Use of New Media in Intercultural Communication Classes: “I Have to Text My Classmate in China!”

Use of New Media in Intercultural Communication Classes: “I Have to Text My Classmate in China!”

Sachiyo Morinaga Shearman (East Carolina University, USA) and Mariko Eguchi (University of Shimane, Japan)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3784-7.ch006

Abstract

Since the term intercultural communication was first used by Edward T. Hall in 1959, more than half a century has passed, and the context of intercultural communication has gone through dramatic changes. With the advent of the internet and the digital media technologies, instructors can offer students computer-mediated intercultural communication using a variety of new media such as video-conferencing and instant messaging. Drawing from contact theory, learning cycle theory, and new media theory, the authors examine the use of computer-mediated intercultural communication, report various ways that new media are used in classrooms based on an online survey, discuss its benefit and limitations, and review a best practice example, a case of “Global Understanding Course” coordinated by East Carolina University and Global Partners in Education. The authors believe that integrating the use of new media in intercultural communication education helps prepare students for the global society.
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Main Focus Of The Chapter

The purpose of this chapter is to examine various uses of new media in intercultural communication courses in order to foster students’ intercultural communication competence. We will review three conventional approaches to intercultural communication education: the lecture, intercultural training, and study abroad programs. Then, we will examine the definition of new media and their characteristics, and possible theoretical frameworks which help us understand the use of new media in intercultural communication education by specifically analyzing computer-mediated intercultural contacts, and reviewing the process through experiential learning theory. We will share the results of the survey on the use of new media in intercultural communication classes. Various ways of incorporating new media in intercultural communication as well as some of the best practice examples are reviewed. We believe that integrating the use of new media in intercultural communication education help prepare our students for the global society and that investing in new platforms that enable international collaboration among educational institutions is beneficial for higher education institution and is necessary for the successful integration of the new media format into the curriculum.

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