Virtual Volunteering and Community Webs

Dr. Philip Marriott
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Virtual Volunteering and Community Webs

Philip Marriott
University of South Australia

Rod Dolling
Office for Volunteers - Government of South Australia

Virtual Volunteering can be defined as “volunteer tasks completed, in whole or in part, via the Internet and a home or work computer. It’s also known as online volunteering, cyber service, telementoring, teletutoring…” (Ellis & Cravens, 2000:1). Virtual volunteers perform a wide range of online tasks including online research, file format conversions, writing articles, proofreading, spreadsheeting, translation of online resources into another language, time management and calendar services.

This paper reports on a number of Virtual Volunteering projects underway at present. For example: The United Nations has an Online Volunteering (OV) service (Volunteers, 2004) which has operated since February 2000; and VolunteerMatch has operated since 1998 (VolunteerMatch, 2004), while the Virtual Volunteering Project at the University of Texas at Austin has been a pioneer since 1996 (Ellis & Cravens, 2000).

Based on the ideas of Virtual Volunteering and our experiences with our own Communitywebs project, where students build websites for community groups; we have setup a Virtual Volunteering trial where students act as Virtual Mentors to Community Groups.

This paper will report on the extent to which Community groups have
• Increased IT skills
• Better communication, organisation, and research ability
• Awareness of potential of IT to improve group functions
• Ability to develop IT skills independently

as a result of participating in the trial.


Ellis, S. J., & Cravens, J. (2000). The Virtual Volunteering Guidebook: How to Apply the Principles of Real-World Volunteer Management to Online Service: ImpactOnline Inc.

VolunteerMatch. (2004). VolunteerMatch. Retrieved 21/3/04, 2004, from

Volunteers, U. (2004). Online Volunteering Service. Retrieved 21/3/04, 2004, from

Keywords: Virtual Volunteering, Community Engagement
Stream: Technology in Community
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Dr. Philip Marriott

Lecturer, School of Communication, Information, and New Media, University of South Australia

Philip Marriott has qualifications in education and computer science and has 17 years experience teaching at University level. He actively researches in the area of Internet based learning technologies and has published papers on a range of topics including Multimedia, Asynchronous Voice, Information Literacy, Virtual Reality, Electronic Publishing, Evaluation, and the Linux/FreeBSD operating systems.

Philip has wide ranging skills and is able to teach programming, system administration, network security, and multimedia desktop applications. He is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE) and the Asia-Pacific Society for Computers in Education (APSCE).

Ref: T06P0062