Web-based instruction has become a preferred method of instruction for an increasingly diverse communities of learners. To address the instructional needs of these learners greater consideration must be given to cultural differences in course design including architecture and instructional course structure. This paper argues that a cultural competence model (CCModel) of instruction is needed to guide web-based instruction and to develop the potential of online learning communities. A CCModel is described to meet this need. It incorporates cultural considerations within three domains: cognitive, interpersonal, and environmental. Aspects of the cognitive and interpersonal domain include cultural self-awareness, cultural knowledge of others, cultural appreciation, caring, and cultural interaction. The environmental domain includes course design, management, technical support, information resources, and architectures that accommodate social structures.