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Discussion Forum

Activity: Medium and Message Effectiveness

Send the same message to four friends, but use a different medium for each person. For example, ask the question "How's it going?" Use the following media:

  • E-mail
  • Instant message
  • Text message
  • Telephone
Notice how each response differs and what that might say about the nature of the medium.

Activity: Social Media Analysis

Construct a diary of the ways you use social media in a three-day period. For each instance when you use social media (e-mail, social networking website, phone, Twitter, etc.), describe the following:

  1. The kind(s) of social media you use
  2. The nature of the communication (e.g., "Wrote on friend's Facebook wall," "Reminded roommate to pick up dinner on the way home")
  3. The type of need you are trying to satisfy (information, relational, identity, entertainment)

Based on your observations, describe the types of media you use most often and the importance of social media in satisfying your communication needs.

Activity: Fictitious Characters with Intercultural Communication Struggles

Watch a movie or television program that highlights characters facing an intercultural communication barrier. Define the barrier and then make three to five recommendations for improving intercultural competence in these situations.

Activity: Tips to Deal with "Hot Spots" in Cultural Communication: Practical or Impractical?

Schuler, A. J. 2003. Tips for successful cross cultural communication. Schuyler Solutions. http://www.schulersolutions.com/cross_cultural_communication.html (accessed February 24, 2010).

Review the tips for getting started when communicating with those from another culture, then review the potential “hot spots.” Answer the following questions:

  1. Which recommendation would you find the most difficult to overcome, based on your current communication style?
  2. Based on your own travels or dealings with others from another culture, what "hot spots" have you recognized? Explain any other communication issues not noted in this article.
  3. Do a search to find a culture where you would need to be sensitive about (a) appropriate topics to discuss in public, (b) use of silence, or (c) sequencing elements in conversation. Explain your findings.


Journal Prompts

Activity: Media Fast

Gain insight about the role of mediated communication in your life by going on a "media fast." For a twenty-four-hour period, restrict your communication to only face-to-face interactions. Avoid all print and electronic channels: telephone, TV and radio, the Internet. Then explore the impact of mediated communication by describing both the negative and positive effects of life without media. Consider how you could modify your everyday life to enhance its quality by modifying the ways you use media.

Activity: Intercultural Perception-Checking

  1. Analyze your perceptions in a situation that you are dealing with or you have dealt with involving someone from another culture. You can also write about a fictitious situation.
  2. Explain the theme of the interaction. What did the person say or do that triggered your initial perception?
  3. What was your reaction to what the person was saying?
  4. Using one of the cultural norms that you have learned, what are two other reasons why the person might have behaved or said what he or she did?


  1. Keiko, who sits next to me in my Calculus class, would not raise her hand to ask the professor a question about a problem that she couldn’t solve. She asked me if I would ask the professor instead.
  2. My initial reaction was confusion. Why couldn't she just raise her hand and tell the professor that she was confused? Students in American classes do this all the time.
  3. Keiko is from a collective culture that is also high power distance. She is used to having a lot of support from people who are in her immediate community. Keiko also comes from a culture that respects professors' authority, so she worries about what the professor will think of her if she admits that she doesn't understand.

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