Virtual Teaming in Online Education: Does It Work?

Virtual Teaming in Online Education: Does It Work?

Shirley Shmerling (University of Massachusetts, USA) and Linda M. L. Peters (University of Massachusetts, USA)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1933-3.ch001
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The global economy has given rise to the concept of virtual teaming in which team members work without the boundaries of space and time, both within and outside the confines of a single organization, in order to compete in an ever-changing business environment. This case raises questions as to the efficiency and effectiveness of virtual teaming by examining survey responses from 128 online MBA students who were required to work on virtual project teams as part of the class requirements. The vast majority of the students (84%) were in the 21-40 year old age range and tended to have a high comfort level (99%) with the Learning Management System (LMS) utilized by the academic institution. Using a survey method with both Likert-style options and open response items, the authors explore the major causes that may impact the success of working and learning on teams that cross time and distance barriers.
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Setting The Stage

This study focuses on the online MBA program because of its access to students who are actively involved in the business world, many at the middle manager to executive manager levels. Insights from individuals with both the ‘real world’ business experience is valuable and perhaps even essential when applying the lessons learned in academia to other organizations. The students enrolled in the online MBA program, the majority of whom are U.S. citizens, are diverse geographically (from the fifty U.S. states and more than 25 countries) and functionally (expand business, engineering, and medical specialties).

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