MA Digital Technologies, Communication and Education

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Intercultural Engagement at Work and in Communities (Distance)

Course unit fact file
Unit code EDUC77060
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Full year
Available as a free choice unit? No


The unit will examine learning from critical reflection on experience of intercultural engagement practices in community and/or educational settings. Intercultural interactions within organisations and their engagement with communities will be analysed and evaluated in relation to intercultural and community development frameworks. Methods of identifying and analysing organisational and community cultures as well as evidencing experience and learning will also be considered.


EDUC77060 DTCE DL Conditions (Programme 05872 & 07737)


 This unit aims to:

  • examine critical reflection, experiential learning and community engagement theories and frameworks and their application to intercultural practice; 
  • support students to undertake a short-term project or observations in suitable educational or community organisation(s) engaging with communities;
  • provide structures for students to analyse, evaluate and evidence their learning from this experience that will enhance their understanding of intercultural practice and employability.

Teaching and learning methods



  1. Tutor facilitated full group sessions will introduce some theories and frameworks for analysing intercultural engagement, critical reflection on experience and types and levels of participation. With a high level of participation expected, students will consider a range of ‘real life’ scenarios and discuss potential responses that may be encountered in order to identify good intercultural engagement and socially responsible practice as well as how they may be analysed.
  2. Students will be supported in identifying suitable opportunities to experience intercultural educational and/or community organisational practice within the Greater Manchester area.  Distance students would need to identify their own arrangements.
  3. Students will engage with these organisation(s) for a minimum total of 35 hours to observe intercultural practice and/or contribute to the organisation through negotiating to undertake a useful project or other supportive activities depending on individual and organisational needs and capacities.
  4. Students will select and record specific incidents, events or thoughts arising during their engagement with the organisation(s) and communities with regards to intercultural engagement within the organisation or between the organisation and its constituent communities.
  5. Students will select a seminar group for discussions and formative feedback on the weekly reflections. Participants will provide peer support, critical reflection and analysis of experiences as well as further ideas for dealing with situations that arise in the work setting, project development and referencing. 
  6. On-line materials and recommended reading will underpin analyses of practice. 
  7. Students will complete a written assignment that contains an analysis of intercultural engagement through selected reflections and an analysis and evaluation of the student’s own practice and learning.

Learning hours





Hours Allocated

Full group teaching

6 x 2 hour sessions = 12

Directed online study




Small group seminars

3 x 1 = 3

Work or community based learning


Independent reading


Weekly reflections


Knowledge and understanding

  • An understanding of the impact of organisational culture and the policies, structures and practice of that culture on intercultural communication.
  • Increased understanding of the specific cultures represented within particular settings.
  • An awareness of community development principles and models of participation.

Intellectual skills

  • An ability to analyse practice in relation to relevant theories and frameworks.
  • An ability to reflect critically on own and other’s practice and to provide feedback to others. 

Practical skills

  • An ability to negotiate entry into an organisation and its target communities and to develop relationships appropriate to establishing intercultural communication.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • An appreciation of diversity and the value of enhancing communication with and participation by individuals from varied backgrounds, experiences and cultures.
  • Enhanced skills in interpersonal and intercultural communication as well as collaborative practice.
  • An appreciation of the value of reflection, peer support and supervision to develop professional practice.

Assessment methods


Formative Tasks

Word Length

Weighting within unit

Semester 1:

A written draft reflecting on project arrangements

Approx. 300 words



Semester 2:

Draft reflections on the issues and practice arising within the organisation / communities and commentary on others’ contributions.

Approx. 400 words x 5





Summative Assessment Tasks

Word Length

Weighting within unit

Semester 1:

A written piece reflecting on project arrangements

Approx. 500 words


Semester 2:

A written piece with a selection of your weekly reflections (above) enhanced with references to theory with an analysis and evaluation of your own practice and learning in relation to intercultural engagement.

3,500 words (plus or minus 10%) not including references or appendices.




Feedback methods

Feedback will be available via Blackboard on the student system.

Recommended reading


Some suggested reading

This is not a core reading list, rather some suggested texts. A reading list on BlackBoard is linked to the University library with further guidance about text selection and use. Students will come with different previous knowledge, so a range of texts are suggested for those who have not previously encountered some of our course themes:


Experiential learning to enhance your reflections

Gibbs, G. (1988) Learning by Doing: A guide to teaching and learning methods. Oxford: Further Education Unit.

Johns, C. (1995) “Framing learning through reflection within Carper’s fundamental ways of knowing in nursing”. Journal of Advanced Nursing. 22, 2, 226-234.

Kolb. D. A. and Fry, R. (1975) ‘Toward an applied theory of experiential learning’. in C. Cooper (ed.), Theories of Group Process, London: John Wiley.

Moon, J. (2004) A Handbook of Reflective and Experiential Learning. Oxon: Routledge Falmer.


‘critical incidents’ and applying ‘critical incidents’ to intercultural interactions:

Ayres, D.J. (2013) Critical incidents. Learning and Teaching in Other Words. 04 December 2013 [] (useful discussion on selecting incidents)

Cushner, Kenneth & Brislin, Richard W. (1996) Intercultural Interactions: A Practical Guide (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, Ca: SAGE Publications. Available online since 2012:

Byram, Michael; Barrett, Martyn; Ipgrave, Julia; Jackson, Robert; del Carmen Méndez García; María (2009) Autobiography of Intercultural Encounters. Council of Europe. [via: [last access 12 December 2016]

Spencer-Oatey, H. (2013) Critical incidents. A compilation of quotations for the intercultural field. GlobalPAD Core Concepts. [Available at GlobalPAD Open House:]


 Analysing organisational culture

Bellot, J. (2011), Defining and Assessing Organizational Culture. Nursing Forum, 46: 29–37. doi: 10.1111/j.1744-6198.2010.00207.x

Brownlee, T. & Lee, K. ‘Building Culturally Competent Organizations’ (Section 7, Chapter 27). Tools to Change Our World. Community Toolbox.

Culbert’s (1976) &

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 12
Project supervision 26
Seminars 3
Tutorials 2
Work based learning 35
Independent study hours
Independent study 72

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Kate Sapin Unit coordinator

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