Study Abroad: Tourism or education? A multimodal social semiotic analysis of institutional discourses of a promotional website

Kristen Michelson, José Aldemar Álvarez Valencia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

The rise in Study Abroad (SA) participation among college students has increased interest among educationalists wondering about the impact of SA on students, particularly when students return home without evidence of deep engagement and understanding of other cultures and people. The purpose of this case study was to locate one potential source of the meanings ascribed to the SA experience, through analysis of multimodal representations on the institutional website of a popular SA program provider. In this study, Kress’ model of multimodal social semiotic (MSS) communication was employed in the analysis of the ensemble of modes of communication (e.g. written language, layout, visual language) on the website, and their role in the production and dissemination of discourses of SA. Findings indicate that discourses of tourism prevail over discourses of education, and the representations enacted on the institutional website are mirrored in the discursive practices of students.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-256
Number of pages22
JournalDiscourse and Communication
Volume10
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2016

Keywords

  • Communication
  • discourse analysis
  • higher education
  • multimodality
  • promotional websites
  • social semiotics
  • study abroad
  • tourism discourse

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