Columbus , Ohio
June 28, 2017
June 28, 2017
June 28, 2017
Main Forum (Podium Presentation)
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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