Communication in virtual teams : ten years of experience in education

A.F. Rutkowski, D.R. Vogel, M.J.I.M. Genuchten, van, C. Saunders

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)
322 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Engineering teams are often globally distributed and comprise participants from multiple disciplines and cultures who rely on professional communication support. Companies, organizations, and institutions increasingly embrace these virtual teams and use a variety of information and communication technologies to support synchronous and asynchronous team interaction (e.g., chat, videoconferencing, email, group support systems, instant messaging, and forums). More and more, communication takes place without being face-to-face. Students should be prepared for such a workplace. However, it is difficult to emulate the specifics of real-world projects in a 100-hour university course. One way to bring the real world into the classroom is by combining the efforts of 100 students into a 10,000-hour project. This paper describes the Hong Kong-Netherlands project (HKNet) as an example of an integrated learning activity among multiple international institutions that brings the reality of engineering management with professional communication into educational contexts. Virtual teams comprising students from different parts of the world build websites on specific software topics that are then integrated into a single product. HKNet has entered its tenth year, and over 1000 students have participated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)302-312
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Professional Communication
Volume51
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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