Interpersonal Communications Across Cultures

I.     Course Prefix/Number: SPE 115

       Course Name: Interpersonal Communications Across Cultures

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite

EGL 101 or SPE 103 or consent of instructor

III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course studies the communication process: communication as action, as interaction, as transaction, and focuses on development, understanding and application of critical aspects of interpersonal communications involving the self and persons from similar backgrounds, and the self and persons from different cultures. Interpersonal communications situations include relationships, conflict/resolution, and power.

IV.   Learning Objectives

  1. The student will have the opportunity to participate in, evaluate and be evaluated in oral presentation and structured, role-played interpersonal, intercultural communications situations employing variables of age, gender, background and culture, as well as discuss and present pertinent information.
  2. The student will be able to define in theory/practice the nature and principals of interpersonal communication.
  3. The student will be able to define in theory/practice the intercultural variables of interpersonal communications.
  4. The student will be exposed to a wide range of cultures and their behaviors in interpersonal situations.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

  1. nature/overview and principles of interpersonal communications
  2. multicultural perspectives of interpersonal communications: variations in style, vocabulary, approaches, concepts of respect
  3. self: perceptions, awareness, listening
  4. messages: verbal, non-verbal, emotion in, context of
  5. formal and informal interpersonal communication situations involving persuasive principles and argumentation strategies
    1. in one to one setting
    2. in front of or as part of team or group setting

VII.  Methods of Instruction

  1. instructor lecture/class discussion based on text and supplemental readings, class activities
  2. written assignments based on videotapes, text, guest speakers, supplemental readings (see XIV)
  3. participation in/evaluation of structured role playing situations, class activities, oral presentations

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

You will be evaluated and graded in the following areas: 1) class activities, i.e. knowledgeable participation in class discussion and delivery of “mini-lectures” based on readings; 2) role-playing (student as player); 3) written assignments, chapter quizzes, and oral/written analyses of role-played situations (student as observer). Attendance will affect the final grade as explained in IX.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

TEXTBOOK: MESSAGES, Building Interpersonal Communication Skills (4th edition) by: Joseph A. DeVito

They are alphabetized by title and may be expanded; (specific material will be selected/assigned when semester schedule is fully developed).

AMERICAN CULTURAL PATTERNS, A Cross-Cultural Perspective, revised edition Edward C. Stewart and Milton J. Bennet

HANDBOOK OF INTERCULTURAL TRAINING, 2nd edition Dan Landis and Rabi W. Bhagat, editors

LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION, AND CULTURE, Current Directions Edited by Stella Ting-Toomey, Felipe Korzenny

INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION, A Reader (6th edition) Larry A. Samovar, Richard E. Porter

A TESOL Professional Anthology: Culture

Voluntad Publishers, Inc., a subsidiary of National Textbook Company


WHEN CULTURES COLLIDE, Managing Successfully Across Cultures
A major new edition to the global guide
Richard D. Lewis

Video Tapes

Diversity and Conflict Management
(Oakton Video Tape # 6024)

Interpersonal Dynamics: Getting Along and Getting Through
(Oakton Video Tape VT 68111)

World of Gestures
(Oakton Video Tape #4388)

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

XI.   Other Course Information

Attendance Policy:

  • 3 absences (no penalty); FOR A CLASS WHICH MEETS THREE TIMES PER WEEK
  • 2 absences (no penalty): FOR A CLASS WHICH MEETS TWO TIMES PER WEEK
  • 2 absences (no penalty): DURING THE SEVEN WEEK SUMMER SESSION
  • 1 absence (no penalty): FOR A CLASS WHICH MEETS ONCE PER WEEK
  • Four lates and/or earlys and/or sleeping during class will be counted as one absence.
  • Don’t waste your absences!!

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.