This paper lays the conceptual foundation and research plan for a study of how the use of Webbased courseware tools influences community development in university classrooms. Based on previous research primarily in the applied psychology and computer-assisted instruction literature, this paper 1) defines the construct of online community and how it is related to learning; 2) suggests how communities can be identified and measured; and 3) outlines a two pronged esearch approach to understanding whether the use of online courseware tools is related to enhanced sense of community in face-to-face university courses.