CCE Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Computing and Engineering


Ling Wang

Committee Member

Inkyoung Hur

Committee Member

Martha M. Snyder


With Social Networking Sites (SNSs) being extensively used by students, there has been extensive research in relation to their ability to enhance students’ academic performance in various learning environments, although the advent of research on online learning is a recent development.

Studies regarding the use of SNSs indicated that there was a negative relationship between students’ use of SNSs and students’ academic performance. However, it is unknown whether the implementation of an instructional training course utilizing SNSs as an educational tool might lead to improvements in students’ academic performance. Many students have admitted to not knowing how to properly use SNSs, especially in the context of education, but recent research has suggested that a proper online learning environment can lead to quality academic outcomes.

The purpose of this mixed method study was to determine if the implementation of an instructional training course on the effective use of SNSs as an educational tool might lead to improvements in academic performance as well as to explore students’ perceptions about SNSs. This study examined the effect of the instructional training course on the effective use of SNSs and the academic performance of 69 students in the Management Information Systems (MIS) department at Taif University (TU) in Saudi Arabia.

Data were collected using a pre-survey and post-survey distributed among students in the MIS course at TU in Saudi Arabia, while their associated learning outcomes data were also reviewed to assess whether there was a significant improvement in test scores.

One-way analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) revealed that the learners who were subjected to SNS programs recorded high scores in midterm 2 than in midterm 1. Also, more than half of the participants reported that SNSs had a positive effect on students’ academic performances. The participants argued that SNSs improved their creative thinking through interaction with experts in the field.

The findings of this study suggest that teachers need to develop templates that will guide students on how to positively use social media in classrooms.

The significance of the study is that it sheds light on how an instructional course helped students integrate SNSs into their studies within the context of an online environment.