Virtual Teams in Higher Education

A Handbook for Students and Teachers

Madelyn Flammia, University of Central Florida
Yvonne Cleary, University of Limerick
Darina M. Slattery, University of Limerick

Published 2016

In recent years, virtual teams have become a feature of most corporate workplaces, yet few academic programs prepare students to work in virtual teams, and few textbooks support the development of key skills for virtual teamwork. The primary purpose of this book is to enable higher education students to participate in virtual teams with students from other institutions, who potentially operate in different countries, time zones, and/or cultures. The book guides students through the process of working in virtual team projects for their classes, and helps them to engage with the learning experiences, and to respond to potential challenges.

The book is directed towards students within any of the following disciplines: Business; Information Technology; Communication Studies; and Engineering. One section of the book also guides teachers through the process of organizing virtual team projects, and explores the teacher/teacher collaboration that is an inevitable consequence of organizing inter-institutional student virtual team projects. It provides advice for teachers on how to manage administrative challenges such as conflicting institutional schedules and grading mechanisms. In addition, it discusses research themes and data gathering and analysis techniques for teachers who wish to publish findings about the virtual team process and outcomes.

As well as students and teachers, the book is also useful for researchers exploring any of the following themes: Technology use in virtual teams; Communication strategies and international communication in virtual teams; Communities of learning, e-learning, and virtual teams; Challenges of virtual teamwork; Planning a virtual team collaboration project; and Gathering and analyzing data about virtual collaboration.

Preface. PART I: INTRODUCTION TO VIRTUAL TEAMWORK. Introduction. Developing the Skills Needed to Succeed in Virtual Teams. PART II: ADDRESSING THE CHALLENGES OF VIRTUAL TEAMWORK. Addressing Communication Challenges. Addressing Technology Challenges. Addressing Management Challenges. Addressing Cultural Challenges. PART III: GUIDELINES FOR STRUCTURING SUCCESSFUL VIRTUAL TEAM PROJECTS. Best Practices for Participants in Virtual Teams. Best Practices for Faculty Conducting Virtual Team Projects. Understanding Virtual Teams as Communities of Practice. REFERENCES. APPENDICES: A Case Study of Virtual Team Collaboration. Resources.