Describing Students’ Intercultural Competence after Completing a Cultural Diversity Course Online or Face-to-Face

  • Shalyse I. Iseminger Purdue University
  • Horane A. Diatta-Holgate Purdue University
  • Pamala V. Morris Purdue University
Keywords: intercultural competence, online education, teaching and learning, social justice, diversity


This study describes students’ development of components of intercultural competence after completing a cultural diversity course and compared degrees of intercultural competence between a face-to-face course and an equivalent online section of the same course. Analysis of final written reflections from students demonstrated that students gained a deeper awareness of their lack of knowledge related to culture. The analysis also revealed that students in the online version of the course demonstrated higher degrees of intercultural openness and cultural self-awareness than did those in the face-to-face context. Findings from this study contribute significantly to the research on intercultural competence and the teaching of cultural diversity courses.

Author Biographies

Shalyse I. Iseminger, Purdue University

Shalyse I. Iseminger is a postdoctoral researcher in the Office of Multicultural Programs in the College of Agriculture at Purdue University (USA). Her research focuses on student experiences in multicultural education classrooms and overcoming resistance to social justice education.

Horane A. Diatta-Holgate, Purdue University

Horane A. Diatta-Holgate is a PhD candidate in the Educational Psychology and Research Methodology program and a graduate research assistant in the Center for Instructional Excellence at Purdue University (USA). His research focuses on diversity and motivation in university classrooms with respect to developing culturally responsive classroom environments.

Pamala V. Morris, Purdue University

Pamala V. Morris is an assistant dean/director of the Office of Multicultural Programs and professor of Agricultural Sciences Education and Communication in the College of Agriculture at Purdue University (USA). Her research emphasizes developing intercultural competence and using service-learning pedagogy through the lens of cultural diversity/social justice.


Association of American Colleges & Universities. 2009. “Intercultural Knowledge and Competence VALUE Rubric.” Accessed July 14, 2020.

Baumann, Uwe, and Monica Shelley. 2006. “Distance learning of German and Intercultural Competence.” Open Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance and E-Learning 21, no. 3: 191–204.

Beck, Victoria Simpson. 2010. “Comparing Online and Face-to-Face Teaching and Learning.” Journal on Excellence in College Teaching 21, no. 3: 95–108.

Bourelle, Andrew, Tiffany Bourelle, Anna V. Knutson, and Stephanie Spong. 2016. “Sites of Multimodal Literacy: Comparing Student Learning in Online and Face-to-Face Environments.” Computers and Composition, no. 39: 55–70.

Callister, Ronda Roberts, and Mary Sue Love. 2016. “A Comparison of Learning Outcomes in Skills-Based Courses: Online Versus Face-o-Face Formats.” Decision Sciences Journal of Innovative Education 14, no. 2: 243–56.

Deardorff, Darla K. 2006. “The Identification and Assessment of Intercultural Competence.” Journal of Studies in International Education 10, no. 3: 241–66.

Deardorff, Darla K. 2009. “Preface.” In The Sage Handbook of Intercultural Competence, edited by Darla K. Deardorff, xi-xiv. Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Detel, Wolfgang. 2015. “Social Constructivism.” In International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, edited by James D. Wright, 2nd ed., 228–34. Waltham: Elsevier.

Diller, Jerry V., and Jean Moule. 2005. Cultural Competence: A Primer for Educators. Belmont: Thomson Wadsworth.

Dunning, David. 2011. “The Dunning-Kruger Effect: On Being Ignorant of One’s Own Ignorance.” Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, vol. 44, edited by James M. Olson and Mark P. Zanna, 247–96. Waltham: Elsevier.

Cleaveland, Mary Catherine, Cristen Dutcher, and Kathryn Epps. 2015. “Comparing Business Law in Online and Face to Face Formats: A Difference in Student Learning Perception.” Academy of Educational Leadership Journal 19, no. 1: 123–34.

Hammer, Mitchell. 2012. “The Intercultural Development Inventory: A New Frontier in Assessment and Development of Intercultural Competence.” In Student Learning Abroad: What Our Students Are Learning, What They’re Not, and What We Can Do About It, edited by Michael Vande Berg, R. Michael Paige, and Kris Hemming Lou, 115–36. Sterling: Stylus.

Hammer, Mitchell R., Milton J. Bennett, and Richard Wiseman. 2003. “Measuring Intercultural Sensitivity: The Intercultural Development Inventory.” International Journal of Intercultural Relations 27, no. 4: 421–43.

Horspool, Agi, and Carsten Lange. 2012. “Applying the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: Student Perceptions, Behaviours and Success Online and Face-to-Face.” Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education 37, no. 1: 73–88.

Liu, Yuliang. 2007. “A Comparative Study of Learning Styles between Online and Traditional Students.” Journal of Educational Computing Research 37, no. 1: 41–63.

Morris, Pamala V. 2018. “Communicating across Cultures.” Course syllabus, Purdue University, West Lafayette.

Morris, Pamala V., and Shalyse I. Iseminger. 2017. “Understanding the Basics of Culture.” In Communicating across Cultures, edited by Pamala V. Morris, 10th ed., 95–118. New York: Pearson.

Ohara, Yumiko, Scott Saft, and Graham Crookes. 2000. “Teacher Exploration of Feminist/ Critical Pedagogy in a Beginning Japanese as a Foreign Language Class.” Paper presented at the University of Hawaii, Manoa, March 22, 2000.

Purdue University. 2020. Student Enrollment. Accessed July 7, 2020.

Perry, William. G., Jr. 1999. Forms of Intellectual and Ethical Development in the College Years: A Scheme. San Francisco: Josey-Bass.

Saldaña, Johnny. 2009. The Coding Manual for Qualitative Researchers. Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Savory, Paul, Amy Nelson Burnett, and Amy Goodburn. 2007. Inquiry into the College Classroom: A Journey toward Scholarly Teaching. Boston: Anker.

Sussman, Stephen, and Lee Dutter. 2010. “Comparing Student Learning Outcomes in Face-to-Face and Online Course Delivery.” Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration 13, no. 4.

Thompson, Nicole L., Nicole C. Miller, and Dana Pomykal Franz. 2013. “Comparing Online and Face-to-Face Learning Experiences for Nontraditional Students: A Case Study of Three Online Teacher Education Candidates.” Quarterly Review of Distance Education 14, no. 4: 233–51.

Vande Berg, Michael. April 13-15, 2016. “Intercultural Learning and Teaching Program Workshop 1.” West Lafayette: Purdue University.

Vande Berg, Michael, and R. Michael Paige. 2009. “Applying Theory and Research: The Evolution of Intercultural Competence in U.S. Study Abroad.” The Sage Handbook of Intercultural Competence, edited by Darla K. Deardorff, 419–37. Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Yershova, Yelena, Joan DeJaeghere, and Josef Mestenhauser. 2000. “Thinking Not as Usual: Adding the Intercultural Perspective.” Journal of Studies in International Education 4, no. 1: 39–78.

How to Cite
Iseminger, Shalyse I., Horane A. Diatta-Holgate, and Pamala V. Morris. 2020. “Describing Students’ Intercultural Competence After Completing a Cultural Diversity Course Online or Face-to-Face”. Teaching & Learning Inquiry 8 (2), 114-27.