SPEC 1619:  Intercultural Communication
BROOKLYN COLLEGE, Department of Speech Communication
Fall 2015
Section 1T3 (Course Code 14604), Tuesday, 2:15-3:30, 4121 Boylan
with “Thursday” meetings online
Dr. Foulger


Discussion Notes / Assignments (Class Moodle)

Course Description

This course explores the nature of communication within and between cultures. If we are shaped by our communication, we are also shaped by the culture in which we do that communication. Our culture shapes our expectations of others, the things we assume are normal and reasonable, the way we think, the ways in which we communicate, and the things we teach our children. This class will challenge students to thing about their own cultural assumptions while exploring the ways in which these assumptions differ from those held by people in other cultures. We will do this by exploring contemporary theory of intercultural communicaiton, applying qualitative communication research methodologies to both the participant observation of communication associated with other cultures and interrogation of our own cultural experience.


The Agar text is only available in hard copy, but is inexpensive ($15 online).  Online prices seem to be better than the bookstore’s price.

The Martin text and Nakayama text is expensive (about $140) in its paper edition. I recommend getting a electronic copy that runs on your computer, tablet, or e-reader. Both Barnes and Noble and Amazon rent the electronic version of the text for roughly half that price (about $70) and sell it for about $110.  Used hardcopy versions are more expensive.  You may find used copies available at better prices from other sources.

The electronic version works on computers and color tablets. Amazon supplies free Kindle software that you can download to your computer to read the text.  So does Barnes and Noble.  I read my copy on my iPad using the Kindle tablet application for iPad. Other e-book software should work with electronic editions available from other booksellers, including Barnes and Noble. I find the electronic version more readable than the text version, but it's your choice. The only option you don't have is to NOT read the assigned chapters in the text.

Additional Materials

Outcomes Assessment

Instructions for Accessing the Moodle Discussion/Learning Space

  1. Point your web browser at http://messageecologies.com/ed
  2. Click on "Login" at the bottom of the screen.
  3. If you haven't accessed this Moodle before.
    1. Press the "Create New Account" button in the right column of the login screen.
    2. You'll be asked to fill in a series of fields that include your user ID, password, e-mail address, location, etc. Fill them in as accurately as you can. Remember your userid and password. You will need them to log in again.
    3. When processing of this page completes you will be sent an e-mail at the address you specify. Open that e-mail and confirm your registration by pressing the confirmation link in the e--mail.
    4. When you submit this page you will enter the moodle environment. If you see a button marked courses, press it. You will see this course ("Intercultural Fall 2015") listed.
  4. If you are already registered for this Moodle, enter your user id and Password and then select "Intercultural Fall 2015".
  5. You will be asked for a key. It is "sic14604”. Pay attention to case. All letters must be written in lower case.

Course Rules

  1. Attendance is required for all classes, including all exercises and exams. Punctuality is much desired.
  2. Complete reading assignments, questions, and think assignments prior to coming to class. Be prepared to discuss readings.
  3. Write in your own words. Reference the ideas you use to the original sources. Plagiarism and cheating will are unacceptable.
  4. Unexcused late papers will be penalized 1/2 of a letter grade if one period late and one full grade thereafter.
  5. Like many of you, I come to Brooklyn College on the Subway. I endeavor to arrive on campus at least an hour before class every week, but I don't control the Subways. If I am late for class and you have not heard directly from me that class is cancelled, do not leave. Instead, form groups to discuss your questions from the reading assignments. I'll will ask you about those discussions WHEN I arrive.
  6. We have a lot to do during the semester. If I seek to end a discussion (often by saying "let's discuss this after class). I have a good reason for doing so. Please respect the rest of the class by deferring such discussion when I ask you to do so. If you are afraid you'll forget, write down a few words about the issue on a piece of paper. That's usually all you'll need.

Good Advice

  1. The reading and writing load for this course is moderate, but needs to be done. If you can't keep up with the readings, papers, or other assignments, you may want to drop the course early on and try again in another semester.
  2. Keep a copy of anything you submit, just in case the original gets lost.  It's good practice to write your questions and think assignments in a memo tool or text editor (but not a word processor) and doing a cut and paste from the original to the moodle.
  3. Write your name on the front of any assignment you submit on paper.
  4. Assuming you work on a computer, maintain backups of your paper in a reliable and convenient format. USB flash drives work on just about all computers now, can be readily obtained for less than $20.00, and are much less likely to fail than disks. Assume the worst. Maintain two backups. A virtual backup using Google Drive, Dropbox, or some similar service is a good idea.
  5. If at any time you find yourself confused or have questions, especially in terms of the writing assignments, please ask me (either in class or in private) for help. One person's question may help countless others in class. If you can't meet me during my office hours, we can probably find another time.
  6. Please speak with me confidentially if you have a disabling condition that may require some accommodation in class. I'm here to help.

Attendance Policy

Attendance is mandatory. The Brooklyn College Bulletin states that "Students are expected to attend all scheduled sessions of every class for which they register. Students late for class may be excluded from the room. An instructor may consider attendance and class participation in determining course grade." While I am unlikely to lock the door, I will take account of missed class time in computing grades. You should not, as a general note, ask me for "permission" to miss class. While I will try to be understanding of documented emergencies, the basic reality (which has more to do with your ability to learn when you aren't in class than anything else) is that absences make your grade grow smaller.