enlightened and collaborative future world. Yet, attempts to promote the use of such forums run into deep and complex barriers. Instructors and learners must deal with new forms of community, adopt innovative learning styles, master new literacies, and handle unforeseen technical difficulties. These, and other factors, can lead to reduced levels of online interaction and lost learning ... [Show full abstract] opportunities. What strategies can we develop to sustain interaction in online discussion forums and virtual communities? What are the cognitive, social, and technical issues surrounding participation in these communities? This session brings together a wide range of organizations and participants who are actively investigating: (a) the social issues of participation and community membership, (b) the cognitive issues of understanding discussion topics, and (c) the design issues involved in supporting participants with different levels of technical proficiency. The underlying assumption of the projects in this session is that understanding cooperative knowledge building processes can contribute to the design and improvement of the next generation of innovative learning technologies. There are important technical issues to be addressed here. However, other issues, such as the perception of shared ownership, identity, and community affiliation, contribute to the levels and forms of participation which influence the life-cycle of online discussions. How can teachers and educators benefit from understanding these different factors? And can integrating these perspectives lead to more productive and self-sustaining discussions? In this structured poster session, we will begin with a discussion of the challenges faced by designers of online communities as well as the issues faced by teachers trying to use these systems effectively. This introduction will outline the range of social, cognitive, and technical issues identified by the different groups. This overview, provided by the organizers, will be followed by a brief introduction to each of the projects. The audience will then have about 45 minutes to tour the posters. The poster participants will include research findings, descriptions, and examples of the various environments. Following this, the discussant, Tim Koschmann, will present his perspective on the strategies for sustaining interaction in online communities.