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Virtual Teams in Engineering – Global Practices

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Conference

2017 ASEE International Forum

Location

Columbus , Ohio

Publication Date

June 28, 2017

Start Date

June 28, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Concurrent Paper Tracks Session I - Courses I

Tagged Topic

Main Forum (Podium Presentation)

Page Count

9

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/29310

Download Count

48

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Paper Authors

biography

Ana Marcela Hernández de Menéndez Tecnológico de Monterrey

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Marcela Hernández de Menéndez received a B.Sc. in food engineering from Universidad Dr. José Matías Delgado, El Salvador, in 2004. She also got a M.Sc. in Marketing and a M.Sc. in Business Innovation and Technology, both from Tecnológico de Monterrey, México, in 2009 and 2011 respectively. Currently, she is Research Assistant at the Directorate of Research and Graduate Program of the School of Engineering and Sciences at Tecnológico de Monterrey. Her research interests includes: competitive intelligence in technology and international and emerging markets.

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biography

Ruben Morales-Menendez Tecnologico de Monterrey (ITESM)

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Ruben Morales-Menendez received the B.Sc. degree in chemical engineering and systems, the M.Sc. degrees in process systems and automation, and the Ph.D. degree in artificial intelligence from the Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico, in 1984, 1986, 1992, and 2003, respectively. He was a Visiting Scholar with the Laboratory of Computational Intelligence, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada, from 2000 to 2003. He is currently a Consultant specializing in the analysis and design of automatic control systems for continuous processes for more than 29 years. He is the Dean of Research and Graduate Program with the School of Engineering and Sciences at Tecnológico de Monterrey. His research areas are: fault diagnosis, monitoring systems, automotive control system and educational systems in engineering. Dr. Morales-Menendez is a member of the National Researchers System of Mexico Level II, the Mexican Academic of Sciences and the Engineering Academic of México.

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Pedro Orta Tecnologico de Monterrey (ITESM)

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Professor at Mechanical Engineeering Deparment at ITESM Campus Monterrey

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Abstract

Competency Based Education (CBE), which focus on flexibility, mastery of abilities and the role of the professor as a coach, is expanding fast worldwide. This is the result of an approach that responds to current global needs. In this context, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) students need to develop specific competencies. One of the abilities they must possess, due to the characteristics of the projects they perform, is collaborate with persons located in different geographical places, which is one of the main characteristics of working in Virtual Teams.

This paper explores Virtual Teams in the engineering field. A literature review was performed with the aim of present an overview on the topic, as well as a state of the art regarding collaboration tools and the Virtual Teams general practices of organizations promoting the development of related competencies. This research is a source of valuable knowledge and bibliographical references regarding an issue of international interest, which is working in a more sustainable and innovative way.

In this research, main characteristics of traditional and Virtual Teams were identified and compared. Also, collaboration tools to assist Virtual Teams working mechanisms were examined based on experiences. It was found that Facebook can be used to make project discussions, facilitating the creation of trust among participants, an important aspect for Virtual Teams success. Open Wonderland is a 3D virtual world software that can be used to work and communicate. A study of an introductory class determined that virtual open spaces increased team creativity. Additionally, partnerships between organizations devoting efforts in promoting the development of Virtual Team competencies were analyzed to determine global practices. It was found that Virtual Teams were integrated of a maximum of 12 members and that the combination of cultures and backgrounds foster disruptive innovations. The use of a mix of collaboration tools was necessary to communicate and work effectively. Among the most utilized were: email, Skype and Google Drive/Docs. Some of the competencies developed by participants included: communication, networking and digital competency. Communication difficulties due to cultural and language differences were identified during the execution of some initiatives researched. An effective Virtual Team is built gradually; time is needed to determine what works best. Regular face-to-face interactions are required to develop trust among team members. Finally, in the automotive sector, the use of Virtual Teams with efficient communication tools can offer time savings from 10% to 50%.

Hernández de Menéndez, A. M., & Morales-Menendez, R., & Orta, P. (2017, June), Virtual Teams in Engineering – Global Practices Paper presented at 2017 ASEE International Forum, Columbus , Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/29310

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