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Managing Virtual Teams In Senior Industrial Projects

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

ET Design Projects

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.834.1 - 8.834.11



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Paper Authors

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Wagdy Mahmoud

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Tom Timmermann

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Bonita Barger

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Ahmed Elsawy

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1931

Managing Virtual Teams in Senior Industrial Projects

Ahmed ElSawy*, Bonita Barger**, Tom Timmerman**, and Wagdy Mahmoud* *College of Engineering/**College of Business Administration Tennessee Technological University, Cookeville, TN 38505-0001


The Industrial Projects course at Tennessee Technological University represents the practical execution of the technological skills and knowledge the students gained from all sources throughout their college career, work experience, and life. This course is the capstone experience that requires both teamwork and individual skills in solving an industrial problem.

Since the students will be working in an industrial setting, wouldn’t it be better for them to learn in an industrial setting? Wit h cooperative education agreements, and some industry/education partnerships, this can become more of a reality. The students enrolled in the class are divided to groups of 2-3 students. They are required to solve an industrial project either in a nearby industry or in a special project while they are on co-op. Since the class is not meeting in a regular classroom setting, the class is taught as distance learning class using WebCT®. The students enrolled in the class have access to the course materials at any remote location.

Several research questions have surfaced from this experience: How do you manage the virtual team? Which communication media are students using (i.e., online or face-to-face) when completing group projects? Which media are most likely to be associated with team member satisfaction? Which methods are more likely to be associated with positive group performance? This paper will present our experiences and findings to these questions.


Technology and pedagogy are converging in the 21st Century to create a dynamic learning environment replete with opportunities and obstacles. This convergence, known as distance learning, has gained rapid momentum for both the Academy and the Corporation1. Distance learning is viewed by both as a means of gaining competitive advantage in the global marketplace but raises many questions about satisfaction and profitability2-3. In addition, course delivery either entirely at a distance or hybrid (online and on ground), has advantages and liabilities as far as student access, cost savings, and teamwork4.

While university administrators, faculty, and students have shown interest in distance learning, there appears to be increased emphasis in Engineering and Business Colleges to “be on-line” (e.g., Auburn, Colorado State, Tennessee Technological University). Engineering and Business faculty are encouraged to teach on-line, offer e-commerce courses, and use enhanced technology in the classroom that simulates global work environments.

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition Copyright@2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Mahmoud, W., & Timmermann, T., & Barger, B., & Elsawy, A. (2003, June), Managing Virtual Teams In Senior Industrial Projects Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--11917

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