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Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)


Intercultural Relations

First Advisor

Chris Cartwright

Second Advisor

Laura Bathurst

First Committee Member

Adair Linn Nagata

Second Committee Member

Terrence Brake


Email communication within a diverse workplace poses intercultural communication challenges (Martin & Nakayama, 2007). This study aims to make a contribution to the literature by examining how these challenges can be addressed through email computer training. For this study, I set out to understand and demonstrate how, within the instructional design process, contextualized curriculum can be created that integrates intercultural competency and email proficiency. This thesis includes a draft of an instructional plan and course outline for an email computer class that focuses on developing intercultural awareness and skills in the context of an email training course. First, I examined email computer curricula, specifically the topics, course goals, and course objectives common to the curricula. As a result of this examination, I discovered that email training is limited to the technical aspects of email communication. Additionally, I surveyed intercultural communication professionals about intercultural topics applicable to email communication. Their survey responses indicated cultural differences account for some, but not all email workplace challenges. For example, they believed it is important to address intercultural elements like low vs. high context when writing an email message, and power distance and levels of formality when writing greetings and closings. Additionally, their feedback indicated that it is important to address direct vs. indirect communication styles when writing the main point and linear vs. circular cognitive styles when organizing text within an email. I incorporated their perspectives in my course outline. Finally, experts from the fields of instructional design, intercultural communication, and computer training reviewed a draft of the plan and outline. Although their feedback indicated that the premise and approach were sound and achievable, they differed in their evaluation of specific elements of the course. In general, their perspectives reflected their professional focus. For example, they either recommended a stronger focus on the technical aspects or a stronger focus on the intercultural aspects of the course design. Detailed comments pertained to the fine-tuning of the objectives, timing of the individual lessons, and other instructional elements needed for any polished professional course outline



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