Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Computer Science

First Advisor

Dr. Gert-Jan de Vreede


Crowdsourcing refers to the use of technologies to gather the collective effort and wisdom from an undefined group of online users for organizational innovation and/or problem solving. Further, open collaboration model refers to the crowdsourcing type wherein the crowd members discuss the submitted contributions among themselves to provide the final outcomes to problem owners. Regardless of crowdsourcing forms, a critical challenge for crowdsourcing service providers is to engage online participants in making sustained contributions. Inspired by Flow Theory (Csikszentmihalyi &

Csikszentmihayi, 1988), the purpose of this dissertation is to examine whether the conditions of challenge-skill balance and clear and immediate feedback invoke the flow state, specifically an absorbed and enjoyable experience, and consequently make Internet users more engaged in the open collaboration events. The proposed relationships were tested through lab experiment, with the flow state being measured through both self-report survey and eye-tracking. As for the results, I found that perceived challenge-skill balance and perceived feedback were associated with the invocation of fun, but not the holistic flow experience in the brainstorming task. Moreover, fun was also found to positively associate with the indicators of the intensity and sustainability of user engagement. I also identified some exploratory ocular patterns of participants when they enjoyed the task at hand.


A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy. Copyright 2015 Cuong Nguyen.