Today, moving images are the most commonly used media for knowledge communication in online education such as Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Nevertheless, the visual representations of speakers and the surrounding spaces around them differ widely. Earlier studies categorized implementation styles for videos in online courses. Still, these studies neglected qualitative analysis of specific image related questions such as the signification of different visualisations of speakers and the surrounding space, in which the speaker is embedded. This article analyses the images of visible speakers in MOOC course videos provided from a media semiotic and film study perspective. The qualitatively analysed videos are part of a larger data set sampled between September 2014 and January 2015 and were selected to cover the variety of existing approaches. Each surrounding space reflects a particular meaning on the speaker and the communicated message. Some of the moving images depict the speaker in a monochromatic space or in front of a greenscreen with power point slides behind, whereas others are in classrooms or at a place of events. However, a number of videos use a surrounding space that alters the attention focus through distractions (see Jakobson), e.g. a dominant second person in image, moving images with isolated content in green screen, uncommon framing sizes, etc. The distraction affects the way the speaker is presented and gets part of what is communicated.


Conference presentation at "The sixth international conference on the image", 29.-30.10.2015, University of Berkeley, California.

University Passau/ Media Semiotics and University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland/ Institute Aesthetic Practice and Theory,, 2015