Engagement in Online Social Networks: the Impact of Self-Disclosure and Humor

Jehad Imlawi & Dawn Gregg
International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction, Vol. 30 Issue 2, February 2014, pp. 106-125

This study proposes an engagement model that supports acceptance and use of course-based online social networks for engaging student, and hence, improving the instructor’s credibility. This research demonstrates that instructors who create course-based online social networks can increase student engagement in these online social networks, and improve the instructor’s credibility. This increase in engagement is seen when the instructor posts private information related to the course and when the instructor makes humorous posts. However, it is not seen when the instructor posts private information unrelated to the course. These results should be useful for instructors who are trying to improve student engagement and to enhance their own credibility.

This research utilizes Communication Privacy Management theory and Instructional Humor Processing theory to expand our understanding of how instructor self-disclosure and use of humor via a course-based social network impacts student outcomes. The research also contributes to the theory by providing an engagement model that is unique to online educational settings.