Course Description

This online course is 36 learning hours over twelve weeks, including 7.5 hours of live online sessions. It is recommended that students spend a minimum of 3 hours each week on coursework. 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 a real game-changer for me, helping me realize how much more there is to interacting with the world around me. I think most of us take for granted what is needed to successfully navigate our way through this life. For me, being a student in this course rejuvenated my drive to be a better manager for the people I work with. The best part of the course was the Cross Cultural Interview Report, providing us with the opportunity to learn so many interesting new things about another culture, different in many ways, but also surprisingly similar. I highly recommend this course to anyone wanting to become a better overall communicator."

~ Staff Sgt. Kim Robinson, Halifax Regional Police

"An amazing course! So much to learn in a short period of time. I enjoy the further information provided for further reading and have ordered many books online. I loved the setup of the course, easy reading and listening. The course provided me with a different outlook on how we perceive others, how to communicate more effectively within my own culture plus other cultures, managing emotions, conflicts, verbal and non-verbal communication, the power of communication. I very much enjoyed the course and would definitely recommend to others. I had a fantastic instructor, who was very helpful and responsive when needed."

~ Holly Norman, General Manager, Scotia Stone Products Ltd.

"I would highly recommend this course to anyone who works in a diverse work environment that would like to professionally advance in the communication field. This course assists in communicating appropriately and with an open mind with those of a different culture. It teaches why some communication styles may be offensive to other cultures and ways to correct it. Education and self-awareness is a huge part of intercultural communication and taking this course assists in understanding."

~ Olivia Boudreau

Enrol Now - Select a section to enrol in
Section Title
Interpersonal and Intercultural Communication
Online - Self-Paced
Sep 06, 2024 to Nov 29, 2024
Online - Scheduled
5:30PM to 7:00PM
Sep 19, 2024 to Nov 07, 2024
Schedule and Location
Total Learning Hours
  • Online Campus - Atlantic Time
Instruction Delivery Method(s)
Course Fee(s)
Tuition non-credit $1,095.00
Required Software
A webcam and microphone/headset will be required for the live sessions.
Reading List / Textbook

There are no required textbooks to be purchased for this course. All readings will be available within the course platform.

Section Notes

This course has scheduled written assignments and discussions within the term time frame. There will also be 5 facilitated online sessions - click on View Details for dates. *Please note: Live session dates may be subject to change based on instructor schedule.* Attendance at live sessions is required to obtain the full participation grade for the course.

The course site will be open at 4:00 PM Atlantic Time on the course start date.

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