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eTourism: Communication Perspectives

« In the context of the Coronavirus crisis, this MOOC is accessible in the modality
« open archive », without supervision / assistance.
No new paid exams and free completion certificates are currently planned.

All data/info have been updated in 2016»

About This Course

An introduction course to a fascinating travel into the eTourism world, which crosses both space and time, and is always closely connected with communication. In fact, we are embarking to create a great study experience, which explores how Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) do matter for tourism – both for our personal experience, and for the tourism industry at large. In other words, we will together explore eTourism by using tools and models of the Communication Sciences.

Key concepts and theories covered include: Online Communication Model (OCM); Roman Jakobson's Communication Model; Quality of online contents; User Generated Content (UGC); Web 2.0; Reputation in online Media; Intercultural communication and localisation; eLearning; Argumentation; World Heritage Sites.

Who is this course for?

We expect the following people to be attracted by the course in order to update their skills and knowledge on a very hot topic:

  • Students, in particular within tourism and hospitality programs
  • Academia and researchers
  • Destination managers
  • People active in the tourism industry
  • Policy makers

What do I need to know

No prerequisite knowledge necessary to understand the concepts and experiences shared in the course.

What will I learn?

By the end of the course, learners:

  • Know current eTourism applications, technologies and practices
  • Know what is communication, and its major components, ICTs and their relevance to the tourism field
  • Know what kinds of online training courses can be used within tourism and hospitality
  • Know how to map different communication activities within the tourism sector
  • Know how to run a usability test and how to make usages analysis of a website or mobile app
  • Know how to plan, run and evaluate eTourism related activities, especially when it comes to the analysis of online reputation of a tourism destination
  • Are aware of the crucial role played by communication and ICTs within the tourism and hospitality sectors

Course structure

Chapter 1. Communication: an introduction to its nature and history

Instructor: Prof. Lorenzo Cantoni
  1. Theoretical part: The etymology of communication and its major components
  2. Case study: UNESCO World Heritage Sites and eTourism

Chapter 2. The Online Communication Model (OCM) and the quality of online contents

Instructor: Prof. Lorenzo Cantoni
  1. Theoretical part: The Online Communication Model
  2. Case study: Analysis of the content quality in online communication

Chapter 3. Usability analysis and web analytics

Instructor: Prof. Lorenzo Cantoni
  1. Theoretical part: Usability and usages analysis of tourism websites, mobile apps and other online communication tools
  2. Case study: Strategies to assess usability

Chapter 4. Localisation of online content

Instructor: Prof. Lorenzo Cantoni
Assistant: Emanuele Mele
  1. Theoretical part: Cultural translation / localization of messages for people with different cultural backgrounds and experiences
  2. Case study: Localized website for domestic and international visitors. Case of Quito (Ecuador)

Chapter 5. B2B activities and eLearning within the hospitality and tourism domain

Instructor: Dr. Nadzeya Kalbaska
  1. Theoretical part: The notion of eLearning and its use in the hospitality and tourism field
  2. Case study: eLearning courses about Destination Management Organizations. Case of “Ticino Switzerland Travel Specialist” online course

Chapter 6. User Generated Contents (UGCs) & Web 2.0

Instructors: Dr. Silvia de Ascaniis; Dr. Elena Marchiori
  1. Theoretical part: Communication opportunities given by UGCs and Web 2.0
  2. Case study: Hotels’ communication strategies to respond to online reviews

Chapter 7. Reputation in online media

Instructor: Dr. Elena Marchiori
  1. Theoretical part: The definition of the reputation construct and its relevance in the online domain
  2. Case study: How to analyze the online reputation of a tourist destination

Chapter 8. Argumentation in online travel reviews

Instructor: Dr. Silvia de Ascaniis
Assistant: Jingjing Lin
  1. Theoretical part: Definition of argumentation
  2. Case study: Argumentative analysis of Online Travel Reviews of a Chinese National Park

Suggested readings

You are welcome to visit the following websites before the course starts:

Highlights in the second edition

  • Video subtitles in English, Simplified Chinese, Spanish and Italian
  • Chinese translation is provided by Eduinfinity Translation Group (教育无边界字幕组)
  • Italian translation is provided by Fondazione ITS del Turismo e dell’ Ospitalità - IATH
  • Spanish translation is provided by CETT Barcelona
  • Monthly Google Hangouts with the instructors and assistants
  • Updated additional materials

Course Staff

All instructors are active within the Master of International Tourism of USI - Università della Svizzera italiana.

Course Staff Image #1

Lorenzo Cantoni

Lorenzo Cantoni graduated in Philosophy and holds a PhD in Education and Linguistics and is professor at USI - Università della Svizzera italiana (Lugano - Switzerland), Faculty of Communication Sciences, where he served as Dean of the Faculty in the academic years 2010-2014. He is currently director of the Institute for Communication Technologies and scientific director of the laboratories, NewMinE Lab: New Media in Education Lab, and eLab: eLearning Lab. L. Cantoni is chair-holder of the UNESCO chair in ICT to develop and promote sustainable tourism in World Heritage Sites, established at USI, and president of IFITT - International Federation for Information Technologies in Travel and Tourism. His research interests are where communication, education and new media overlap, ranging from computer mediated communication to usability, from eLearning to eTourism, and from ICT4D to eGovernment.

Course Staff Image #2

Nadzeya Kalbaska

Nadzeya Kalbaska, PhD, post-doctoral researcher and lecturer at the Faculty of Communication Sciences of the Università della Svizzera italiana (USI, University of Lugano, Switzerland). She serves IFITT-International Federation for IT and Travel and Tourism as General Secretary. Skills: research, university teaching, distance education, coaching, public speaking Specialties: online communication and marketing, social media management, SEO, SEM, usability studies, web analytics, social media analytics, eCommerce, eLearning and MOOCs, learning analytics, Human Resource Management, eGovernment Industries: tourism and hospitality, fashion, event management Working languages: English, Italian, French, Russian Passion: fine food and slow travel.

Course Staff Image #2

Elena Marchiori

Dr. Elena Marchiori is a Postdoctoral Researcher and Lecturer at USI – Università della Svizzera italiana (Lugano, Switzerland), Faculty of Communication Sciences. She holds an M.Sc. in Media Management and a Ph.D. in Communication Sciences. She is the executive director of - the eTourism Lab at USI, and works for the Institute of Communication Technologies at USI. She is member of IFITT – International Federation for Information Technologies in Travel and Tourism, and general secretary of the IFITT Swiss Chapter. Her research interests are online tourism communication, reputation in online media, maturity of destinations and web adoption, and media effects. To know more about Elena visit:

Course Staff Image #4

Silvia Matilde De Ascaniis

Silvia is a Postdoctoral Researcher and Lecturer at the Faculty of Communication Sciences at the Università della Svizzera italiana (USI - Lugano, Switzerland). She is the Executive Director of the doctoral school Cross-Field (, and coordinator of the doctoral school Argupolis (, both founded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF). Silvia got a Phd in Communication Sciences with a thesis about pragmatic and argumentative features of tourism related Online Travel Reviews. She was visiting scholar at the Institute for Innovation in Business and Social Research, University of Wollongong (Australia), under the guidance of prof. Ulrike Gretzel. Silvia is member of IFITT - the International Federation for IT and Travel & Tourism. Silvia’s research interests focus on argumentation dynamics in the online environment and the tourism field, religious tourism and pilgrimage, online communication, ICTs for promoting formal and informal learning.