Analysis of cultural and ideological values transmitted by university websites.
Ramakatane, Mamosa Grace.
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With the advent of globalisation and new communication technologies, it was inevitable that educational institutions would follow the advertising trend of establishing websites to market their services. This paper analyses the cultural and ideological values transmitted by such university websites. Particular focus is on issues around gender, sexual orientation, race, religion and socioeconomic status. The aim is to analyse consumer reaction to Internet messages conveyed in websites from different cultures, compare them with the intentions of producers and to relate all these back to ideological factors. This study deconstructs content and messages conveyed by University websites to assess the extent to which they might subscribe to particular ideologies (whether overt or covert). The argument that there are hidden ideologies in Web design does not imply that designers or producers intended any conspiracy or deception. Rather, the study compares the organisation's intended image/ethos with that which consumers perceive through their exposure to the website. The methodology was purposive sampling of participants consulted through personal (face-to-face) and interviews conducted online, as well as email-distributed questionnaires.This study uses websites of two universities in the KwaZulu-Natal region of South Africa.