Exploring Online Communities First language, then print, and now telecommunications allow us to link thoughts and form communities, or groups based on common interests or common localities. However, in the not so distant past of the pre-virtual reality and pre-telecommunications age, community was the place where people lived, worked or played. For most of human recorded history, community was close to home and place dependent. Nowadays, cyberspace exists and permeates the 'real' world in which we live. Increasingly more humans belong to multiple communities, some of them transcending the limitations of location, time and space. As a result, new kinds of communities have emerged. Cyber communities have expanded the parameters of what we call communities and that process demands a new look, or a definition of electronic communities, most particularly educational cyber communities. Mercer (2000) gives all communities, virtual or face to face (F2F), the following attributes: 1) they share a body of experience or a common history; 2) they are united by common purposes and joint activities to develop a community of practice; 3) they form a collective identity such as students in a class, members of a church, etc.; 4) they give members reciprocal obligations or responsibilities towards each other and define roles for appropriate behaviors; in addition, they have rules and norms affording membership to the group and stability of the community; 5) they build a discourse community employing a specialized language and genre and not using the “proper” format may exclude members; thus newcomers may need to be ‘apprenticed’ to experienced ‘experts’ to learn the discourse. Therefore, electronic communities like F2F communities... ... middle of paper ... ...dy image. Computers and Composition, 14 (2), Freire, P. (1993). Pedagogy of the oppressed: New, revised 20th –anniversary edition. New York: Continuum. Grubb, A. (1999). Building cyber-learning communities in WebCT. Retrieved October 10, 2002, from Georgia State University Web site: http://education.gsu.edu/CTL/powerpoint/brownbag/cybercommunity/sld001.htm Mercer, N. (2000). Words and minds: How we use language to think together. London: Routledge. Palloff, R. M., & Pratt, K. (1999). Building learning communities in cyberspace: Effective strategies for the online classroom. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers. Savenye, W. C., Olima, Z., & Niemczyk, M. (2001). So you are going to be an online writing instructor: Issues in design, developing and delivering an online course. Computers and Composition, 18,(4), 371-385.