Recognizing and Avoiding Intercultural Miscommunication in Distance Education. A Study of the Experiences of Canadian Faculty and Aboriginal Nursing Students

College of Nursing, The University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN 38163, USA.
Journal of professional nursing: official journal of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (Impact Factor: 0.95). 11/2007; 23(6):351-61. DOI: 10.1016/j.profnurs.2007.01.021
Source: PubMed


Language differences and diverse cultural norms influence the transmission and receipt of information. The online environment provides yet another potential source of miscommunication. Although distance learning has the potential to reach students in cultural groups that have been disenfranchised from traditional higher education settings in the past, intercultural miscommunication is also much more likely to occur through it. There is limited research examining intercultural miscommunication within distance education environments. This article presents the results of a qualitative study that explored the communication experiences of Canadian faculty and Aboriginal students while participating in an online baccalaureate nursing degree program that used various delivery modalities. The microlevel data analysis revealed participants' beliefs and interactions that fostered intercultural miscommunication as well as their recommendations for ensuring respectful and ethically supportive discourses in online courses. The unique and collective influences of intercultural miscommunication on the experiences of faculty and students within the courses are also identified. Instances of ethnocentrism and othering are illustrated, noting the effects that occurred from holding dualistic perspectives of us and them. Lastly, strategies for preventing intercultural miscommunication in online courses are described.

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