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Silvia De Ascaniis


Silvia is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Faculty of Communication Sciences at  Università della Svizzera italiana - USI, Lugano (Switzerland). She conducts research activities in the frame of the UNESCO Chair "in ICT to develop and promote sustainable tourism in World Heritage Sites" (, mainly on topics related to:

- the role and impact of ICT in cultural tourism, in religious tourism and pilgrimage

- the use of ICT to promote Heritage preservation

- Heritage communication through ICT

Within the UNESCO Chair activities, she is coordinating, in particular, the initiative "Faces4Heritage", launched by the U.S. Government to challange violent Extremism:

Silvia is co-lecturer for two courses at the Bachelor level at USI, and conducts several other teaching activities on online communication related topics. She is instructor of the Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) "eTourism: Communication Perspectives", the first MOOC in eTourism, launched by USI in October 2015 (

She was Executive Director of the doctoral school Cross-Field (, February 2013 - September 2015), and the coordinator of the doctoral school Argupolis (, February 2013 - April 2015), both of them founded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF).

She got a Phd in Communication Sciences with a thesis about pragmatic and argumentative features of Online Travel Reviews (freely accessible here).

During her PhD she worked as instructional designer at eLab (the laboratory for eLearning applications of USI), in the design and development of eLearning courses, and assisted the Director of study of the Faculty of Communication Sciences at USI. She was a visiting scholar at the Department of Speech Communication, Argumentation Theory and Rhetoric, Universität van Amsterdam, Netherland, where she studied extensively argumentation theory. Thanks to a fellowship of the SNSF, she spent one year as visiting scholar at the Institute for Innovation in Business and Social Research, University of Wollongong (Australia), under the guidance of prof. Ulrike Gretzel, where she worked towards the completion of her Ph.D.

She also collaborates with the School of Church Communicatiom, Pontificia Università della Santa Croce, Rome, in the analysis of communicative strategies used by Italian family associations.


- online communication

- cultural and heritage tourism

- religious tourism and pilgrimage

- argumentation in the context of online tourism

- User Generated Contents

- speech genre studies

- users requirements elicitation