In this paper we discuss the background to this study in the development of the international MSc e-Learning Multimedia and Consultancy. The aims of the study focus on the conditions for achieving communication, interaction and collaboration in open and flexible e-learning environments. We present our theoretical framework that has informed the design of programme as a whole which is based on a socio-constructivist perspective on learning. Our research is placed within an action research framework and we outline our position within the critical or emancipatory tradition and also our standpoint on the use of ICT in education. We discuss the design of the programme and also our pedagogical approach and describe in detail the particular context for this study. We report on the student experience of being learners on this module, their perceptions of what they have gained most from learning from and with each other and their responses to the various ways in which 'scaffolding' has been designed and implemented by the tutors. Finally we offer some reflections on the conditions for achieving well-orchestrated interdependence in open and flexible e-learning environments.