Course Description

This online course is 36 learning hours over twelve weeks. It is recommended that students spend a minimum of 3 hours each week on course work. Students may choose to complete more hours of work on the course in order to explore the content in more depth. 

This course brings together the best theories and practices of communication between people in society. As the role of culture, identity, and perception is crucial in communication, we will start the course with exploring these concepts and examining how they shape the way people think, speak, and behave. You will also explore communication models, styles and strategies of effective communication, as well as critically analyze verbal and nonverbal behaviour. In addition, you will develop persuasion skills and techniques of managing emotions to become more confident and successful in communication. You will also learn to negotiate, avoid barriers to effective interpersonal and intercultural communication, and manage interpersonal conflicts in everyday life.

Course Outline

Week 1: Introducing interpersonal communication

This module will identify personal and professional benefits from studying communication theories and look deeply into the nature, elements, and principles of interpersonal communication.

Week 2: Culture, worldview, and communication

This module examines differences in cultural values and the challenges of intercultural communication that accompany them. It also focuses on the principles of effective intercultural communication and possible ways to avoid miscommunication between representatives of different cultures.

Week 3: Identity (considering self), perception (perceiving others), and communication

This module explains how our identity and perception influence our communication with others. It also explores the key concepts connected with identity and perception. A special focus is put on the ways of forming impressions, keeping our face during communication, and improving our on-line self-representation.

Week 4: Language in interpersonal communication

This module looks at the role of language in communication and the relationships among language, thought, and culture. It also explores verbal techniques that help to convey messages clearly and effectively in order to avoid misinterpretation by other individuals or groups of people in the communication process.

Week 5: Nonverbal communication

This module will reveal the secrets of body, facial, eye, and touch messages. It will also have a close look at vocal cues, space, touch, and appearance. In addition, it will explain the role of silence in interpersonal communication and examine the cultural differences in nonverbal behaviours.

Week 6: Developing interpersonal communication competencies

This module will explain the principles of appropriate, effective, and ethical behavior. It will also focus on different types of messages, challenges of interpersonal online communication, and effective ways of dealing with verbally aggressive people.

Week 7: Communication styles and linguistic strategies for effective communication

This module focuses on interpersonal politeness and power. It explains the main principles of conversation, types of communication styles in different cultures, and linguistic strategies for effective communication. A special focus is put on the dangers and benefits of self-disclosure and the challenges of online communication.

Week 8: Listening in interpersonal communication

This module explains listening stages and the barriers to effective listening. It also explores various listening styles and the methods of adjusting our own listening style depending on the purpose of communication. In addition, it shows how listening with cultural and gender sensitivity improves our relationships and helps to achieve a better understanding.

Week 9: Power and influence

This module explores the concept of power and the relationships among power, interest, privilege, and culture. It also explains the principles of using power in relationships and the ways of avoiding power influence. In addition, it looks at the types of the misuse of power and the issues of dominance in intercultural communication.

Week 10: Managing emotions

This module looks deeply into the characteristics of emotional messages, cultural differences in expressing emotions, and the barriers to effective communication of emotions. It explains how to develop emotional competence in order to avoid these barriers and become a better communicator.

Week 11: Relationships in the workplace

This module explains how to establish healthy relationships with peers, supervisors, and subordinates at work. A special focus is put on developing strategies of effective communication in the workplace, creating a supportive environment, and coping with workplace abuse and harassment.

Week 12: Conflict resolution

This module explains the nature, reasons, principles, and effects of conflicts. It also explores the cultural and gender differences in the approaches to conflict and discusses the strategies of effective conflict resolution. A special focus is put on verbal aggressiveness, argumentative strategies, and politeness in conflict.

What You Will Learn

On completion of this course, students are expected to have the necessary knowledge and skills to successfully participate in interpersonal and intercultural interactions. More specifically, you will be able to:

  • demonstrate an understanding of the processes, models, and functions of communication, and apply the main theories and frameworks of interpersonal communication to real-life situations;
  • understand the interrelationships among a world view, language, identity, perception, and culture, as well as the differences in cultural values and their connection with communication styles;
  • analyze and interpret other peoples’ communication behaviours, as well as your own culture and its influence on your verbal and nonverbal behaviour;
  • understand the importance of mutual respect, and interpersonal and intercultural sensitivity for effective communication;
  • examine specific interpersonal experiences and contexts to learn the ways of effective interpersonal and intercultural communication;
  • recognize the face systems and linguistic strategies used in the process of interpersonal and intercultural communication;
  • distinguish various communication styles and know the ways of avoiding miscommunication;
  • know the cultural approaches to conflict and the ways to effectively manage conflict situations in settings characterized by the diversity of race, language, and culture;
  • demonstrate effective interpersonal and intercultural communication skills, including listening and verbal/nonverbal behaviours.


Conflict Resolution

This course provides learners with the opportunity to earn a microcredential. A microcredential is evidence of a skill or competency that is employment related. Dalhousie microcredentials are developed in collaboration with employers, industries, and/or organizations that relate to the content. A microcredential can be displayed on social media pages, digital resumes, personal webpages, and in email signatures. To earn the microcredential in this course, learners will need to successfully complete a competency-based assessment.

To learn more about microcredentials and how they can enhance your learning portfolio, watch this 30-second YouTube video (video opens in a new window).


For more Public Safety Communicators courses click here.

The Faculty of OLCD recommends an intermediate level of English language proficiency for the most effective learning and participation in our online and face-to-face courses. A list of minimum recommended scores on some common English tests can be found on our website. If you have questions about your English language proficiency and ability to succeed in this course, please contact openlearning@dal.ca.

Recommended For

This course is recommended for anyone wishing to develop or enhance their communication skills.


“The Interpersonal and Intercultural Communication Course was one of the most influential courses I have taken during my seven-year journey of continuous learning. This course has taught me to be a more effective communicator, not only at my workplace with colleagues, superiors, and those I'm supervising, but as a husband, father, and with people I meet in everyday life. I've learned the importance of understanding other cultures and worldviews in order to better communicate with those around me, and how our identities and perceptions influence our communications with others. We examined verbal and non-verbal communication in depth as well as content relevant to the new world we live in; online communication. The bi-weekly live group discussions were engaging and thought provoking. I would highly recommend this course to anybody who wants to better their professional and personal lives.”

~ Ken Rogers

“Interpersonal and Intercultural Communication was my reintroduction to formal learning after many years. The format and instructor’s availability provided me with both the structure and flexibility required for success as a person working in an unpredictable industry. The coursework moved at a manageable pace, with easy-to-digest modules, and interactive forums for group discussions. I believe the facilitated group discussions were a great asset, creating a comfortable and open environment for participants from a variety of backgrounds to share their thoughts and experiences. I would encourage anyone seeking to improve their communication skills, or understand more about the ways we communicate, to consider taking this course and participate to the fullest.”

~ Erin McGuire

“During my recent participation in the “Interpersonal and Intercultural Communication” course through Dalhousie’s Faculty of Open Learning and Career Development, I was able to gain many new skills to apply in both my professional and personal lives. I was challenged to think about and assess my current communication culture, worldview, and bias influences, evaluating them on a deeper level than I had ever thought of them before. From the assigned readings to the group discussions and written assignments the synergy of information in this course was top notch. I highly recommend this course to any and all professionals looking to increase their effectiveness in any area of verbal or nonverbal communication.”

~ Jennifer Isaak

Enrol Now - Select a section to enrol in
Section Title
Interpersonal and Intercultural Communication
Online - Self-Paced
Sep 08, 2023 to Nov 30, 2023
Total Learning Hours
Instruction Delivery Method(s)
Course Fee(s)
Tuition non-credit $1,045.00
Required Software
 A webcam and microphone will be required for the live sessions.
Reading List / Textbook
All readings will be available within the course platform, Brightspace. You will not need to purchase additional texts.
Section Notes

This course has scheduled written assignments and scheduled discussions within the term time frame. Days and times of scheduled meetings will be announced at a future date. Scheduled sessions: students who are unable to attend live sessions will be able to view a recorded version. Course syllabus will be available on the course site.

Participants in this course are eligible for a T2202 tax receipt. In order to receive a tax receipt, you must put your Social Insurance Number into the profile section of your student account. If you do not add your Social Insurance Number, you will not receive a tax receipt. T2202 tax receipts will be available for you to download from your account at the end of February of the following calendar year.

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