This paper focuses on research into the student experience as participants in the development of an international online community. The background context for this is an international master's programme and the specific context for the research is a module on Digital Media Applications (DMA), which are outlined. The programme design emphasises peer and formative assessment practices and the pedagogical approach aims to foster group collaboration in international teams. Following an overview of the research methods adopted, a number of emergent themes from the data analysis of student diaries are discussed, including issues of language, culture and identity. In conclusion, we offer some reflections on these issues and discuss the underpinning assumptions (in relation to assessment practices in particular) that have given direction to our subsequent ongoing research and development.