting an academic assignment; taking an exam or an interactive tutorial, or computer-assisted instruction; building websites, blogs, databases, social media presentations; attending a study group;contributing to an academic online discussion; writing papers; reading articles; conducting research; engaging in small group work.

Course Prerequisites

INFO 281 has no prequisite requirements.

Course Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  1. Describe cultural values and communication styles among various regional groups.
  2. Identify specific communication styles including direct and indirect communication, cultural norms for making decisions and solving conflict, the role of history in creating culture, differing perceptions of power and gender roles, implications of individualistic and collective groupings, the importance of context, and other cultural influences on communication.
  3. Recognize various dominant and non-dominant co-cultures that exist in North America and other places where students live.
  4. Analyze play and workspace challenges related to culture.
  5. Practically demonstrate effective practices of listening, observing, interpreting and conversing with colleagues and clients from various cultures.
  6. Apply intercultural communication skills in adapting individual career paths and solving culture-related job challenges.
  7. Demonstrate cultural literacy in articulating world trends.

Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes)

INFO 281 supports the following core competencies:

  1. C Recognize the diversity (such as cultural and economic) in the clientele and employees of an information organization and be familiar with actions the organization should take to address this diversity.
  2. M Demonstrate oral and written communication skills necessary for professional work including collaboration and presentations.


No Textbooks For This Course.

Grading Scale

The standard SJSU School of Information Grading Scale is utilized for all iSchool courses:

97 to 100 A
94 to 96 A minus
91 to 93 B plus
88 to 90 B
85 to 87 B minus
82 to 84 C plus
79 to 81 C
76 to 78 C minus
73 to 75 D plus
70 to 72 D
67 to 69 D minus
Below 67 F


In order to provide consistent guidelines for assessment for graduate level work in the School, these terms are applied to letter grades:

  • C represents Adequate work; a grade of "C" counts for credit for the course;
  • B represents Good work; a grade of "B" clearly meets the standards for graduate level work;
    For core courses in the MLIS program (not MARA) — INFO 200, INFO 202, INFO 204 — the iSchool requires that students earn a B in the course. If the grade is less than B (B- or lower) after the first attempt you will be placed on administrative probation.  You must repeat the class the following semester. If -on the second attempt- you do not pass the class with a grade of B or better (not B- but B) you will be disqualified.
  • A represents Exceptional work; a grade of "A" will be assigned for outstanding work only.

Students are advised that it is their responsibility to maintain a 3.0 Grade Point Average (GPA).

University Policies

General Expectations, Rights and Responsibilities of the Student

As members of the academic community, students accept both the rights and responsibilities incumbent upon all members of the institution. Students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with SJSU's policies and practices pertaining to the procedures to follow if and when questions or concerns about a class arises. See University Policy S90-5 at More detailed information on a variety of related topics is available in the SJSU catalog at In general, it is recommended that students begin by seeking clarification or discussing concerns with their instructor. If such conversation is not possible, or if it does not serve to address the issue, it is recommended that the student contact the Department Chair as a next step.

Dropping and Adding

Students are responsible for understanding the policies and procedures about add/drop, grade forgiveness, etc. Refer to the current semester's Catalog Policies section at Add/drop deadlines can be found on the current academic year calendars document on the Academic Calendars webpage at The Late Drop Policy is available at Students should be aware of the current deadlines and penalties for dropping classes.

Information about the latest changes and news is available at the Advising Hub at

Consent for Recording of Class and Public Sharing of Instructor Material

University Policy S12-7,, requires students to obtain instructor's permission to record the course and the following items to be included in the syllabus:

  • "Common courtesy and professional behavior dictate that you notify someone when you are recording him/her. You must obtain the instructor's permission to make audio or video recordings in this class. Such permission allows the recordings to be used for your private, study purposes only. The recordings are the intellectual property of the instructor; you have not been given any rights to reproduce or distribute the material."
    • It is suggested that the syllabus include the instructor's process for granting permission, whether in writing or orally and whether for the whole semester or on a class by class basis.
    • In classes where active participation of students or guests may be on the recording, permission of those students or guests should be obtained as well.
  • "Course material developed by the instructor is the intellectual property of the instructor and cannot be shared publicly without his/her approval. You may not publicly share or upload instructor generated material for this course such as exam questions, lecture notes, or homework solutions without instructor consent."

Academic integrity

Your commitment, as a student, to learning is evidenced by your enrollment at San Jose State University. The University Academic Integrity Policy F15-7 at requires you to be honest in all your academic course work. Faculty members are required to report all infractions to the office of Student Conduct and Ethical Development. The Student Conduct and Ethical Development website is available at

Campus Policy in Compliance with the American Disabilities Act

If you need course adaptations or accommodations because of a disability, or if you need to make special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please make an appointment with me as soon as possible, or see me during office hours. Presidential Directive 97-03 at requires that students with disabilities requesting accommodations must register with the Accessible Education Center (AEC) at to establish a record of their disability.

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