vicos: The Virtual Community of Students.
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Since its inception, the internet has served as a virtual meeting place for people sharing common interests. These interest groups are nowadays called Virtual Communities. In this paper we elaborate the concept of a Virtual Community of Students (vicos) who consist of different interest groups in and around Swiss Universities of Applied Sciences (UAS). Vicos is a hybrid form of a community: it combines aspects of a Learning Community as well as of a Business Community. We describe the findings of a comprehensive empirical study which addressed the main target group (the students) and which resulted into the basic concept of vicos. The key contribution of this paper is the linkage between the conceptual community design of vicos and the business model which is needed to successfully operate vicos as a sustainable internet platform.