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versión On-line ISSN 1990-8644

Conrado vol.18 no.87 Cienfuegos jul.-ago. 2022  Epub 02-Ago-2022


Artículo Original

Communicative and discursive practices in the 21st century: culturological analysis of the educational process in higher education

Prácticas comunicativas y discursivas en el siglo xxi: análisis culturológico del proceso educativo en la educación superior

0000-0001-7263-2769Irina Urmina1  *  , 0000-0003-4318-7998Kristina Onuchina1  , 0000-0003-3657-9037Natalia Irza1  , 0000-0003-3583-3507Irina Korsakova2  , 0000-0001-7317-6769Ivan Chernikov3  , 0000-0002-8911-5765Natalia Yushchenko1 

1Russian State Social University. Russian Federation.

2Moscow State Institute of Music named after A.G. Schnittke. Russian Federation

3Military Training and Research Center of the Air Force "The Air Force Academy named after Professor N.E. Zhukovsky and Yu. A. Gagarin" (Voronezh) of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation. Russian Federation


The article analyzes contemporary discursive practices as a part of the communication process within the environment of Russian higher education. The study evaluates the definitions and basic characteristics of the concept of discourse and determines the integral practical activity skills (competences) obtained by students in the process of learning that determine their further action and interaction both in the daily reality and professional environment. An analysis of the use of modern information technology, pedagogical technologies, and communicative and discursive practices in teaching at humanitarian universities is presented. The question is raised about the success of an individual’s mastery of the discrete combinatorial system of modern sign culture in the society of mass culture, which has become almost entirely visual and adamantly offers ready-made images, largely depriving a person of imagination and the ability to independently form an individual image of the world - their own perceptions. The study poses a hypothesis of the emergence of latent discourse deformations in the process of learning when due to the change of communicative roles, students themselves become articulating objects reproducing independent cultural texts that distort the real values of education.

Key words: Communication; higher education; culturological analysis; communicative and discursive practices


El artículo analiza las prácticas discursivas contemporáneas como parte del proceso de comunicación dentro del entorno de la educación superior rusa. El estudio evalúa las definiciones y características básicas del concepto de discurso y determina las habilidades (competencias) de la actividad práctica integral obtenidas por los estudiantes en el proceso de aprendizaje que condicionan su posterior acción e interacción tanto en la realidad cotidiana como en el ámbito profesional. Se presenta un análisis del uso de las modernas tecnologías de la información, las tecnologías pedagógicas y las prácticas comunicativas y discursivas en la docencia en las universidades humanitarias. Se plantea la pregunta sobre el éxito del dominio de un individuo del sistema combinatorio discreto de la cultura de signos moderna en la sociedad de la cultura de masas, que se ha vuelto casi completamente visual y ofrece inflexiblemente imágenes prefabricadas, privando en gran medida a una persona de la imaginación y la capacidad. para formar independientemente una imagen individual del mundo: sus propias percepciones. El estudio plantea como hipótesis el surgimiento de deformaciones discursivas latentes en el proceso de aprendizaje cuando debido al cambio de roles comunicativos, los propios estudiantes se convierten en objetos articuladores que reproducen textos culturales independientes que distorsionan los valores reales de la educación.

Palabras-clave: Comunicación; educación superior; análisis culturológico; prácticas comunicativas y discursivas


Modern education is among the most vital and complex areas of human life and its dynamic development focused on global innovations today serves as a basis for the full existence of a person not only within a particular society but also as a “citizen of the world”. The role of education in the 21st century as a stable institutional form of transmitting socially valuable information is especially critical “since it provides the necessary conditions for continuous mass socialization of members of any society. The global community is interested in the development of persons who are competitive, mobile, proactive, and successful in the conditions of the general social labor market”. (Urmina, 2013, p. 193)

Higher education is currently the most open for the development of complex thinking in individuals. In the sphere of higher education, knowledge and skills related to the most complex forms of professional activity are being transmitted, and individuals develop complex thinking by virtue of the educational programs representing up-to-date social, ecological, and economic problems in their close interconnection and interrelation, apparent interdisciplinary semantic interference, and interpenetration. Students and graduate students learn to use appropriate language, terminology, and skills for specialized activities and the operation of substitute symbols.

The logic of transmission of knowledge and socio-cultural experience implemented by educational programs is governed by the ideas about the goals of education present in a particular society and professional educational environment. These goals can be distinguished by the parameters of the type of personality shaped by education and the type of technology for transmitting the corresponding knowledge and skills. For example, higher education standards in the USSR reflected the ideology of training a well-educated citizen within the framework of the current and general requirements for general cultural and specialized knowledge and skills. The logic of transmission of socially valuable information involved mastering it as ready-made formulas and rules of their operation in standard situations.

If the focus on professional training is associated with the subordination of the general cultural information to solving specialized tasks and problems characteristic of various components of the system of the social division of labor, the closest attention is paid to the transmission and in-depth development of differentiated professional knowledge and skills (which results in the enhancement of exploration activities within the system of the social division of labor). In the space of education, this manifests as teaching to solve complex problems and is reduced to the objective of search activity, although within a strictly limited area. Today, this principle can be observed in the specialist training educational system of the United States. There can also be a mixed type of ideology that combines certain provisions of the two aforementioned types and emerges in critical situations when structural societal changes are accompanied by a change in the paradigm of worldview principles. Such periods bring to the fore the idea that narrowly specialized knowledge must be embedded in a broader social and cultural context.

“To each type of ideology corresponds its own type of technologies for the transmission of social and cultural experience. For example, in the first case, education is reduced to obtaining the skills of using a limited set of memorized formulas and cognitive situations. In the second case, the education system teaches people to solve problems, i.e. to not only use the available knowledge but also generate new knowledge, albeit within the limited scope of their professional field. Finally, in the third case, education consists in the mastery of programmatic and strategic construction techniques that not only incorporate professional activity in a broader social and cultural context but also allow for a purposeful impact on some of its components. Such an ideology clearly meets the demands of the global community expecting the “citizens of the world” to be socially responsible not only for their actions but also for their possible consequences on a planetary scale. In the sphere of, the most relevant direction is the formation of a conceptual approach to the development of educational technology common to all countries and corresponding to this type of ideology, as well as increasing the social effectiveness of higher professional education in the global sense”. (Urmina, 2013, p. 195)

The Internet has provided the world with unlimited access to information and (by formal criteria) knowledge, which reduces their reliability. Online interaction is formed along certain lines of communicative integration, the essence of which lies in the absence of national and personal orientation. This allows us to conclude on the presence of a “supra-personal formation”. In the context of the growth of information flows and the development of information and communication resources for the preservation of socially valuable information, the development of effective measures, rules, and methods for information selection gain extreme importance. The need for the preservation of cultural and civilizational diversity and network integration poses many unresolved issues of not so much technological as of ethical, legal, and worldview nature for all educational communities. These issues also include the diversity of communicative and discursive practices as dynamic language structures, the variability of which depends on several factors (cultural, social, economic, etc.) present in a particular society at a specific moment in time.

The communicative and discursive experience of human interaction in the 21st century is rapidly changing under the influence of technical and technological innovations, as well as the globalization of discourse interaction. First and foremost, “what becomes a significant attribute and characteristic feature of the present time is development, the expansion of not only the communicational (the technical carriers of information) but also the communicational and discursive (content) spheres of globalization… The broad concept of a “humanitarian technology” that has emerged in the scientific paradigm shows that these technologies are founded on a specific scientific and methodical basis that fundamentally differs from that of the “technical” technologies. In humanitarian technology, the main role is attributed to immaterial elements with a sign-symbolic system, and the scientific and theoretical foundation is formed by humanitarian knowledge, methods, and techniques (Kulikova, 2015).

At present, communicative and discursive practices have become the socio-cultural reality of worldwide importance within the common globalization and rapid interpenetration of discursive technologicity and national (cultural) determination. Their interrelation shapes the basic models of communicative and discursive practices, namely the models of dominance, absorption, or their dynamic equilibrium. In the present study, we are particularly interested in the institutional sphere of higher education and the competence-oriented approach, which widely uses the communicative technologies of the 21st-century discourse.


The present study of the contemporary educational process utilizes culturological analysis uniting the axiological, activity, and personal and creative aspects of culture, in which the person becomes the creator of culture. Such an approach is more common in scientific research while in the context of pedagogical process analysis, the substantial characteristic of this approach as a set of theoretical and methodological provisions is underrepresented and the principles and procedures for the culturological analysis of pedagogical problems are not identified. There is no fundamental theoretical research focusing on the development and substantiation of the culturological approach as a methodological basis for pedagogy, the principles and conditions for its implementation in pedagogical practice are not determined. The aforementioned factors inhibit the fulfillment of the cultural functions of the education system.

The methodological foundation of the present study is the idea of anthropocentricity of culture as a universal characteristic of an individual’s life and personality. Analysis of the use of communicative and discursive practices in the educational process accounts for the interdisciplinary nature of the problem and calls for an integrative approach and systemic ideas about a person as a subject of culture, the creative essence of an individual, and the mechanisms and conditions of mastering culture.

The study of the materials is based on a combination of methodological approaches of various humanitarian sciences. The theoretical and methodological basis of the study is constituted by the axiological, subjective, hermeneutic, systemic, and holistic culturological approaches, which allows to view the educational process as a holistic cultural phenomenon, as well as to determine the interrelations of its components. Within the culturological approach, the contemporary education space (same as the entire world) can be considered to be filled with cultural texts, conceptions, plots, motifs, cliches (a phenomenon of culture). Among these cultural tests, researchers distinguish the uniform (homogeneous) and non-uniform (or intermedial, synthetic, heterogeneous) types.

The practical methods utilized for the analysis of communicative and discursive processes are initial data collection, content analysis, semiotic analysis of the narrative of the educational process, and functional pragmatics.


The term “competence” was first coined by Chomsky (1965), to denote knowledge of the language system in contrast to having mastery of it in real communication situations (performance). Later on, there emerged the term “communicative competence” understood as the ability to carry out communication by means of language in different situations in the process of interaction with other participants in communication based on accurate usage of the system of language and speech norms and the choice of communicative behavior (in the form of statements and discourses) adequate to the authentic situation of communication.

“The key competences are universal. The characteristic features of competences are as follows: they are, first and foremost, are supradisciplinary, interdisciplinary, and multifunctional. They require substantial intellectual development and involve communicative, analytical, prognostic, and other processes” (Kolosovskaia, 2010, p. 81). The integral activity and practical skills (competences) obtained by a person in the course of life determine their further action and interaction both in the daily reality and professional sphere. The very concept of competence (competence as a practical result) is interpreted differently: both as a synonym for professionalism and as one of its components. Overall, three groups of key competences are distinguished: the ones related to an individual as a personality, a subject of life, the ones referring to a person’s interaction with other people, and the ones associated with a person’s activity in all of its types and forms. One of the competences relating to the interaction processes (i.e. communication and interaction with others) is communicative competence, which manifests in the process of communication and involves cognitive, affective, and intentionality factors (Hymes, 1983). The development of the communicative competence in a modern individual is becoming the predominant goal of education - it is social and activity-based and predetermines the level of knowledge and skills necessary to understand others’ and generate one’s own programs of verbal behavior adequate to the goals and situations of communication.

The term “discourse” was proposed in the late 1980s by French philosopher, culture theorist, and historian Foucault (1996) referring to the totality of everything said and uttered [6], today is understood as a communicative phenomenon that, aside from text, also covers extra-linguistic factors (attitudes and goals of the recipient, their opinions, knowledge of the world, and much more), necessary both for the creation and understanding of the text. It has to be noted here that the concepts of “discourse” and “communication” appear to grow closer at present. Discourse is primarily understood as a communicative phenomenon… Moreover, the concept of communication is broader than discourse since the latter is viewed as a linguistic component of communication, whereas communication itself comprises not only verbal (oral and written) but also non-verbal forms of manifestation (Sokolova, 2014). Discourse in the language of modern humanitarian science means a stable socially and culturally determined tradition of human communication”, while the “body of discourse” presents “an open set of statements, both realized in communication practice and possible, pre-implemented, although not any statements but those constructed in the system of power lines of the socio-cultural field of a given discourse”. (Silantev, 2006, p. 9-10)

Unlike text, discourse is a linear process of implementation of particular communicative intentions in the context of specific interaction and in regard to a specific partner, a representative of a certain culture, through verbal and non-verbal means adequate to the given situation. The beginning of the discourse determines the thematic, intentional (in the philosophical and phenomenological sense) orientation on the objective sphere and the possible ways of construction of the social world. The beginning of discourse sets the framework for its possible interpretation and determines the tone much like the musical key and the alteration marks on the stave. This is possibly a psychological property of many semiotic processes that unfold progressively over time. Words that precede subsequent communicative acts, becoming the context of the speech, have a great influence on the perception and processing of the discourse by the listener (Makarov, 2003).

Currently, discursive practices “are understood as socially established, conventional actions articulated in the speech that are aimed at recurrent communication problems and intentions in the corresponding linguocultural space in the spheres of institutional and non-institutional interaction” (Kulikova et al., 2015, p. 10). Their resulting intentionality largely depends on the communicative competence of the participants in the interaction processes.

Communication is a complex process, within which a multidimensional network of relations between its participants is created. Any communicative interaction, institutionalized or daily life, can be viewed as a fight or a game for dominance and submission. Every time two or more people interact, the relations of power and dominance are constructed and the statuses of actors are actualized (Kiesendahl, 2011). In each communicative episode, someone ends up being more competent and takes the upper hand or is in a dependent position, is rather active or passive. In the process of communication, people constantly, although not always consciously, take certain positions and thus construct their status. “Stereotypical speech behavior of members of the educational environment (participants of didactic interaction) is due to cognitive and socio-psychological factors. If we consider mental schemes (frames, models, scenarios) guiding a person in events and situations they observe or partake as hierarchically organized data structures accumulating knowledge about a particular stereotypical situation…, we have to admit that these schemes are what allows a subject of communication to more or less adequately interpret the behavior of other people, plan their own actions, and carry them out in traditional (accepted in the given society) ways, which allows the partners to intentionally understand actions and perceive the logic behind them”. (Oleshkov, 2006, p. 125)

The communicative and discursive practices of the educational process reflect the social process of comprehension and interpretation of cultural texts, the educational value of interaction between students and a teacher is shaped by the collaborative nature of this process forming cognitive structures in the mental structures of students with their direct active participation in the processes of communication and interaction within the educational process by virtue of the development of interaction as a bidirectional social process. During a discursive discussion, students may clarify or confirm the meaning of a certain statement, and a teacher may simplify, clarify, or repeat the text in response (Al-Smadi & Ab Rashid, 2017).

In modern pedagogy, cognitive learning has become largely widespread in many countries along with such recognized and well-known directions as development-inducing learning, programmed learning, problem-based learning, etc. Various countries solve the objectives of cognitive learning differently depending on their socio-economic and cultural and educational conditions and objectives of development. The main goal of such learning is the development of the complex of a person’s cognitive abilities, as well as the strategies dynamically combining the learning process and adaptation to new situations. The criteria of cognitive development in cognitive learning are an individual’s awareness of their ability to complete a certain task (the level of development of reflection) and the strategies they follow in cognitive activity to achieve the goal.

A combination of cognitive and discursive practices appears to be a synthesis of the discursive and cognitive approaches to education. From the point of teaching a particular academic discipline, what can be considered discourse is the set of mechanisms and rules for the development of assertions and inferences, the formulation of tasks, questions, and answers, the preparation of text materials, the organization discussion, etc. that exists within this discipline and has settled over time. The definiteness of such a discourse is due to the categorical apparatus of the scientific discipline (as the basis of the academic discipline) expressed in the thesaurus, research methodology and methods, the presence of generally accepted patterns and principles. In turn, discourses of various branches of science interact with more universal institutional discourses - the educational and the scientific. A student (undergraduate, graduate, or postgraduate) is a person with a universal and individual level of development of intelligence as a generalized characteristic of cognitive abilities, including the acquisition and effective use of knowledge.

The characteristics of intelligence include 1. Prerequisites (memory, attention, thinking, speech, information processing speed, etc.); 2. Basic knowledge (the tied intelligence - knowledge, skills, and abilities obtained through socialization and inculturation); 3. Free, agile intelligence (the ability to solve thinking problems, characterizes the biological features of the nervous system). The goal of a student’s participation in the educational process of higher education is undoubtedly the development of intelligence and thinking, meaning the enrichment and greater complexity of each characteristic of a person’s intelligence, the expansion of individual cognitive structures, and the development of thinking skills.

To successfully reach this goal, a student has to be active in their study of academic disciplines, which, being part of the educational process, are formed through discourse and present a corresponding conceptual apparatus with thesaurus interconnections supplemented by basic cognitive schemes expressed according to the rules of a particular discourse of a group of statements, as well as the logical and dynamic schemes. The pedagogical process has to produce and implement both of the main forms of discourse: the narrative and the argumentation, which are in one form or another present in various discursive practices. Moreover, the narrative will be present both in the text of learning materials and in verbal discursive practices. Accordingly, textual analysis inevitably raises the problem of reading the text and interpreting its meaning. Discursive practice within the educational process provides for the formation of new cognitive structures in the students’ minds (professional competences) perceived as separate scientific knowledge, fluent mastery of the corresponding specialized language, logical schemes, cognitive formations, and information sources. This, in turn, calls for discursive participation in a collaborative intellectual activity on the part of both the students and the teacher. Here the leading role is taken by the teacher’s effective communicative and discursive competences.

As an example, in the sphere of musical art, the structure of a teacher’s communicative skills is represented by two main groups: the skills common for pedagogical communication and specific skills of communication in musical activity. The first group comprises 1) perceptual skills; 2) communication skills; 3) pedagogical technique skills. The second includes communicative skills associated with creating a favorable atmosphere in practical lessons, with the effective learning of a piece of music, as well as with its adequate performance.

However, the established system of training teachers of individual musical-performance disciplines typically focuses on the formation of the basic professional competence without considering the formation of its actual communicative competence as a set of knowledge and skills in the sphere of interpersonal contacts. Meanwhile, communicative competence in music pedagogy is determined by the creative nature of the content of the studied discipline, the multivariant resolutions of musical and pedagogical problems, and the mobilization of the creative potential of the interaction subjects (student and teacher) in the search for the modern means of conveying the author’s idea and various interpretations of the musical work. Moreover, contemporary works of art are synthetic forms that contain both text, music, and movement. The teacher is responsible for the formation of not only the professional skills of a future musician but also their interest in themselves in the context of their active involvement in society through their creative skills and discursive practices in this kind of art (Talbot, 2013).

The essential directions of human activity are generally characterized by four types of vital functions, two of which are the exclusively human (anthropological) cognitive and praxiological (cognition and activity) functions and the sociogenic functions (the need for communication, empathy, altruism, sense of justice, honesty, etc.). Communicative practices within the educational process reflect the latter type of functions, which are realized in the process of communicative activity that is personally determined by various types of communication. Communication is what gives rise to a person’s feelings and experiences. It also serves as a basis for interaction and the formation of certain relationships that connect a student with other group members, the closest social circle, and society as a whole. Personal communication and the relationships being formed are the essence of an individual’s social nature.

Communication can take an interpersonal, mass, professional, verbal, or non-verbal form. Within the educational process, the “teacher-student” pedagogical communication is a component of the pedagogical process, and what becomes the system-forming factor of the influence of relations on the formation of a higher education graduate’s personality is their complex competence. The design of general cultural and professional competences has become a required outcome of the educational process along with the expediency of including new competences that correlate with the formation of a general activity orientation. This calls for new pedagogical technologies for the assimilation of knowledge and the development of practical abilities and professional skills in students. Modern higher education aims to carry out a transition from narrative learning to providing students with assistance in obtaining knowledge, which places the responsibility for the obtained education on them. This requires students to have a range of abilities: the situational approach to solving life tasks based on the obtained knowledge, creative and dynamic self-development, the communication skills necessary and sufficient for arguing one’s viewpoint, and the ability to effectively utilize professional knowledge in solving the ongoing tasks.

Traditional assessment methods and tests can no longer determine the degree of students’ mastery of competences, for example, the ability to learn, conduct a situational analysis, generate ideas, etc. Communicative and discursive practices thus become an increasingly demanded form of “teacher-student” interaction describing the sequence of questions and answers, students’ response to the teacher’s assignments, students’ focused attention to the content of the material, comprehensive perception of textual material of verbal and non-verbal nature, etc.

In the 21st century, information technology is widely used by teachers to promote students’ interest in the studied problems and foster their imaginative thinking and motivation to independently search for additional data. This is indicated by the published survey data showing that 74% of teachers believe information technology to be the key instrument allowing them to expand the content of learning material and motivate students. Moreover, 69% agree that digital technology has qualitatively improved the degree to which the learning material is comprehensible to students, which never happened before (Murray, 2013).

Of interest are the results on students’ involvement in the preparation of their own presentations, which can take the form of a group or individual project (Masacheva, 2014). While presenting independently created material to the group, a student or a group of students substitute the teacher to a certain extent, which allows consolidating the studied material with maximum effectiveness: research shows that in this case, up to 90% of knowledge is transferred into the long-term memory (according to the data provided, the effectiveness of information consolidation reaches 5% in lectures, 10% in independent reading, 20% with the use of audio and visual materials, 30% with an illustrative demonstration, 50% in a group discussion, 75% in practical lessons, and 90% in teaching others).

The most effective and available technical instrument for this activity is Microsoft PowerPoint presentations, which help to implement a person-centered approach to learning and provide for the individualization and differentiation of training accounting for the individual abilities of students. The Internet today provides students with various technological techniques for improving the quality of presentations, adding hyperlinks, a system of navigation in and outside of the presentation, sound accompaniment, etc. Nevertheless, work with the text accompanying the visual material remains challenging to students. This outcome is not without reason. Further on, we will examine the causes for this associated with the educational text.

Analyzing the educational or scientific text, it is possible to distinguish its basic functions: informational, development, stimulation, modeling, and the function of managing the cognitive activity of students (Cheremisina, 2014). This multifunctionality allows emphasizing the leading function in the process of learning when needed. For instance, an educational text containing a fixed number of cognitive structures to be assimilated meets students’ need for new information. Thus, the teacher has to determine this volume in such a way as to ensure that the material is assimilated and interiorized by the student (recipient). Further on, the leading role is taken by the modeling function, meaning that the text essentially presents a polysemantic representation of the mental representations of reality in the mind of the teacher, i.e. their current image of the world. The teacher chooses the means of representing knowledge in accordance with their social and cultural experience but also accounting for the level of students’ cognitive development. As a result, the students interiorize the educational and scientific text being a representation of a fragment of reality fixated by genetically diverse sign systems. This is the way of formation of new knowledge, which develops students’ cognitive structures and forms the much-needed competences. This, however, calls for motivating students’ cognitive interest and their constant engagement in learning search activity, specifically semantic work with texts. Analysis of surveys on the practical implementation of such educational work shows the following.

“Undergraduate students’ reading is typically not described (with few exceptions) as reading a text continuously and can instead be labeled fragmented and “diagonal”. Such a manner of students’ reading is due to the need to read to complete a certain task, a substantial volume of reading assignments, and other circumstances of learning”. Self-descriptions of students’ practices highlight their forced nature, orientation on the teacher, and the position of students’ “accountability” in learning” (Chudova, 2020, p. 23). How students describe their reading shows the effect of an uninvolved visitor hastily passing through the text assigned in their studies “spread out like tombstones, which they awaken to life and visit as a guest, but of which they are never the proprietor” (Certeau, 2013, p. 292). This qualitative assessment of the analysis of discursive practices in the educational process points to the students in higher education lacking skills of the formation of knowledge, which are necessary and sufficient for independently resolving vital tasks and problems in real life, both day-to-day and professional, in which the socio-cultural content of systemically organized social life is dynamic and largely unpredictable. As a result, there is certain fragmentariness due to the need to familiarize oneself with thematic texts within academic disciplines, which manifests in the rhythm of selective and focused reading and results in a forced increase in independence in the choice of focus and reading material. The outcomes of such independence are directly contingent on the lifestyle and future profession of students reflected in the provided discursive descriptions.

As previously noted, in the 21st century, the sphere of education as a relatively stable social institution is intensely affected by the process of virtualization, which unfolds in the global digital and network environment in the following forms:

  1. mass products of information and communication technologies (electronic money, the Internet, cinema, virtual reality (movies, television, simulation practices, computer games, etc.) that offer a visual resemblance to real-life objects;

  2. social simulation, in which the value content of the object-semantic activity is replaced by symbolic practices, formal procedures devoid of a systemic basis and the meaning and purpose necessary for a safe and comfortable life;

  3. virtualization of the learning process in the system of distance learning via the Internet, which generates an imitation of system functions and roles in a stable narrative educational process. Interactive cyberspace has become a simulated analog of real society.

Regarding other assessment materials, the evaluation of the work of journalism students appears to be quite interesting and revealing (Beilin, 2018). The students have their own approaches to choosing reliable mass media sources:

  1. If a piece of information is published in several sources, it can be trusted. This technique is used by the majority of the respondents typically without additional methods of verification. The students are essentially poorly informed of the essence of media and associate this term with Internet resources.

  2. Information is regularly checked in other (non-media) sources. If there is confidence in the reliability of the information provided by a particular source, other news provided by that source is accepted as true.

  3. Federal media are always excluded from the list of potentially reliable sources.

  4. Western media are a priori considered more objective and honest than Russian media.

Students use media regularly mostly for personal purposes (entertainment resources, news, etc.). Educational objectives take a back seat as students access specific media resources exclusively by assignment from teachers, although personal interest in something new can also be a motivation. The use of information sources appears to be selective and typically corresponding to students’ personal preferences. For this reason, YouTube and social media enjoy greater popularity compared to traditional media sources (television and radio). Moreover, the verification criteria change from time to time depending on the professional experience, the experience of media consumption, and the social experience of the respondent (many students are employed in the sphere of journalism and are well familiar with modern media).

The problem of educational discourse thus lies in the development of adequate cognitive and communicative means that represent the institutionalized and time-proven professional socio-cultural systemic forms of learning on the one hand and construct the personal identities that match the modern competence requirements of higher education on the other. There persists the issue of forming the state and societal responsibility for providing the discourse of education with resources to maintain the continuity and relevance of the components of the educational process, that is, for the construction, reproduction, and maintenance of certain social and cultural patterns. Unfortunately, virtual reality quickly spreads surrogate knowledge, presented as true as a result of students’ low trust in the values, knowledge, and norms transmitted by the teacher, as well as increased interest in the offerings of extra-institutional subcultures.

The role of education becomes especially vital in the age of information and knowledge, which implies that the comprehension and interpretation of social life situations depend not only on the quantity but also the quality of the transformation of media information resources into reliable knowledge that is necessary and sufficient for solving topical tasks. The educational discourse is formed as a relatively stable system of thinking and speech strategies aimed at transforming the general information flow into specialized sections of knowledge passed from generation to generation in the educational environment. Here it is important to remember that at the very basis of the social institution of education lies a stable set of textually recorded socio-cultural norms and conventions.

The latter shape the specifics of educational interactions as practical interactions independent of their participants, their communications and interactions in the process of working with, interpreting, and actualizing educational and scientific texts. Society delegates to education as a social institution the task of constructing and reproducing the socio-cultural reality. Society makes it responsible for transmitting the current body of knowledge, interpretations, and behavioral models to the new generations for their representatives with different abilities, capabilities, and socio-cultural resources to enter into communication and interaction being capable of understanding one another and balancing the individual and collective interests and needs. The modern educational discourse is then constructed as a unifying meaning-forming and reproducing activity of a descriptive and explanatory nature aimed at reaching and maintaining the so-called “public consensus”.

Today’s media space seemingly offers the broadest opportunities for the members of society to actively and independently master socio-cultural reality. However, the modern visual culture has generated specific problems the new generation faces in the use of visual forms and technologies that drastically differ from the existing traditional socio-cultural forms and communications and only partially allow for maintaining contact with the experience of previous generations. The point is, the modern mass culture has become almost completely visual, thus largely depriving a person of imagination and the ability to independently form an individual image of the world - their own perceptions. The assimilation of such clichéd visual information occurs quite easily and quickly, but it is just as quick to lose its effectiveness in real life due to the individual not properly mastering the discrete combinatorial system of our sign culture - a system of meanings (concepts), the elements of which form new modern concepts, and the basic meanings are not mastered at all. Possibly no discursive practices can help a person pinpoint the stable meaning in the perceived surroundings, leaving it polysemantic and in need of additional comprehension when repeated. Is the contemporary higher education system capable of timely resolving this issue?

Educational and pedagogical discursive practices are carried out in diverse communicative forms and processes. The choice of the form and process of the implementation of a communicative and discursive practice varies depending on the level of cognitive operations in the educational process, as well as the degree of students’ communicative and cognitive competence, specifically, there is the monological form (lectures, speeches, public communications) and the conventional form (versatile work with written educational and scientific texts). The general pragmatic and semantic cohesion of pedagogical text undoubtedly calls for metacognitive tools - abstracts, keywords, summaries, and conclusions that allow students and independent learners to master the learning material. However, only interpretation of this text in discursive educational practices can clarify the fundamental meanings and the author’s intentions that require deciphering and makes the texts themselves relevant to new generations. A specific feature of discursive practices in the educational process is their evaluative nature that supports the stable authority of the teacher as the carrier of institutionalized knowledge and socio-cultural values and norms. What continues to be a successful outcome of such discourses (same as in the habitual form of dialogue interaction) is the corresponding reproduction of not only the transmitted knowledge but also the models of behavior and the very form of knowledge transmission. The specificity of humanitarian knowledge lies in the presence of text materials used in the communicative and discursive practice as an object of analysis and interpretation. This calls for the formation of versatile competence in students, as well as for solving the objectives of students’ integration into the broad socio-cultural context. Essentially, this constitutes the process of making an individual into a person.


Culturological analysis of communicative and discursive practices on contemporary Russian higher education allows revealing the systemic relationship between authoritarian knowledge and an individual in the process of them growing into a socialized and professionally competent person. Discursive practice in the space of education then serves as the meaning-forming activity aimed at maintaining, reflecting, reproducing, and regulating the present values, knowledge, skills, and models of behavior governed by socio-cultural codes. The substantial objective of educational discourse is to utilize adequate cognitive and communicative means that convey and support the institutionalized goals of higher education and construct the identities of professionally educated and competent individuals.

As a result of the analysis of educational discourse in modern Russian higher education, we can identify some of its practical features.

Firstly, educational discourse as a part of the communication process within the system of professional training presents a result of purposeful speech interaction isolated in time and space and occurring between a teacher and a student (a group of students) in the form of text in combination with extra-linguistic, pragmatic, socio-cultural, psychological, and other factors accounting for the personal intentions, emotions, and assessments of the participants in the process.

Secondly, the educational discourse has two aspects in terms of its goals. The first manifests in the search for and implementation of appropriate cognitive and communicative means to reflect the established professional, socio-cultural, and existential meanings of education as a social institution. The second aspect represents the contradiction between the modern individual and personal intentions, abilities, worldview, and experiences of the recipients and the explicitly unifying form of the institutional impact of education. All this poses urgent tasks for society to overcome the discrepancy between the socio-cultural demands of individuals and the objectives of the institution of education.

Thirdly, the analysis of communicative and discursive practices in contemporary higher education in Russia reveals latent discursive deformations, when due to the change of communicative roles, students themselves become articulating objects reproducing independent cultural texts that distort the real values of education. In the Internet setting, such ersatz knowledge rapidly spreads across social and informational networks and eliminates the cognitive functions of the social institution of education. Further technical and technological improvements of the digital space cannot resolve this problem.

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Recibido: 12 de Mayo de 2022; Aprobado: 20 de Junio de 2022

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El autor participó en el diseño y redacción del trabajo, y análisis de los documentos.

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