Logo Students

WMCO1010 – Intercultural Relations

2020 – MUIC term 1, Weekday attendance, North Ryde

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, any references to assessment tasks and on-campus delivery may no longer be up-to-date on this page.

Students should consult iLearn for revised unit information.

Find out more about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and potential impacts staff and students

General Information

Pdf icon Download as PDF
Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff Teacher
Dr Enda Murray
Contact via By email
Macquarie University International College
Contact staff member
Credit points Credit points
Prerequisites Prerequisites
Corequisites Corequisites
Co-badged status Co-badged status
Unit description Unit description

This unit considers a theoretical framework for the analysis of intercultural communication, revisits and reapplies some of the concepts introduced in WMMC1000 (formerly WMCO100). Students are introduced to Marshall McLuhan's notion of the global village and look at the importance of intercultural communication as part of the latest phase of globalisation. Lessons focus on the cultural, economic and political implications of intercultural communication across university settings, in the workplace, and in the media. The unit also explores international media flows and media image management. Approaches on how to increase social inclusivity and understanding are assessed in the context of how intercultural communication may be used as a tool in conflict situations.

Important Academic Dates

Information about important academic dates including deadlines for withdrawing from units are available at https://students.mq.edu.au/important-dates

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

  • ULO1: Explain basic knowledge of intercultural communication theory, including key issues and concepts, such as culture, global village, power, interpersonal and intergroup communication, conflict and conflict management
  • ULO2: Define cultural identity and develop intercultural understanding
  • ULO3: Identify creative ways to manage communications in intercultural settings.
  • ULO4: Assess political and social developments in the context of globalization and intercultural relations
  • ULO5: Use discipline specific terminology to communicate concepts and ideas relevant to this unit

Assessment Tasks

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Assessment details are no longer provided here as a result of changes due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Students should consult iLearn for revised unit information.

Find out more about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and potential impacts staff and students

Delivery and Resources

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Any references to on-campus delivery below may no longer be relevant due to COVID-19.

Please check here for updated delivery information: https://ask.mq.edu.au/account/pub/display/unit_status

Term Dates & College Calendar

Details of key dates during the term can be found on the Important Dates calendar.

Enrolment and Timetables

General timetable information is available via Macquarie University's Timetable page. 

Students will be able to enrol in units and register for classes via eStudent and also view their personal timetable. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that classes they have registered for do not clash.

Students are only permitted to attend classes in which they have registered via eStudent, unless they have written approval from the Student Services Manager. To seek approval, students must email muic-elc.admin@mq.edu.au or speak to a member of the Student Administration and Services Team at The College Student Desk (Ground floor, 8 Sir Christopher Ondaatje Avenue). Approval will only be granted in exceptional circumstances.

The last day to enrol, add or change units is Tuesday of Week 1. Changing groups is not possible after the enrolment period has concluded.

Guest Lecturer Presentations and Workshops

One or two Guest Lecturer presentations and/or workshops may be scheduled during the term. These sessions will take place outside of regular class time, usually in a lecture theatre on campus. In the session, a speaker (an expert or well-known academic in the field) will give a presentation on a particular topic related to the unit or field.

While attendance at guest lectures is not compulsory, and content covered is not examinable unless covered in regular classes, students are strongly encouraged to attend these sessions as they will:

  • help them to engage with and broaden their understanding of the discipline;
  • contextualise content covered in class by providing insights into recent research and workplace developments in the field;
  • provide opportunities for networking; and
  • provide experience of what lectures are like.

Specific details including time and venue for Guest Lecturer presentations and workshops will be posted in iLearn announcements and provided in class.

Recordings of these sessions may also be made available to students via iLearn.

Attendance Requirements – All Students

All students are expected to attend 100% of scheduled class time.

Attendance will be monitored in each lesson & students will be able to see their current attendance percentage to date and potential attendance percentage for each unit they have enrolled in via iLearn.

  • Current Attendance Percentage will reflect the percentage of classes a student has attended so far (based only on the lessons held to date).
  • Potential Attendance Percentage will reflect the percentage of classes a student can potentially attend by the end of the term, taking into consideration lessons attended and assuming the student also attends all future lessons scheduled (based only on the total number of lessons in the Term).

When a student is present for a part of a lesson (for example arrives late, leaves early, leaves the class frequently, particularly for lengthy periods), the teacher reserves the right to mark a student absent for that part of the lesson.

Public Holidays and Make-up Lessons

If any scheduled class falls on a public holiday, a make-up lesson will be scheduled, either online or face to face. Please check the iLearn announcements and your emails for details of the make-up lessons.

In Term 1, there will be no public holidays.

Technology Used and Required

  • Access to internet (available on Campus using Macquarie OneNet and in designated 8SCO Self-Access Computer Laboratories);
  • iLab - iLab is Macquarie University's personal computer laboratory on the Internet. It enables students to use the Microsoft Windows applications they require to do their university work from anywhere, anytime, on any device;
  • Access to Macquarie University Library catalogue (MultiSearch); and
  • Access to Microsoft Office Suite (available in 8SCO Self-Access Computer Laboratories and via iLab) software downloads page for full instructions.

Bringing Your Own Device (BYOD)

Macquarie University is BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) friendly and encourages students to bring their Windows or Mac devices to use on campus and during classes.

In some classes in this unit, you will need to have access to a mobile device, Office applications (Word, Excel and PowerPoint) and an Internet Browser of your choice. If you do not have your own device and computer access is required in a particular lesson, you may be able to borrow a laptop to use for the duration of the lesson.

As a Macquarie University student, you are entitled to free access to the Microsoft Office Suite, which you can access through iLab. If you have problems with this, please contact OneHelp.

If you do bring your own device, you will need to ensure that it is sufficiently charged as access to power points may not be available in the classrooms.


iLearn is Macquarie's online learning management system and a principal teaching and learning resource which will be used throughout the term. Students must log in to iLearn at least 3 times per week to access important information including: 

  • Announcements and News Forums - Teaching staff will communicate to the class using iLearn announcements. Announcements may also be emailed to students’ Macquarie University email address, but students should also check the News Forum regularly;
  • Attendance – current and potential attendance percentage for the Term;
  • Unit Guide and staff contact details;
  • Set unit readings available through MultiSearch (library);
  • Lesson materials and recordings where available;
  • Learning and teaching activities and resources, questions and solutions;
  • Assessment instructions, questions, marking criteria and sample tasks;
  • Assessment submission links such as Turnitin;
  • Links to support materials and services available at the University; and
  • Evaluation Surveys for the unit.

For any resource related iLearn questions contact your teacher. For any technical or support issues using iLearn, please contact the IT helpdesk (Ph. 02 9850 4357) or lodge a ticket using OneHelp

Useful Study Resources

StudyWise is an iLearn resource created by the Learning Skills Unit. This resource is specifically designed to help you to manage your studies, strengthen your study techniques, write effective assignments and improve your English language proficiency. Once you enrol in StudyWise, you can access it from your iLearn course list under the category "Student Support".

InfoWise will help you improve your research skills by teaching you how to use MultiSearch, decode citations, identify key search terms and use advanced search techniques.

Lib Guides provide students with links to electronic sources and websites that are good starting points for research in different fields or disciplines.

MultiSearch will connect you to Macquarie University Library and allow you to search library resources, databases, unit readings and past exam papers.

Macquarie University Library has released a mobile device app called libMQ. The app allows students to easily access MyLibrary (be notified about loans, renewals, holds and fees owing), book a computer, Library floor maps, see new books lists and search MultiSearch.

It can be downloaded from either Google Play or the App store.

Academic Language and Learning Workshops are designed to help you with Study Skills, Assignment Writing, Referencing and Academic Language.

Research resources provide information about:

Numeracy Support is provided by the Numeracy Centre. Students can attend these support classes on a drop-in basis as required.

Studiosity is a one-to-one personal study support service which may be made available via your iLearn unit. If available, you may use this service to get online study help and/or feedback on your assignment usually within 24 hours. If you are unsure whether this service is available in your unit or how to use this service, please check with your teacher. Please note that this is an external service and feedback provided is generic in nature (for example comments on grammar and cohesion) and may not be specific to the requirements of the task. If you require specific feedback on how your work aligns with the expectations of the unit or marking criteria, you should consult your teacher.

Unit Schedule

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

The unit schedule/topics and any references to on-campus delivery below may no longer be relevant due to COVID-19. Please consult iLearn for latest details, and check here for updated delivery information: https://ask.mq.edu.au/account/pub/display/unit_status




Content Covered





Assessment Task/Public Holidays


Introduction to the unit and its assessments


Globalisation has drawn people together in complex systems, created competition for resources and offered amazing opportunities to traverse the world. Does an assessment of Intercultural relations help make sense of global interconnectedness? How do we negotiate the complexities of cross cultural contact?






The theoretical field of intercultural relations began as an attempt to ensure contact was positive and constructive. How much does culture influence the way we see the world?

Reading: Chapter 1, Definitions of Culture

Reading: Chapter 1, Intercultural Praxis in the Context of Globalisation

In groups, we will attempt to make a culture collage and think about what culture is.



Week 1 Activities


Discussion of week 1 readings and other activities

Quiz 1


Rethinking the concept of globalisation: what does globalisation mean for individuals and nation states?

As McLuhan explicates in his notion of the global village, there is a trend for the homogenisation of lifestyles, cities, goods and even the arts across the world. Yet billions of people continue to lead traditional lives in villages and isolated communities. Working with these people requires a real ability to negotiate deep cultural challenges.

Reading: chapter 2: Understanding the Context of Globalization

Reading: chapter 2: Intercultural Dimensions of Economic, Political and Cultural Globalization

We will further discuss the notion of globalization and the notion of the global village. 


Presentation (choose to speak about one of the intercultural dimensions of globalization). 



Examining values, identity and perceptions of different people is the starting point for understanding between cultures. We will explore different kinds of identity.

Pre-Census Feedback

Reading: Chapter 4

We will discuss the notion of identity and how our identities influence intercultural communication.


Presentation (Cultural Space and Identity)


Week 2 Activities


Discussion of week 2 readings and other activities

Quiz 2 


Social class

Class plays a major role in shaping public spheres and therefore cross-cultural relations. On the other hand, social class is somewhat taboo in modern western societies and has been replaced by the notion of equal opportunity and classless societies – is there a connection between culture and class at all?

Reading: Chapter 3, From Race to Class and chapter 5 Class Differences in Intercultural Relationships

We will explore what role taste plays when communicating with people from other cultural backgrounds.


Presentation  (how class may be constructed through communication or choose a topic around class in interpersonal relationships)



Race and Ethnicity

We will explore the notions of race and ethnicity. How do the media influence our perceptions of race and ethnicity and how do perceptions of race/ethnicity shape the way we communicate across cultures?

Reading: Chapter 3

We will look at examples of representations of race and ethnicity.

Presentation (Race in the context of globalization)


Week 3 Activities


Discussion of week 3 readings and other activities

Quiz 3



What does it mean to be a man, what does it mean to be a woman? The answer to this question may be different across cultures, so what implications does gender have in workplaces, everyday life and communication?

Reading: Chapter 3

We will look at examples or representations of gender in the media.

Presentation (marking gender difference through communication or gender and power imbalance)



Is there a clash of civilizations as Huntington predicted? We will explore the role of religion in different parts of the world and identify how intercultural relations are affected by religious beliefs. To understand the role of religion in so called secular societies, it is useful to look at how law and politics are intertwined with religion.

Reading: Chapter 9: Religious Fundamentalism

We will further explore what role religion plays in international relations and look at current examples

Presentation (talk about religion and power, secularism and politics or religion and law)



Week 4 Activities


Discussion of week 4 readings and other activities

Quiz 4


Nationalism and belonging

Nationalism is one of the most important devices for creating a sense of belonging, yet the forces of globalisation and international communication have acted to undermine this powerful emotional concept.

Reading: Chapter 10, Challenges and Possibilities for Global Citizenship

We will look at the way our nationality influences us on our way to becoming global citizens. 

Presentation (present on the concept of belonging, social justice and citizenship or student to student empowerment for change)


Cultural Transition

Travel and living in new conditions typically leave people feeling disoriented and uncertain as familiar conditions are challenged by new ways of doing things. Culture shock is the classic sign of intercultural stress – but is cultural transition a negative experience?

Reading: Chapter 6, Crossing Borders

From our own experience, we will explore what culture shock looks like and how you can reduce it.

Presentation (choose to present on migration, refugees, or intercultural adaptation)


Week 5 Activities


Discussion of week 5 readings and other activities

Submit a draft of the Essay to Turnitin and check the similarity report. Revise and re-submit if there are any academic integrity issues. 

Quiz 5



Hard power is usually associated with military power and the ability to physically force a party to do something while soft power represents the ability to exert pressure without physical threat.

Reading: Chapter 8: The Culture of Capitalism and the Business of Intercultural Communication     

We will look at different forms of power and examples of soft power in international relations.

We will look at our own approach to conflict resolutions and how it is culturally shaped.


Presentation (work on the role of power in intercultural communication, the power of consumerism, or media power)



Differences, not necessarily cultural differences, often lead to conflict. Conflict styles differ culturally and from one person to another. Learning about different approaches towards conflict resolution is useful in personal life, in the workplace and even in cross- cultural conflict situations.

In our last session we will recap the unit and its content. We will also look into how taboos and ethics are important for intercultural communications and relations

Reading: Chapter 9: Negotiating Intercultural Conflict and Social Justice

We will do some games and exercises on the topics of taboo and ethics

Presentation (present on conflict styles, reasons and factors for intercultural conflict, or conflict resolution strategies)


Week 6 Activities


Discussion of week 6 readings and other activities

Essay Due on Friday Week 6, 11.55 pm

7 Exam week - There are no exams in this unit      

Policies and Procedures

Macquarie University policies and procedures are accessible from Policy Central (https://staff.mq.edu.au/work/strategy-planning-and-governance/university-policies-and-procedures/policy-central). Students should be aware of the following policies in particular with regard to Learning and Teaching:

Students seeking more policy resources can visit the Student Policy Gateway (https://students.mq.edu.au/support/study/student-policy-gateway). It is your one-stop-shop for the key policies you need to know about throughout your undergraduate student journey.

If you would like to see all the policies relevant to Learning and Teaching visit Policy Central (https://staff.mq.edu.au/work/strategy-planning-and-governance/university-policies-and-procedures/policy-central).

Student Code of Conduct

Macquarie University students have a responsibility to be familiar with the Student Code of Conduct: https://students.mq.edu.au/study/getting-started/student-conduct​


Results published on platform other than eStudent, (eg. iLearn, Coursera etc.) or released directly by your Unit Convenor, are not confirmed as they are subject to final approval by the University. Once approved, final results will be sent to your student email address and will be made available in eStudent. For more information visit ask.mq.edu.au or if you are a Global MBA student contact globalmba.support@mq.edu.au

Academic Integrity

Using the work or ideas of another person, whether intentionally or not, and presenting them as your own without clear acknowledgement of the source is called Plagiarism

Macquarie University promotes awareness of information ethics through its Academic Integrity Policy. This means that:

  • all academic work claimed as original must be the work of the person making the claim;
  • all academic collaborations of any kind must be acknowledged;
  • academic work must not be falsified in any way; and
  • when the ideas of others are used, these ideas must be acknowledged appropriately.

All breaches of the Academic Integrity Policy are serious and penalties apply. Students should be aware that they may fail an assessment task, a unit or even be excluded from the University for breaching the Academic Integrity Policy.


Assessment Policy

Students should familiarise themselves with their responsibilities under the Assessment Policy, and notably Schedule 4 (Final Examination Requirements).

Final Examination Script Viewings

A student may request to view their final examination script once results have been released but scripts remain the property of Macquarie University.

Students should view their final examination paper prior to submitting a grade appeal, if this is relevant to their case. The viewing will be conducted in a secure location under supervision.

To request a final examination script viewing, please email muic-elc.admin@mq.edu.au and write ‘script viewing’ in the subject heading.

Scripts may be reviewed for up to 6 months following the results release date for the relevant Term.

Grade Appeals

A student who has been awarded a final grade for a unit has the right to appeal that grade as outlined in the Grade Appeal Policy. Grade appeals apply to the final mark and the grade a student receives for a unit of study. They do not apply to results received for individual assessment tasks.

Grade appeals must be submitted via ask.mq.edu.au within 20 working days from the published result date for the relevant unit. Before submitting a Grade Appeal, please ensure that you read the Grade Appeal Policy and note valid grounds for appeals.

Students are expected to seek feedback on individual assessment tasks prior to the award of a final grade. Students also have the right to request generic feedback from the teaching staff on their overall performance in the unit, including in a final examination. This can be done at any time in the six month period starting from the day on which the final grade of the relevant unit is published.

Course Progression

The College closely monitors students' academic progress as per the Progression Policy for Programs delivered by Macquarie University International College.

To maintain satisfactory academic progress, a student must successfully complete (pass) 50% or more of their enrolled units in a Term of study and meet any other requirements to pass listed in the Unit Guide.

Students who fail to make satisfactory academic progress will be classified as "at risk" and will be notified in writing. At-risk students may be required to undergo academic counselling, undertake certain initiatives or have conditions placed upon their enrolment to help them make satisfactory progress.

Students must also pass 50% or more of the units in two or more terms in order to meet Minimum Rate of Progress (MRP) requirements. A student is deemed not to be making Minimum Rate of Progress if they fail more than 50% of their enrolled units in two consecutive Terms of study, or if they have failed more than 50% of their units after studying two or more terms.

Any domestic student who has been identified as not meeting MRP requirements will be issued with a Notice of Intention to Exclude letter and may subsequently be excluded from the program.

Any international student who has been identified as not meeting MRP will be subject to exclusion from the program and be issued with a Notice of Intention to Report letter and may subsequently be reported to the Department of Home Affairs for not meeting visa requirements. International students must comply with the Progression Policy of the College in order to meet the conditions of their visa.

Student Support

Macquarie University provides a range of support services for students. For details, visit http://students.mq.edu.au/support/

Learning Skills

Learning Skills (mq.edu.au/learningskills) provides academic writing resources and study strategies to improve your marks and take control of your study.

Student Enquiry Service

For all student enquiries, visit Student Connect at ask.mq.edu.au

If you are a Global MBA student contact globalmba.support@mq.edu.au

Equity Support

Students with a disability are encouraged to contact the Disability Service who can provide appropriate help with any issues that arise during their studies.

IT Help

For help with University computer systems and technology, visit http://www.mq.edu.au/about_us/offices_and_units/information_technology/help/

When using the University's IT, you must adhere to the Acceptable Use of IT Resources Policy. The policy applies to all who connect to the MQ network including students.

Course Contact Hours

Weekly face to face contact for this unit will be 6 hours (36 hours per term).

There will be 3 x 2-hour lessons per week. 

Learning and Teaching Activities


Lessons will include a mixture of activities. New content and topics will be presented during lessons, and students will be given problems, practice questions and other interactive activities to apply the knowledge and the skills gained in the lesson. Students will be required to take notes, complete set tasks and engage in discussions and individual and group activities.

In class, specific time may be dedicated to work on assessment tasks and students will be given guidance and feedback to complete these. Certain lessons may be dedicated to independent research and reading related to the unit whether in the classroom or a computer lab.

Active Participation

Students will be required to not only attend but also actively participate in lessons.

Active participation entails:

  • active engagement in class activities;
  • contribution to class discussions by asking and answering questions;
  • coming to class prepared and having completed required pre-readings and activities;
  • completion of set class and homework activities;
  • collaboration with other students; and
  • adhering to Macquarie University’s Student Code of Conduct.

Unit Specific Texts and Materials

The following texts have been prescribed for this unit.

Sorrells, Kathryn 2016. Intercultural Communication, Globalization and Social Justice. 2n edition, Sage. (ISBN 9781452292755). 

Texts will be available for purchase from the Co-Op Bookshop located in the Campus Hub Building C10A, Level One, Phone: 8986 4000.

All students should ensure that they have access to the prescribed text(s) from the start of the Term as failure to do so could jeopardise their academic progress in this unit.

Other editions or formats of the above resource(s) may be acceptable, but students must consult teaching staff prior to purchasing these.