Developing third places to foster sense of community in online instruction


Using principles of Oldenburg's concept of third place to characterize sense of community, this paper establishes a framework for the creation of sustainable, informal learning communities that promote dialogue and interpersonal relationships. This paper discusses Oldenburg's theory of third place, presents a framework to implement online third place communities in educational settings, and offers examples, recommendations and implications for future research. This paper provides a framework for third place development in online learning environments. We propose that virtual third places can meet all criteria established by Oldenburg. The development of virtual third places only occurs over time and violations of third place characteristics are part of the development process. However, these violations should be eliminated over time through continuous evaluation, modification, and implementation of the space, users, activities and organizational needs, goals and resources.

Publication Title

British Journal of Educational Technology