Virtual Student Club Start Up: Learning Together in Virtual Learning Community


  • Lora Reed Ashford University
  • Marvee Marr Ashford University
  • Alan Swank Ashford University


The authors of this paper explore the evolution of a virtual student club from an online university into a virtual learning community and as an innovation relevant to the future of higher education. The student club is considered as a means for development and sustainability of academic organizational culture wherein learning, multi-directional mentoring, and ongoing social network development provide a foundation for contributing to student success and alumni engagement The challenges of creating such a club in a virtual environment are examined from faculty, student, and alumni perspectives. Various aspects of learning in a virtual community including, but not limited to whole person learning (Palmer, 1976; Hoover, et al, 2010, 2013), deep smarts (Leonard & Swap, 2004), grit (Pappano, 2013; Kundu, 2014; Kelly, et al, 2014), and knowledge sharing (Allen, et al, 2006; Gibson, 2011; Senge, 2007) are delineated as pertinent to club sustainability Multi-directional mentoring and the development of sustainable social networks are considered as relevant to student success (Kram, 2014). Community development is investigated as an end unto itself using Peck’s (1989) community building model. These community building models are inspected for their relevance to the club as it is and in future developmental stages, as well as related to successful student career development and alumni engagement.