“Be a better version of you!”: A corpus-driven critical discourse analysis of MOOC platforms' marketing communication

Mısır H., Işık Güler H.

Linguistics and Education, vol.69, 2022 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 69
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.linged.2022.101021
  • Journal Name: Linguistics and Education
  • Journal Indexes: Arts and Humanities Citation Index, Social Sciences Citation Index, Scopus, Academic Search Premier, EBSCO Education Source, Education Abstracts, Educational research abstracts (ERA), Linguistic Bibliography, Linguistics & Language Behavior Abstracts, MLA - Modern Language Association Database, Psycinfo
  • Keywords: Massive Open Online Courses, Enterprising-self, Higher education discourse, Job market discourse, Self-help discourse, Corpus-driven critical discourse analysis, HIGHER-EDUCATION, MARKETIZATION, LINGUISTICS, LANGUAGE


© 2022 Elsevier Inc.This study examines the representation, reconstruction, and promotion of the 'ideal subject' of the job market in the promotional materials of the online/life-long learning platforms known as Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). We take a corpus-driven critical discourse analysis to investigate the marketing language in the subscription e-mails and websites of six English-medium MOOC platforms. The analysis shows that the platforms use an array of promotional persuasion strategies, including advice-giving, autonomization and responsibilization of individuals and reinforce a self-betterment discourse to create marketable employees. Through the use of a distinct blend of higher education, marketing, and self-help discourses, the skills-oriented language explicitly references job insecurity and urges the individual to (re)build oneself tirelessly to remain demandable/marketable, neglecting an intellectual advancement angle. This ideology legitimizes the neoliberal demands for the enterprising-self and employability and feeds into one's fear of failure, ranking individuals in the society based on a value-adding/detracting practice.