Original Research - Special Collection: OEH: The Online Educated Human

The online educated or online indoctrinated human? Discourse analysis as a method to study ideologies disseminated by online courses

Iuliia Platonova, Ignatius G.P. Gous
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 75, No 1 | a5342 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v75i1.5342 | © 2019 Iuliia Platonova, Ignatius Gous | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 November 2018 | Published: 26 September 2019

About the author(s)

Iuliia Platonova, St. Tikhon’s Orthodox University, Moscow, Russian Federation
Ignatius G.P. Gous, Department of Biblical and Ancient Studies, College of Human Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa


Online courses attract thousands, even millions of students from all corners of the Earth. As such, they have the potential to educate many people. Education, however, is not neutral. Knowledge is embedded in contexts and perspectives, carrying ideological baggage, and so is teaching and learning. Teaching can no longer be the mere provision of content. The knowledge explosion implies that the ability to master content should become part and parcel of the course curriculum. In the same vein, the fact that online courses attract students from many different contexts necessitates that lecturer and student alike should be aware of the underlying ideologies in the course content. To this end, in this conceptual article it is argued that discourse analysis of not only the written course content but also of images used to illustrate the content can be helpful; these are often not scrutinised for ideological baggage. If not, the online educated human might become the online indoctrinated human, to the detriment of all.


Online education; MOOC; Implicit ideology; Discourse analysis; Pedagogic discourse.


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