Research course

Language as a social semiotic in learning and teaching

Open University · Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies

Entry requirements

Minimum 2:1 (or equivalent)

Months of entry


Course content

A key focus of work in the Language and Literacies Research Cluster is a social semiotic approach to learning and teaching. Our research explores language use across academic subject areas and among users, and the implications for students and teachers. Projects to date have focused on learning and teaching in higher education in applied subject areas, including health and social care, education, and media studies. The work draws on systemic functional linguistics and a number of related theories to locate language as a primary semiotic mode in the increasingly multimodal world of education.

Current/recent research projects
  • Sociocultural understandings of technology-mediated educational practices: Improvable objects and meaning-making trajectories in the ICT-literate classroom
  • How is creative work shaped by interaction when undergraduate composers work with each other and with students from other disciplines?
  • Video conferencing and multimodal expression of voice: Children’s conversations in English as their second language
Potential supervisors

Fees and funding

Please see The Open University website for more information.

Qualification and course duration


distance learning
variable months
full time
36 months
part time
72 months


full time
12 months


part time
36 months

Course contact details

Mrs Anne Foward
+44 (0)1908 655364