Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Special Issue on CALL Number 6. July 2020                                 Pp. 140-156

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 Beyond Language Classes: Semiotic Practices in PowerPoint Slideshows in Pharmaceutical
English-Mediated Presentations


Noura A. Alghamdi
English Language Institute, University of Jeddah
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia



Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) has attracted considerable attention lately due to our increasing reliance on technology in education. This article contributes to educational research on CALL by considering the semiotic practices that surround PowerPoint slideshows. The article examines how a year-five female undergraduate in pharmacy designs her PowerPoint slideshow to represent and communicate knowledge in an English-mediated literacy event, i.e. pharmaceutical seminar presentations. While language plays an essential role in engagement in this event, the article seeks to highlight the role that visuals and writing plays in PowerPoint slideshows to help the presenter represent and communicate different aspects of meaning which reflect what she considers to be important for a successful engagement in a professional presentation. The investigation is carried out through a qualitative case study, using a social account of literacy and a social semiotic multimodal approach to meaning making. Though this investigation is not carried within a traditional language class, it is used to highlight some of the issues that can help inform language education by drawing attention to the potential benefits that lie in exploring situated practices of meaning making in different professional and academic settings.
Keywords: CALL, social semiotics, multimodality, literacy, qualitative research

Cite as:  Alghamdi, N. A. (2020). Beyond Language Classes: Semiotic Practices in PowerPoint Slideshows in Pharmaceutical English-Mediated Presentations. Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Special Issue on CALL (6). 140-156.


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Dr. Noura Ali Alghamdi is an assistant professor at the English Language Institute, University
of Jeddah, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Her research interests include qualitative research methodology,
literacy studies, multimodality, identity and computer assisted language learning.