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The paper presents our experience in designing, implementing and maintaining the “Online Communities” project. Since 1999, a Learning Management System was used by teachers and students of the Faculty of Economics of the University of Trento, based on a blended approach. In late 2004, this system has been replaced by a new one based on a different approach, specifi cally a Virtual Community System (VCS) called “Online Communities”. The new concepts implemented into the system help a traditional Academic institution to change the interaction paradigm with its users, from an approach based on physical relationships to one based on virtualization - as far as possible - of these relationships. This virtualization has been created through the mediation of Information & Communication Technologies, and in particular with the help of a virtual community system oriented not only to the typical e-learning aspects, but extended to all possible communication forms among the different actors that play a role in the academic community.

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Colazzo, L., & Molinari, A. (2009). Shifting from traditional LMSs to Virtual Community Systems. Journal of E-Learning and Knowledge Society, 3(2).

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