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Today, virtual communities or online communities are used by a variety of social groups interacting via the Internet. Different virtual communities, like real communities, have different levels of interaction and participation among their members. An important characteristic of a community is the interaction among its members. Like traditional social  VCs will continue to play an important role in 21st-century society, due to social evolution, the  globalization of economy and knowledge, competition and new media technologies.

Student-to-Student Interactions

 In this collaborative learning environment, the discussion forum is the primary tool for interactivity in the online classroom. Although some marketing educators contend that there is no replacement to face-to-face discussions offered in traditional classes,  In the virtual space, community members must play a key role in assessing the quality and reliability of the communications and content they encounter (Fombrun 1996). In this way, member participation in the discussion forum is a critical ingredient in weaving the fabric of the virtual community.

 Suggested Implication- Student-to-Student Interactions:  

  • Create Clubs and classroom forum for the interactions among the students
  • Create Google online classroom forums and engage learners
  • Google classroom discussion boards -Discussion across multiple classes for same Question
  • Create Students’ teaching forums
  • Usage of web chatrooms -effective engaging way to encourage collaboration and social interaction among students.

Instructor-to-Student Interactions

 As the designer and manager of the virtual community, The instructor has two types of communication roles, those activities associated with mentoring, supporting, and motivating the community. Those associated with communications with individual students. Critics of cyber learning warn that this mode of communication may eliminate crucial personal interactions between instructors and students.

Suggested Implication- Instructor-to-Student Interactions:

  • Encourage online platform learning with providing guidelines for online courses
  • Individual level of student track record i.e. login, reviewing, answering, knowing by their name, keep track on all analytics
  • Incorporate instructor videos and videos based assignment for active engagement of the students and invite further Queries/views/opinions/remarks/suggestion to develop critical thinking.
  • Use Gamification- Promote online courses with badges and certificates
  • Course based e-portfolio need to be developed at student level for self assessment
  • Accessibility improvementof course materials is a good practice for educators to engage in on a frequent, periodic basis.
  • Social media as ways to spice up their courses and engage students in topical learning by hash tags, comments, Push post with course relevant content

Instructor Support and Mentoring

The importance of maintaining a strong virtual community, the instructor must get involved with motivating students to participate in interactive discussions with other students. (

Suggested Implication- Instructor Support and Mentoring:

  • Task-based mentoring
  • Experience-based mentoring
  • Just-in-time mentoring
  • One-to-one mentoring
  • Team mentoring
  • Formal mentoring
  • Short term collaborations through co-teaching or team teaching
  • Portfolio development based on personal and professional reflection


Course Content and Technology Based Learning


Extrapolating these arguments to an online educational community would suggest that course content could increase student participation in the community, spark the introduction of new ideas for further discussion, and strengthen community relationships

Suggested Implication- Course Content and Technology Based Learning

  • Problems based learning need to be created
  • Instructor role shifts from knowledge transmitter to knowledge facilitator
  • Application need to be shifted to knowledge transmitted
  • Interactive and Collaborative learning should be designed
  • Interactive mode of assignments based on Computer mediated communication should be designed


Web Based Course Structure

Suggested Implication- Web Based Course Structure

  • Professional Community based learning
  • Inquiry based learning
  • Integrating micro learning through presenting content
  • Electronic Performance Support Systems (EPSS) – offer a summary of steps or a checklist of how to complete a task.
  • One evaluation framework is ADDIE, which has five phases that are the basis of content design: analyze, design, develop, implement and evaluate need to be accommodated in evaluation process of students’ performance.


Overall Implications


  • The gains from the use of a virtual learning community are many for universities and students.
  • Students have the ability to exchange empirical knowledge while carrying out learning activities.
  • Tutors can increase the consultation time through forums, they share their knowledge and contribute to the guidance of members more easily.
  • When communities are in contact with companies, they receive information on new products the benefits from the use of communities are the main motive behind the participation.
  • The benefits for the educational institutes are mostly organizational and strategic.
  • They cooperate, expand their borders, advertise their programs easier and with minimum cost and increase their potential students.



The article proposed an integrated model that described the phenomenon of pedagogically driven online education. The key take away are as below:


  • In summary, each of the three dimensions discussed above was based on the interactive nature of the online learning experience.
  • Student-to-student interactions represented communications between students via the discussion forum, e-mail, and telephone; student-to-instructor interactions represented personalized and tailored communications; and instructor support and mentoring addresses interactions related to managing the virtual community.
  • In the next three sections, we explore online learning in terms of course content, structure of the virtual community, and information delivery technology.


Prepared By:

Dr.Bijal zaveri-Dean –Faculty of Management Studies-Parul University

M.No. 9898278991

Axita Thakkar- Assistant Professor

Research Scholar-Email:

Faculty of Management Studies

Parul University


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