Student Engagement in Course-Based Social Networks: The Impact of Instructor Credibility and Use of Communication

Jehad Imlawi, Dawn G. Gregg, and Jahan Karimi
Computers & Education, Vol. 88, pp. 84-96

Social network sites provide the opportunity for building and maintaining online social network groups around a specific interest. Despite the increasing use of social networks in higher education, little previous research has studied their impacts on student’s engagement and on their perceived educational outcomes. This research investigates the impact of instructors’ self-disclosure and use of humor via course-based social networks as well as their credibility, and the moderating impact of time spent in these course-based social networks, on the students’ engagement in course-based social networks. The research provides a theoretical viewpoint, supported by empirical evidence, on the impact of students’ engagement in course-based social networks on their perceived educational outcomes. The findings suggest that instructors who create course-based online social networks to communicate with their students can increase their engagement, motivation, and satisfaction. We conclude the paper by suggesting the theoretical implications for the study and by providing strategies for instructors to adjust their activities in order to succeed in improving their students’ engagement and educational outcomes.