A Typology of Virtual Communities: A Multi-Disciplinary Foundation for Future Research

From the Journal of Computer Mediated Communication: A Typology of Virtual Communities: A Multi-Disciplinary Foundation for Future Research

Abstract: Despite the growing popularity of virtual communities, there is no consensus among researchers regarding the appropriate definition or types of virtual communities. In this paper, a virtual community is defined as an aggregation of individuals or business partners who interact around a shared interest, where the interaction is at least partially supported and/or mediated by technology and guided by some protocols or norms. The central objective of developing this typology was to develop a classification system that would be useful to researchers from various disciplinary perspectives such that the classification system might be used as a foundation for theory construction. The proposed typology serves its intended purposes and is evaluated against criteria put forth by Hunt (1991). The proposed typology uses establishment type and relationship orientation as the key categorization variables, reconciling problems posed by other researchers who attempt to use attributes as categorization variables. It is simple, pragmatic for practitioners and useful for researchers seeking to develop an understanding of the virtual community phenomenon.

Beyond the LMS

From Parkin’s Lot: E-Learning Adventures Beyond the LMS

Initially, we failed to appreciate that the internet is a vehicle for connecting people with each other, and instead pursued a “learning supply chain” concept that had more in common with the 1970’s music industry than it did with 21st century e-business. We pursued systems that imposed bureaucratic control instead of learner empowerment. In a world hurtling toward distributed internetworking, e-learning was still based on a library-like central-repository concept.

Is it time to start thinking about different approaches to our courses?

Learning Management Systems: The wrong place to start elearning

From: elearnspace. Learning Management Systems: The wrong place to start elearning
In developing e-learning there is a temptation to start with the technology and let what it provides drive the design of courses and programs. Educationally it would be better to begin by considering the learners and what is to be learned and then select or design technological systems to support learning. George Siemens makes some strong comments along those lines:

The issue is not that an LMS is not needed for learning (though that point in itself could be argued). The real issue is that LMS vendors are attempting to position their tools as the center-point for elearning – removing control from the system’s end-users: instructors and learners.


Large, centralized, mono-culture tools limit options. Diversity in tools and choices are vital to learners and learning ecology. Over the last several years, I’ve encountered many instances where an instructor was not able to achieve what she/he wanted with course design due to the limitations of WebCT. In essence, the LMS determines what an instructor could do. It should be the other way around – instructor needs first, tool selection second.