This paper discusses the initial use of interactive computer-mediated communication (CMC) (asynchronous and synchronous) to help create an environment of peer-supported self-learning and community within a highly populated and geographically dispersed first year university student cohort. Learning needs and student study skills were addressed through the use of interwoven CMC tools, with particular emphasis on chat rooms and discussion forums. Significant changes were shown in student attitudes, study skills and acceptance of personal responsibility in academic undertakings.