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Silvia De Ascaniis



Silvia is a senior lecturer and researcher at the Faculty of Communication Sciences at Università della Svizzera italiana - USI, Lugano (Switzerland). She is the coordinator of the UNESCO Chair in ICTs to develop and promote sustainable tourism in World Heritage Sites.

Her education and scientific activities are mainly related to the following topics:

- characteristics, opportunities and threats of Online Communication

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

- the use of ICTs to promote Heritage

- Heritage communication through ICTs

Silvia is co-lecturer of the course "Online Communication" offered within the Bachelor in Communication, and of the course "UNESCO World Heritage and Tourism" offered within the Master in International Tourism. She was instructor of two Massive Online Open Courses (MOOC):

- "eTourism: Communication Perspectives", the first MOOC in eTourism, launched by USI in October 2015 and now fully free and open.

- "Tourism Management at UNESCO World Heritage Sites", produced by the UNESCO UNITWIN Network “Culture, Tourism, and Development”, and jointly led by Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne University (Paris, France) and the UNESCO Chair at USI. During the Coronavirus pandemic, the MOOC is fully accessible. 

In 2015-2016, she led the initiative "Faces4Heritage", launched by the U.S. Government to challange violent Extremism and awarded among the best social media campaigns worldwide: www.faces4heritage.org.

Silvia 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 collaborated 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