While online communities of various nature proliferate in cyberspace, our understanding of the reasons underlying their success or failure is still at the initial stage. The present study contributes to this area through examining an abortive attempt to build an online learning community of part-time postgraduate students. The objective is to identify design considerations and strategies for extending an offline community to online. In this paper, we first elucidate the defining attributes of an online community and the key factors enabling an offline community to extend to online. On the basis of that, we explore the motivating and inhibiting factors for online participation, together with the challenges encountered by the externally initiated online community. Lastly, guidelines for developing online communities as extensions of physical ones are proposed. In particular, the interplay between designed and self-emergent aspects of community building are highlighted. The result of this study can provide guidelines for our future work and other similar community building endeavors
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