International Journal of English Language and Translation Studies (Aug 2018)

Realisation of Proximity in Online Video Courses: A Study with Reference to Coursera

  • Esmat Babaii ,
  • Omidreza Rajabi

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 06, no. 03
pp. 79 – 89


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This article examines some main characteristics of online video courses as a new popularizing genre and how the different facets of proximity are realized in such contexts. To this end, 2 courses in the realm of education and psychology from Coursera website were analyzed based on Hyland (2010) model of proximity to shed light on the nature of this concept in such contexts. The total number of sessions analyzed was 40. The investigation revealed different strategies used by instructors in video courses to comprise the five facets of proximity as for Hyland (2010) model, namely Organization, Argument Structure, Credibility, Engagement, and Stance. The need to transfer knowledge and to help students understand the new concepts are among the key requirements of classrooms. Thus, the instructions have to be intertwined with real life experiences, examples, analogies, etc. to make the new knowledge accessible to students and their already acquired knowledge base. Instructors used various techniques for achieving this important goal ranging from using second person and first person pronouns through to acting as if they are mindreading the students and looking at issues from the student's point of view and referring to the same worries, concerns and questions that students might face. By analyzing a corpus of texts in this specific genre, we tried to highlight some of the ways instructors manage their image of expertise and interactions with learners through some rhetorical devices which presume the instructor and the learner as people with similar understandings.