Online leadership discourse in higher education: a digital multimodal discourse perspective
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As leadership discourses in higher education are increasingly being mediated online, texts previously reserved for staff are now being made available in the public domain. As such, these texts become accessible for study, critique and evaluation. Additionally, discourses previously confined to the written domain are now increasingly multimodal. Thus, an approach is required that is capable of relating detailed, complex multimodal discourse analyses to broader sociocultural perspectives to account for the complex meaning-making practices that operate in online leadership discourses. For this purpose, a digital multimodal discourse approach is proposed and illustrated via a small-scale case study of the online leadership discourse of an Australian university. The analysis of two short video texts demonstrates how a digital multimodal discourse perspective facilitates the identification of key multimodal systems used for meaning-making in online communication, how meaning arises through combinations of semiotic choices (not individual choices), and how the results of multimodal discourse analysis using digital technology can reveal larger sociocultural patterns – in this case, divergent leadership styles and approaches as reflected in online discourse, at a time of immense change within the higher education sector.
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