A multi-dimensional analysis of English-medium massive open online courses (MOOCs) video lectures in China


JOURNAL OF ENGLISH FOR ACADEMIC PURPOSES, vol.55, 2022 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 55
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.jeap.2021.101079
  • Journal Indexes: Arts and Humanities Citation Index, Social Sciences Citation Index, Scopus, Academic Search Premier, EBSCO Education Source, Education Abstracts, Educational research abstracts (ERA), Linguistics & Language Behavior Abstracts, MLA - Modern Language Association Database
  • Keywords: Massive open online courses in China, Multi-dimensional analysis, Academic register, Spoken register, DISCIPLINARY VARIATION, LEXICAL BUNDLES, UNIVERSITY, DISCOURSE, METADISCOURSE, SPOKEN, IMPACT


Massive open online courses (MOOCs) have widely transformed teaching and learning of higher education worldwide. Based on Biber's (1988) multi-dimensional analysis framework, this study uncovers linguistic features of English-medium MOOC video lectures in China and reveals lin-guistic variation across different disciplinary areas. The results suggest that the video lecture language in English-medium MOOCs provided by Chinese universities tends to be highly infor-mational, non-narrative, explicitly referential, low in persuasion, abstract, and formally planned. Different from traditional university lectures, the closest registers to the target MOOC video lectures in China include academic prose, official documents, and press reportage. Significant differences also exist across disciplinary areas regarding all six functional linguistic dimensions. Findings of this study may provide insights into how language is used in the emerging spoken register, which may further be taken into consideration by instructional designers and instructors of MOOCs. For countries where English is used as a second or additional language, such as China, the results may be of particular interest when designing English-medium MOOC video lectures.