Azam Esfijani, Farookh Khadeer Hussain, Elizabeth Chang


The main purpose of this study is to investigate, from a theoretical point of view, virtual universities in comparison with Social Networking Services (SNS). The theoretical framework constitutes of the Human Motivation Theory (HMT) and the Human Factors (HF) in which Facebook as the most popular SNS is compared with virtual university in general. The main features of these technologies were compared in order to consider whether they comply with mentioned theories. Using an exploratory research methodology, this study concludes that SNSs are more adopted with HMT than virtual university. In the other word, Facebook applications as the most popular virtual community with over 500,000,000 users worldwide, is more compliant with HMT to gratify users’ needs. Also, from the perspective of human factors, it is more successful than the virtual university.


  1. Anon, 2011. History of the OU. The Open University, (28/07/2010). Available at:
  2. Barbour, M. K. and Reeves, T. C., 2009. The Reality of Virtual Schools: A Review of the Literature. Computers and Education, 52(2), pp.402-416.
  3. Benjamin, R., Wigand, R. and Birkland, J., 2008. Explaining the Evolving Web - Mixing Technology with Pleasure. In A. Mazzeo, R. Bellini, and G. Motta, eds. IFIP International Federation for Information Processing. Boston: Springer, pp. 261- 275.
  4. Brown, K. G., 2001. Using Computers To Deliver Training: Which Employees Learn and Why? Personnel Psychology, 54(2), pp.271-296.
  5. Burbles, N. C., 2004. Navigating the Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Pedagogy. In C. Haythornthwaite and M. M. Kazmer, eds. Learning, Culture and Community in Online Education: Research and Practice. New York: Peter Lang Publishing.
  6. Carr, S., 2000. As distance education comes of age , the challenge is keeping the students. Chronicle of Higher Education,, (2), p.A39-A41.
  7. Chiu, P.-Y., Cheung, C. M. K. and Lee, M. K. O., 2008. Online Social Networks: Why Do “We” Use Facebook? In M. D. Lytras et al., eds. The Open Knowlege Society. A Computer Science and Information Systems Manifesto. Springer Berlin Heidelberg, pp. 67-74.
  8. Clark, N., Boyer, L. and Lee, S.-Y., 2007. A Place of Their Own: An Exploratory Study of College Students Uses of Facebook. In The Annual Meeting of the International Communication Association, TBA,. San Francisco, US.
  9. Deden, A., 2005. Program packaging and e-support for online student retention. Available at:
  10. Dwyer, C., Hiltz, S. and Passerini, K., 2007. Trust and Privacy Concern Within Social Networking Sites: A Comparison of Facebook and MySpace. In Proceedings of the Thirteenth Americas Conference on Information Systems. Keystone, Colorado: AMCIS 2007 Proceedings.
  11. Ellison, N., Steinfield, C. and Lampe, C., 2006. Spatially bounded online social networks and social capital: the role of Facebook. In Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the International Communication Association. Dresden, Germany.
  12. Fogel, J. and Nehmad, E., 2009. Internet social network communities: Risk taking, trust, and privacy concerns. Computers in Human Behavior, 25(1), pp.153-160.
  13. Fox, D. and Naidu, S., 2009. Usability Evaluation of Three Social Networking Sites. Usablity News, 11(1), pp.1-11.
  14. Gomez, R., Bryson, A. and Willman, P., 2008. From the two faces of unionism to the Facebook society: union voice in a 21st century context. In Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Labor and Employment Relations Association, 03-06 Jan 2008. New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.
  15. Hara, N. and Kling, R., 1999. Students Frustrations with a Web-Based Distance Education Course. PeerReviewed Journal on the Internet, 4(12), pp.1-23.
  16. Hart, J. et al., 2008. Exploring the Facebook experience: a new approach to usability. In Proceedings of the 5th Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction: Building Bridges. Lund, Sweden: ACM, pp. 471-474.
  17. Hoadley, C. M. et al., 2009. Privacy as information access and illusory control: The case of the Facebook News Feed privacy outcry. Electronic Commerce Research and Applications, 9(1), pp.50-60.
  18. Johnston, J., 2007. The Effectiveness of Online Instruction: A Literature Review. Canadian Journal of Medical Radiation Technology, 38(2), pp.17-21.
  19. Jones, A. et al., 2004. Identification of Key Causes of Withdrawal on the E-College Wales On-line Undergraduate Degree. Education Today, 54(4), pp.8- 16.
  20. Joo, Y. J., Lim, K. Y. and Kim, E. K., 2011. Online University Students' Satisfaction and Persistence: Examining Perceived Level of Presence, Usefulness and Ease of Use as Predictors in a Structural Model. Computers and Education, 57(2), pp.1654-1664.
  21. Kramer, N. C. and Winter, S., 2008. Impression Management 2.0: The Relationship of Self-Esteem, Extraversion, Self-Efficacy, and Self-Presentation Within Social Networking Sites. Journal of Media Psychology, 20(3), pp.106-116.
  22. Krisanic, K., 2008. Motivations and Impression Management: Predictors of Social Networking Site Use and User Behavior. United states--Missouri,: University of Missouri-Columbia.
  23. Kurosu, M., 2003. A Cultural Comparison of website Design From a Usability Engineering Perspective. In J. Ratner, ed. Human Factors and Web Development. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Inc, pp. 47-59.
  24. Lampe, C., Ellison, N. and Steinfield, C., 2007. A Familiar Face(book): Profile Elements as Signals in an Online Social Network. In CHI 2007 Proceedings. San Jose, California, USA, pp. 435-444.
  25. Lampe, C., Ellison, N. and Steinfield, C., 2006. A face(book) in the crowd: social Searching vs. social browsing. In Proceedings of the 2006 20th anniversary conference on Computer supported cooperative work; Banff, Alberta, Canada: ACM, pp. 167-170.
  26. Lee, L. L. and Zailani, S., 2010. Validation the measures for Intention to Enroll an Online MBA Program. International Business Management, 4(3), pp.124- 133.
  27. Lee, M.-C., 2010. Explaining and predicting users' continuance intention toward e-learning: An extension of the expectation-confirmation model. Computers and Education, 54(2), pp.506-516.
  28. Maslow, A. H., 1954. Motivation and Personality 3rd ed. C. McReynolds, ed., New York: Harper and Row Inc.
  29. Mayhew, D. J., 2003. The Web as Software. In J. Ratner, ed. Human Factors and Web Development. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Inc, pp. 3-19.
  30. McInnerney, J. M. and Roberts, T. S., 2004. Online Learning?: Social Interaction and the Creation of a Sense of Community What is Isolation?? Sociology The Journal Of The British Sociological Association, 7(3), pp.73-81.
  31. Mehdizadeh, S., 2010. Self-Presentation 2.0: Narcissism and Self-Esteem on Facebook. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 13(4), pp.357-364.
  32. Mourlas, C., Tsianos, N. and Germanakos, P., 2009. Cognitive and Emotional Processes in Web-based Education: Integrating Human Factors and Personalization, IGI Global. Available at: [Accessed March 7, 2011].
  33. Papacharissi, Z. and Rubin, A. M., 2000. Predictors of Internet Use. Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, 44(2), pp.175-196.
  34. Piccoli, G., Ahmad, R. and Ives, B., 2011. Web-Based Virtual Learning And A Research Framework Environments: A Preliminary Assessment of effectiveness in Basic IT Skills Training. Management Information Systems Quarterly, 25(4), pp.401-426.
  35. Ratner, J., 2003. Human Factors and Web Development Second., New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Inc.
  36. Ross, C. et al., 2009. Personality and motivations associated with Facebook use. Computers in Human Behavior, 25(2), pp.578-586.
  37. Rovai, A., 2002. Sense of community, perceived cognitive learning, and persistence in asynchronous learning networks. The Internet and Higher Education, 5(4), pp.319-332.
  38. Rovai, A. and Wighting, M., 2005. Feelings of Alienation and Community among Higher Education Students in a Virtual Classroom. The Internet and Higher Education, 8(2), pp.97-110.
  39. Ryan, S. et al., 2000. The Virtual University; The Internet and Resource-Based Learning, London: Kogan Page Limited.
  40. Sadera, W. A. et al., 2009. The Role of Community in Online Learning Success. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 5(2), pp.277-284.
  41. Sarlak, M.A. and Abolhasani, A., 2008. Trust in Virtual Universities. Journal of Social Sciences, 4(3), pp.237- 245.
  42. Schank, R. C., 2000. The Virtual University. Cyberpsychology and Behavior, 3(1), pp.9-16.
  43. Schunk, D. H., 2008. Learning Theories: An Educational Perspective Fifth Edit. M. Harlan, ed., New Jersey: Pearson/Merrill Prentice Hall.
  44. Sears, A., 2003. Universal Usability and The WWW. In J. Ratner, ed. Human Factors and Web Development. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Inc, pp. 21-45.
  45. Shen, D. et al., 2008. Using Social Network Analysis to Understand Sense of Community in an Online Learning Environment. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 39(1), pp.17-36.
  46. Shin, D.-H., 2010. The effects of trust, security and privacy in social networking: A security-based approach to understand the pattern of adoption. Interacting with Computers, 22(5), pp.428-438.
  47. Simons, J. A., Irwin, D. B. and Drinnien, B. A., 1987. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Available at:
  48. Steinfield, C., Ellison, N. B. and Lampe, C., 2008. Social capital, self-esteem, and use of online social network sites: A longitudinal analysis. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 29(6), pp.434-445.
  49. Tabatabaie, M., 2010. Evolution of Distance Education in Iran. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2(2), pp.1043-1047.
  50. Wang, A. Y. and Newlin, M. H., 2000. Characteristics of students who enroll and succeed in psychology Webbased classes. Journal of Educational Psychology, 92(1), pp.137-143.
  51. Weiss, S., 2009. Privacy threat model for data portability in social network applications. International Journal of Information Management, 29(4), pp.249-254.

Paper Citation

in Harvard Style

Esfijani A., Khadeer Hussain F. and Chang E. (2012). HUMAN MOTIVATION PRINCIPLES AND HUMAN FACTORS FOR VIRTUAL COMMUNITIES . In Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Computer Supported Education - Volume 1: CSEDU, ISBN 978-989-8565-06-8, pages 93-100. DOI: 10.5220/0003877100930100

in Bibtex Style

author={Azam Esfijani and Farookh Khadeer Hussain and Elizabeth Chang},
booktitle={Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Computer Supported Education - Volume 1: CSEDU,},

in EndNote Style

JO - Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Computer Supported Education - Volume 1: CSEDU,
SN - 978-989-8565-06-8
AU - Esfijani A.
AU - Khadeer Hussain F.
AU - Chang E.
PY - 2012
SP - 93
EP - 100
DO - 10.5220/0003877100930100