missing image


Quick Links

Course Materials


Since there are no formal prerequisites for the course, you can concentrate on what you learn without worrying about whether a previously formed foundation has become too shaky to build upon now. On the other hand, the course is interdisciplinary and relevant to real life. So it should be fairly easy to connect what you learn here to other ideas you have picked up along the way, through taking courses or through your own everyday experiences. To do well you need to be able to read carefully on a college level, to think in a fairly focused way about what you read, and to respond to questions about the reading assignments, including the computer-graded multiple choice and true/false lesson assignment questions.

Course Outcomes

If you do your work well, when you conclude the course, you should have gained a greater appreciation of what is involved in the complex process of intercultural communication. More specifically, you should be able to discuss the following questions and to give examples to illustrate your explanations:

  1. What must we take into account if we want to learn how to communicate appropriately and effectively with members of other societies?
  2. How does culture shape communication and social interaction in general?
  3. What values, beliefs, and attitudes seem to shape the interactions and communications of members of mainstream middle-class American society? And how do these patterns compare and contrast with those of other societies with which you are familiar?

Course Materials

Note: Both books are available through the BYUStore.

(Back to top)

Course Organization

To do well in the course, you should expect to invest approximately three hours in each individual lesson, plus approximately ten additional hours preparing for and taking the final examination.

Lesson Activities

  1. Read the instructor’s introduction to the lesson.
  2. Complete the reading assignment.
  3. Review the concepts and terms mentioned in the reading assignment.
  4. Write a carefully constructed and coherent 250-500 word essay in response to the reading assignment.
  5. Post the essay on the Essay Discussion Board in the Course Resources so other Independent Study students taking this course can benefit from your insights.
  6. Read at least one of the other essays posted on the Essay Discussion Board—if available—and look for opportunities to develop your ideas, redirect your thinking, and increase your understanding.
  7. Study the instructor’s discussion of the reading assignment, again looking for further opportunities to develop your ideas, redirect your thinking, and increase your understanding.
  8. Submit answers to a closed-book lesson assignment consisting of 10 computer-graded multiple choice and true/false questions on the reading assignment.


Read with the essay assignment and Internet discussion in mind (see below). Take time to think as you read, to ponder the potential importance of what is being said (or the lack of it), to engage in an imaginary dialogue with the author, to agree or disagree. Look for themes and concepts that appear repeatedly in the readings, pay attention to italicized terms and topical headings, and let the less important details take care of themselves. Be mindful of particular passages or points that provoke a response in you. You may take notes or make notes in the margins or underline if you like as you read, but it isn’t required. Do whatever is effective for you, especially whatever will help you write an effective essay and prepare to participate in the class discussion.


You will complete 13 lesson assignments that count toward your grade (you must score with at least 70% to pass them).

You will also have the opportunity to complete 13 ungraded but valuable discussion-board essays, and read what others have posted.


According to Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, an essay is an analytic or interpretive literary composition, usually dealing with its subject from a limited or personal point of view. An essay, further, is an initial tentative effort, the result or product of an attempt, of an often experimental effort to perform. It is an act of weighing, of engaging in a struggle to test or try out something. In this course, your essays are simply organized attempts at creating carefully constructed and coherent responses to the reading assignments.

Since each essay is limited to 250-500 words, it will be helpful to focus on specific passages or points in the reading assignment which prompt a particular response from you, which:

  1. raise a question
  2. create some productive confusion
  3. lead to an insightful observation
  4. provoke an opinion—agreement or disagreement, praise or criticism
  5. cause you to recall an illustrative example or a cross-cultural comparison

You might also find it helpful to write about the reading assignment in terms of one or more of the items identified by the following adaptation of Richard Koch’s evaluation heuristic:

Writing and Format

Organize your essays into paragraphs (approximately 3-5 paragraphs of 3-5 sentences each might be a good general guideline). In other words, organize your thoughts and maintain a relatively sharp focus. Make reference to specific statements in the reading assignment, but keep quoting to a bare minimum. Assume an audience which has also read the same material—colleagues currently enrolled in the course, an audience which will have the reading assignment at hand. An audience of colleagues also means you are free to make appropriate and effective use of concepts and terms from this course, which will allow you the opportunity to learn to think and write a little more like someone becoming familiar with the field of linguistic anthropology.

Take the time to improve your writing throughout the course. Strive to develop the ability to make effective use of words, phrases, sentences, and paragraphs and to connect ideas in ways which evidence sound and rigorous thinking. At the same time, feel free to be creative, to present your written responses to the reading assignments in various forms.

Depending on your experience and expertise and on how long it takes you to complete a particular reading assignment, you should expect to invest approximately 40-75 minutes writing each 250-500-word essay.

Reading Essay Discussion Board Postings

You are urged to read and discuss essays posted in the Essay Discussion Board—to share what you think and feel so others can benefit from your response to the reading assignment and to lend your attention, in turn, to your colleagues, looking for opportunities to develop your ideas, redirect your thinking, and increase your understanding.

Discussions via the Discussion Board are more likely to promote “those illuminating moments that permanently warp the mind,” if you work with your colleagues to help create a hospitable atmosphere for open dialog—an environment where there is room for feeling as well as thinking, and where there is mutual respect for persons and opinions. Internet discussions are also more likely to be worthwhile and enjoyable if you are willing to

  1. make specific reference to particular passages in the reading assignment so others can see exactly what you’re talking about.
  2. refrain from dominating a discussion so that others will be allowed and encouraged to take the opportunity to participate as well.
  3. express appreciation for the contributions of colleagues.
  4. disagree without being disagreeable.

It is important to note that in this independent study environment, the term “discussion” may seem like a misnomer because there may be no one else online to “discuss” with at this particular time. That does not negate the importance of reading others’ responses, and of posting your own for the benefit of future students who may want to respond to your ideas. Participate in the discussion, even if it occurs in a “time-warp.”

Post your essay on the Essay Discussion Board for each lesson.

Note: You may see journal entries on the essay/discussion board. Please make sure you read the essays and not the journal entries as you read other students’ essays.

(Back to top)


Submit answers to a comprehensive closed-book final examination consisting of 70 computer-graded multiple choice and true/false questions—which are taken from the computer-graded assignments for each lesson—so use the lesson assignments as practice for the final examination. You may re-take the Final Exam one time (for a total of two attempts), but there is a fee to do so.

(Back to top)


Your performance will be evaluated based on a combination of 1) achieving certain basic standards, and 2) the total points earned, which will be translated into the final letter grade for the course.

Assignment Value
13 Lesson Assignments 78%
Final Exam 22%

Basic Standards

You must complete the reading assignment for each and every lesson (question #1 of each of the 13 computer-graded lesson assignments asks whether or not you have completed the reading assignment for that lesson).

You must complete the writing assignment for each and every lesson (question #2 of each of the 13 computer-graded assignments asks whether or not you have written a 250-500 word essay in response to the reading assignment for that lesson and posted it on the discussion board).

You must achieve a minimum score of 70% on each of the 13 computer-graded assignments (7 of the 10 questions answered correctly).

You must achieve a minimum score of 70% the computer-graded final examination (49 of the 70 questions answered correctly).

Note: You may retake each of the 13 computer-graded lesson assignments once, for a fee, if your first attempt does not reach the minimum score of 70%.

Your letter grade will be determined using these percentages.

Grading Scale
A 100–95
A– 94–90
B+ 89–87
B 86–83
B– 82–80
C+ 79–77
C 76–73
C– 72–70
D+ 69–67
D 66–63
D– 62–60
E 59 or below

(Back to top)

Copyright Notice

The materials used in connection with this online course are only for the use of students enrolled in this course for purposes associated with this course and may not be retained or further disseminated. Any copying or further dissemination of these materials may be subject to applicable U.S. Copyright Laws. For questions or more information, please visit the BYU Copyright Licensing Office website.

“Members of the BYU community who willfully disregard this Copyright Policy or the BYU Copyright Guidelines place themselves individually at risk of legal action and may incur personal liability for their conduct. The unauthorized use or distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, may subject individuals to civil and criminal liabilities, including actual and statutory damages, costs and fees of litigation, fines, and imprisonment

Violations of the Copyright Policy may result in university disciplinary action including termination of university enrollment or employment.” (Emphasis added. Excerpt taken from the BYU Copyright Policy)

(Back to top)

University Policy - Title IX Statement

Preventing & Responding to Sexual Misconduct

In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Brigham Young University prohibits unlawful sex discrimination against any participant in its education programs or activities. The university also prohibits sexual harassment—including sexual violence—committed by or against students, university employees, and visitors to campus. As outlined in university policy, sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking are considered forms of "Sexual Misconduct" prohibited by the university.

University policy requires all university employees in a teaching, managerial, or supervisory role to report all incidents of Sexual Misconduct that come to their attention in any way, including but not limited to face-to-face conversations, a written class assignment or paper, class discussion, email, text, or social media post. Incidents of Sexual Misconduct should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator at t9coordinator@byu.edu or (801) 422-8692. Reports may also be submitted through EthicsPoint at https://titleix.byu.edu/report or 1-888-238-1062 (24-hours a day).

BYU offers confidential resources for those affected by Sexual Misconduct, including the university’s Victim Advocate, as well as a number of non-confidential resources and services that may be helpful. Additional information about Title IX, the university’s Sexual Misconduct Policy, reporting requirements, and resources can be found at http://titleix.byu.edu or by contacting the university’s Title IX Coordinator.

(Back to top)

Accessibility Notice

BYU is committed to providing a working and learning atmosphere which reasonably accommodates persons with disabilities who are otherwise qualified to participate in BYU's programs and activities. In this spirit, BYU Independent Study aspires to improve web accessibility for users. While not required by law, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Levels A and AA provide a wide range of helpful recommendations to make Web content more accessible. BYU Independent Study strives to apply WCAG 2.0 recommendations where feasible, but may deviate from any recommendations that would result in an undue hardship to BYU Independent Study or alterations to program and course content and objectives. If you have questions about accessibility, or if you need to report problems with any accessibility features please see our Accessibilities and Accommodations Web Page.

(Back to top)

Course Policies

These policies are specific to this course. For additional information about general policies, please refer to Independent Study Course Policies page.


13 computer-graded lesson assignments (must pass with 70%), may be resubmitted once for a fee; 13 ungraded discussion-board essays

Resubmit an assignment for a fee.


1 computer-graded exam, may retake once for a fee. You must pass the final exam to earn credit for the course.

Retake an exam for a fee.

Getting Help

Please use the help menu in this course to contact Independent Study or your instructor. You can find a list of free tutors available to BYU Independent Study students on the Free Tutoring Services website.

Note: The Harold B. Lee Library website provides a number of online resources and librarians are available via phone, chat, and email to answer questions about library-related issues.

Inappropriate Use of Course Content

All course materials (e.g., outlines, handouts, syllabi, exams, quizzes, media, lecture content, audio and video recordings, etc.) are proprietary. Students are prohibited from posting or selling any such course materials without the express written permission of BYU Independent Study. To do so is a violation of the Brigham Young University Honor Code.

Copyright © 2016 Brigham Young University. All rights reserved.

Published by the
Department of Independent Study
Division of Continuing Education
Brigham Young University
120 MORC
Provo, Utah 84602-1514