Module Catalogue 2022/23

HSS2400 : Developing Intercultural Awareness

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Roy Smith
  • Lecturer: Dr Rachel Clements, Dr Franck Michel
  • Owning School: Philosophical Studies & Combined Honours
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



1. To encourage students to develop their understanding of the concepts of ‘culture’ and ‘intercultural competence’ found in academic literature.
2. To provide an understanding of the importance of cultural awareness in collaboration and communication
3. To provide a practical experience of international collaboration through a COIL activity with a partner institution
4. To provide an opportunity to develop skills of team working, presentation and research in secondary sources
5. Through illustrative thematic case studies to allow students to develop an appreciation of the importance of intercultural communication competence.

Outline Of Syllabus

1. The module will commence with an introductory theme introducing concepts of culture, intercultural communication, cultural sensitivity. Topics of current interest (eg decolonisation) will be examined.
•Introductory material on reflective writing, presentations and team working
•Critical evaluation of definitions of culture on a scale ranging from individuals to nation states
•Examination of students’ own perceptions and conceptions of culture
•Critical examination of a range of models of intercultural communication competence
•Relationships of such models to the students’ own academic disciplines
This will be a levelling-up exercise given the diverse nature of the prior experience of the Combined Honours second year cohort.

2. There will then be a series of thematic examinations of examples of successful and unsuccessful cultural interactions. These will commence with tutor-led case studies, and then increasingly independent student-led exploration of others. Themes to be included in the first iteration of this module may be modified or replaced subsequent to evaluation in practice and varying staff interests. Students will be expected to apply theory from the first part of the module and their diverse subject backgrounds. Themes will be based on activity students will be engaged in during and after their degree: cultural issues around learning in their disciplines; carrying out humanities research in a culturally sensitive manner; working in a multicultural society.

3. Concurrently with the thematic material students will participate in a COIL experience linking with a cohort of students based at Loyola University in Baltimore MA, USA. The COIL exercise will involve international team working to analyse news coverage in specific US, UK and third country sources. The exercise will combine synchronous and asynchronous working. The product will be a structured online analytical report. This product will not be assessed for this module; students will be expected to incorporate reflection on the activity in their assessment.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

Students should be able to:
1. Apply concepts from academic discourse reflectively to their own development process in terms of cultural awareness, sensitivity and communication.
2. Apply concepts from academic discourse to their experience of international collaboration in the COIL element of the module.
3. Participate in and reflect on international collaboration on a specific project.
4. Be able to apply one or more models of intercultural communication to analysis of themes developed in the module.

Intended Skill Outcomes

1. Acquisition of skills of reflection on personal experience.
2. Development of skills of communication, collaboration and team work both with UK peers and peers from abroad.
3. Production of presentational outputs from academic activity.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture111:0011:00Information delivery
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion32:006:00Final presentational assessment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops112:0022:00Skills and applications
Guided Independent StudyReflective learning activity122:0024:00Reflective blog
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity62:0012:00Weekly thematic workshop preparation
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity62:0012:00Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) activity
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1113:00113:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The first of four themes in this module will focus on developing concepts of culture, cultural awareness and sensitivity, and intercultural communication. Concepts such as decolonisation will be introduced. Subsequent themes will apply these concepts in the context of: the academic curriculum followed in different CH subjects; approaches to research in the humanities; work in a global environment.

The Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) element is intended to provide practical experience of working with people from a different cultural background. The choice of US partners is partly pragmatic, as we already have a working relationship with Loyola University. This emphasis on cross cultural perspectives will be enhanced by the task chosen for action in the COIL element. This activity will feed into the assessed reflective diary kept by students. The COIL experience will explicitly challenge students to collaborate with students from the USA in producing a meaningful output related to the module aims.

Those students undertaking study abroad subsequent to this module will be prepared better for the intercultural learning to be gained for that experience. Those unable to undertake study abroad will have had the opportunity to experience international and intercultural working. This will illustrate the issues raised in the consideration of intercultural activity and the thematic elements of the module.

The thematic approach allows students to draw on different aspects of their subject-based academic knowledge (developing from 1st year). As a Combined Honours cohort there will be a rich mixture of such background knowledge within the group, allowing students to develop their ability to work in an interdisciplinary manner. The module trends from tutor-led/information focused at the start to student led/research focused at the end, allowing increasingly independent topic choice for the research-based element of thematic learning. The assessed presentational work will be the culmination of this activity.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Reflective log2A50Assessing personal development of intercultural awareness & skills throughout. 3000 words including formative and summative work.
Case study2A5020 min presentation: group & individual marks weighting to be negotiated by cohort; assess the application of theory to a CS.
Zero Weighted Pass/Fail Assessments
Description When Set Comment
Prof skill assessmntACOIL activity concurrent throughout the module. Participation monitored by reflective diary.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The reflective log is a natural way to foster personal insight and development. Using NU Reflect or Canvas individual discussions will allow staff to interact on a 1-1 basis with students concurrently with the assessment, offering feedback and suggestions for ways to take development forward. This is particularly true of the COIL element. Reflection will be lodged in the framework of intercultural communication learned in the early part of the module. Formative commentary in the earlier part of the module will lead to a summative assessment of the final episodes of reflection.

The group presentation of a case study will involve several skill sets – academically it will assess skills of analysis within theoretical frameworks from subject disciplines and from intercultural communication models; in terms of communication it will require concise, persuasive expression supported by strong academic referencing; in terms of team working it will require a high level of collaboration and self-management

Participation in the COIL activity is seen as an integral and fundamental part of the learning in the module. Although students might be able to complete a satisfactory reflective account of their learning from the module without this, the COIL element will add so much to this experience that it is seen as a compulsory pass/fail element.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2022/23 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2023/24 entry will be published here in early-April 2023. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.