Certain about Uncertainty: Strategies and Practices for Virtual Teamwork in Online Classrooms

Certain about Uncertainty: Strategies and Practices for Virtual Teamwork in Online Classrooms

Stella F. Shields (Indiana University, USA), Gisela Gil-Egui (Temple University, USA) and Concetta M. Stewart (Temple University, USA)
Copyright: © 2004 |Pages: 26
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-120-9.ch005
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Abstract

Many students face the prospect of working in teams with apprehension. This feeling is further magnified when most or all of the sensory cues are removed in the virtual environment. We argue that by adopting specific structural and situational strategies, instructors can substantially reduce the levels of uncertainty that usually surround the idea of virtual teamwork in students’ minds. Such strategies are drawn from an exploration of the notion of trust as a key element for the successful performance of teams, as well as on a discussion of the concepts of swift trust, community of practice, and control as guiding principles for the establishment of practices that help build mutual reliance among virtual team members in an online classroom. We conclude with some suggestions that can be implemented at the micro level of the course and the macro level of the institution hosting distance and online learning experiences.

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