Making Virtual Teams Work: For F2f, Blended, and Fully Online Collaboration
Concurrent Session 6
Whether at a blended or fully online institution, teams need to work efficiently. With strategies, tools, and effective practices collaborative groups, committees, and units can move beyond the conference room and become engaged and productive teams.
Educational institutions and organizations are adding more elearning classes as part of course offerings. Face to face classes are being converted to blended or fully online to provide additional choices and access for students. Organizations are also increasing opportunities for professional learning, such as faculty training or staff development, through online mediums.
Teams that plan out strategy, create initiatives, and develop curriculum are finding they, too, are working more online. Much of the communication for these teams at traditional institutions has been in the form of email messaging. However, after participating in several email conversations where the long and now convoluted thread includes the final, final, final version of documents, it is easy for participants to become frustrated and/or lose motivation and momentum for the work.
Such frustration can also stem from not feeling connected to or engaged in the team itself. Connectedness to the individuals promotes deeper involvement in the work at hand and can increase commitment to fruition of the project or initiative. Community itself can be developed, even in formal situations, can be promoted through the online medium.
During the session, the presenters will open with a brief facilitated discussion with a statement of the problem and then discuss how by adopting specific strategies and tools, teams – whether at traditional brick and mortar institutions or part of more online organizations – can develop as a community and increase efficiency.
Participants will be asked to describe how they currently work on teams, face to face or online, state what technologies are used, and examine the strengths of the current functions and where there are gaps and/or frustrations in their work.
The presenters will then share research and applied effective practices with participants in two parts; 1) effective technology for team work; and 2) effective strategies to create, develop, and maintain virtual teams. Multiple examples of tools for various team scenarios will be shared. Strategies for robust and productive virtual teams will be shared and tied into the OLC Five Pillars of Quality Online Education. Additional theories and practices from the literature will be presented for further application.
As part of the interaction during the session, participants will analyze their current and potential team, pairing, or committee interactions at their institution or organization. Then participants will determine what strategies and tools can be used best to support their stakeholders in moving from face to face to virtual teams at their institution.
Participants may use a current example of a team or a future project with a team to create a strategy through analysis. Stakeholders will need to be identified as well as determination of ease for adoption of tools, if there will need to be synchronous and/or asynchronous interaction, if face to face attendance is required for any part of the team work, what initial medium(s) can be used for strategy and technology integration, and purpose of the intended team work.
Through use of the information provided in the session, participants can develop and take away a plan for the promotion and adoption of methods for effective team work through virtual tools and strategies with identification of support for the participant from their institution to apply such changes within their organization.