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Teaching Students How to Effectively Work in Virtual Teams

Author

Listed:
  • Sadan Kulturel-Konak

    (Pennsylvania State University-Berks Campus, USA)

  • Clifford R. Maurer

    (Pennsylvania State University-Berks Campus, USA)

  • Daniel L. Lohin

    (Lockheed Martin Corporation, USA)

Abstract

This paper, through the voices of two professors and a student, describes an educational experience that exposed students to virtual teams constructed between Information Technology Project Management classes of two branch campuses of the Pennsylvania State University. This experience focused on overcoming the communication problems of virtual teams in order to strengthen team building dynamics. Since working on virtual teams was the first experience for the students, attempts were made to control some aspects of the virtual team environment by eliminating cultural and time differences. The variable to be in focus was the building of trust in a virtual environment. By eliminating all other variables such as time zones, cultural and disciplinary backgrounds, etc., students could experience the efforts required to build trust in a virtual environment. Students were given pre and post experience surveys. The results indicate that initially many students were very apprehensive about virtual teams; however, after completing the course, most students expressed positive attitudes and a general understanding of techniques to work effectively in virtual teams. In addition, almost all teams commented on how important they felt virtual teams would become in the future as digital technology continues to improve.

Suggested Citation

  • Sadan Kulturel-Konak & Clifford R. Maurer & Daniel L. Lohin, 2010. "Teaching Students How to Effectively Work in Virtual Teams," International Journal of Information Technology Project Management (IJITPM), IGI Global, vol. 1(2), pages 61-78, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:igg:jitpm0:v:1:y:2010:i:2:p:61-78
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