Intercultural Extraneity

About Intercultural Extraneity

This page addresses:

Site description

This site is titled “intercultural extraneity” to take issue with the claim that intercultural “competence” is something to be possessed once and for all, or simply downloaded. The “extraneous” is the extra work we need to do to try to comprehend a (continually changing) situation. Hans-Georg Gadamer explains this as the effort that goes into understanding something apart from ourselves (2004: 371) and Clifford Geertz observes that “Cultural analysis is intrinsically incomplete … to get somewhere with the matter at hand is to intensify the suspicion, both your own and that of others, that you are not quite getting it right” (1973: 322). As the culture of today is intercultural: characterized by the interaction of multiple cultures, both global and epistemic, how we think we understand everything will reveal whether we have understood anything (Suzuki 1970).

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Course Objectives:

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Exam information:

You are required to be conversant in all of the material covered this semester – which was the advantage of doing exercises over the course of the semester, to practice engagement with the course material and topics so as to commit them to memory as well as gain experience in their use.
You are not required to remember everything but to be able to respond meaningfully to a prompt/question like the one that was discussed, practised, and reviewed in December.
When you plan to take the exam, it will be necessary to write an email confirming this in order to be sure there are enough invigilators present: please state clearly in your email the year and semester of the exam you will be taking.
Grades were updated on 21/1 at 21:13. If your grade should have been but was not updated, please write a clear and concise email indicating this. Grades have not been finalized, please do not panic.
Notice regarding grades, posted 20/12 at 17:30:
Please read the following before sending an email. Any emails sent before these notes were published will not receive a reply, so resend your email if the notes do not cover your question.
As stated multiple times throughout December during the practice assignment in preparation for the finals, work is expected to follow the instructions. Work submitted that did not and that further brought into question the integrity of group work submitted earlier by not being up to the same standard, rather than being a fail grade, got a lower grade in a few cases. Note especially the remarks about referencing a variety of course material. By contrast, if work carefully followed the instructions and was far better than previous work, in a few cases, grades were improved. Students should not be punished for improving.
A very small number of students were given a 3 instead of their grade as it is necessary for them to submit proof of work.
It is possible that a mistake was made with a few of the grades; there are a lot of students and many components to mark. If you have considered these notes carefully and think that your mark is not accurate, please write a clear, concise email stating your case. Above all, do not panic: the grades will be on display for a few days before being finalized.
Final work that passed will be published to the site by the beginning of next term. Congratulations on producing so much good work.
Wishing you all the very best in the new year!

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Course material:

Please note that you are responsible for downloading course material when the course is in session. Materials may no longer be available once the semester has ended due to site maintenance.

Week 1: Virtual community, 21st C skills

Additional resources (optional reading): Back to top of page

Week 2: Context/content

Additional resources (optional reading): Back to top of page

Week 3: Privacy/agency

Additional resources (optional reading): Privacy-themed resource materials Back to top of page

Week 4: Social dilemma

This week, there are only Additional Resources (optional reading) to give you time to do site housecleaning or to add to it if you want to. Back to top of page

Week 5: Our virtual community garden

Thank you to those students who came to this week’s video conference. Resources mentioned during the conference:

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Week 6: Social networks: communication, collapse

Optional reading: Note: the reading is optional this week because some of you may want to take the time to look into Caulfield’s book for further insight into how to do your assignment.

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Week 7: Social networks: bias & media literacy

Reading material:

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Week 8: Participatory action research

Thank you to those students who attended this week’s video conference.
A book connecting the outcome of today’s conference with the first lesson we had this semester is Carol Sanford’s No more feedback.
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Week 9: Relations & making (cultural) sense

First, thank you for the reflection posts. I wanted to feature almost all of those that I read so this week’s featured posts were selected far more randomly than in previous weeks. Prompts:
  1. The risks of and ingenuity in social media.
  2. The (privacy) threat of data mining vs. users as a (collective, political, ..) force.
  3. Revision prompt.
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Week 10: Dialogue1

Thank you to those students who participated in this week’s dialogue.
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Week 11: Dialogue2

Students are responsible for reviewing the instructions in week 9 and the tips below.
    Tips (remember that if something stumps you here, you can write an email asking for clarification, but please be sure to write a clear subject line in your email):
  1. The star question from the video conference was how to check for coherence. While this is addressed in 4, 6, and 7 below, there are two additional tips. 1) Remember the difference between abstract/general and concrete/specific: specific and concrete things have distinguishing details and are particular; general things are like types and abstract things cannot be touched (like love – though love can be expressed through the particular). Good communication that shares knowledge will involve specific and particular details – but will also show the meaning of these, on the general abstract level. If the specific details you have chosen to include in your composition do not go together, bring in something else to make them go together, or go back to the drawing board and include something new. 2) When you have written your draft, write a reverse outline of it (the main idea of the intro is…; the main idea of para1 is…; etc): by making bullet points of the content in this way, you can see if it coheres. What is the point of trying to be coherent? It is an important skill in communication.
  2. Any title, excerpt, introduction, and conclusion that essentially states digital technology is good and bad fails to understand both the premise of this class and effective writing techniques. The title, excerpt, introduction, and conclusion are to indicate the specific value of your writing – which is derived from your selection of specific examples and ideas, which are to be backed up by sources. Remember to beware of sweeping generalizations: areas where you describe a phenomenon without sufficient qualification of evidence.
  3. You have 9 days left in which to edit your work and to make sure it follows the assignment instructions and adheres to the tips listed here.
  4. Check for coherence, e.g. the excerpt should cohere with the title and conclusion – the main abstract/general idea should be woven into the specific/concrete content of the body paragraphs: this will at once help you to avoid laundry lists.
  5. To repeat a point made in previous weeks: support all claims/statements with sources for “evidence”. In other words, check each claim is explained and developed with examples and sources.
  6. Think of the essay post as a composition: you are the artist deciding what to bring in to the frame. Your task is to bring in a range of sources – but you get to choose which ones, exactly – and why; what they mean.
  7. If you see that the conclusion is too broad and does not teach you anything, or if your title is still binary, reevaluate the selection and detail of sources chosen. The main idea of the composition will be clear once selection of sources is chosen and explored in detail. Sample prompts to help: How are the connected? How do they relate to the prompt you chose? Are they good/bad; why? What meaningful lesson can we learn through exploring these examples? Are the sources the best ones to support a point? Is there a range of sources? Does this range include a range of course material and at least one produced by students on the site or forum?
  8. Check for word economy, concision; edit out throwaway sentences. In other words, every sentence is to bring value to the essay: either setting out points, introducing, or concluding them. Every sentence should serve the (meaningful) purpose of the essay.
  9. Note when going over your draft that sometimes you have a main point, but it is buried.
  10. When including hyperlinks make sure that you have summarized the main ideas from the text that you are linking to.
Thank you to those students who attended this week’s video conference. Topics discussed included: questions regarding the final assignment, using your work for research purposes, next week’s video conference. Next week, we will address final questions and students are encouraged to bring the ‘gift’ of their favorite digital or online resource or entertainment to share with the class.
Note: Final work is to contain a declaration of academic integrity and clearly identify sources used both within the text and in a dedicated sources section: I hereby confirm that this work is solely the result of my own independent scholarly work and that if any ideas, text passages, or diagrams from books, papers, the Web or other sources have been copied, paraphrased, or in any other way used, all references – including those found in electronic media – have been clearly acknowledged and fully cited.
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Week 12: Wrapping up our virtual community for the holidays

Thank you for all of the work you have done in this course. Wishing you safe and happy holidays and look forward to meeting with you, hopefully in person, in the new year.
A few final notes:
  1. Students who got extensions for health or other serious reasons are responsible for ensuring that their work has been checked by communicating with me via email. Please remember to be polite.
  2. Before submitting your final work, please check that it complies with the instructions and tips in the previous two weeks’ assignmnet posts. Work that does not may not be a pass.
  3. Do not forget to initial your work when you submit it: please check – if it is not initialled, you might not get your grade entered on time.
  4. I do not have access to my old email address.
  5. Please reread points two and three and the referenced tips and instructions and check your work complies with them before submitting.
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Weekly video:
The weekly video will be posted below. Note that it will only be available for one week, at which point it will be replaced by a new video.
The December videos are replaced by weekly video conferences.

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Link to the course forum:

This course will also use a forum, at

Video content is made for the context of a specific course under specific conditions – restrained even by disk usage limitations. As a focus of this course is on trust, values, ethics, and the community it strives to cultivate, please model the course ethos in your use of the course resources and respect the terms of use.

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