Auckland University of Technology (NEW ZEALAND)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN20 Proceedings
Publication year: 2020
Pages: 2906-2913
ISBN: 978-84-09-17979-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2020.0871
Conference name: 12th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-7 July, 2020
Location: Online Conference
The Covid19 pandemic has led to universities delivering online courses and creating more university collaborations; but these can suffer from the pressures of rapid development. The examples of ongoing online collaborations using virtual teams among universities in order to prepare students for virtual environments are rare but still exist.
Virtual teams are notorious for failing and have poor participation rates. Leadership is recognised as being different from face-to-face teams and current research is uncertain on how virtual team leadership can achieve team cohesion, address individual team members’ needs and ensure the task goals are reached.
This action research introduces a distinctive and unique global project that focuses on the educational challenges and benefits to students and lecturers collaborating in these virtual teams as well as how to build and sustain a virtual project.
This ongoing project, GlobCom, delivers international PR programmes each year for a multinational client through student global virtual teams within a global learning network. This annual venture started 20 years ago and now includes 15 universities across five continents and runs over a three-month-long semester. GlobCom is a problem-based learning project [1], an example of situated learning [2] and experiential learning where experience is transformed into knowledge [3,4].
Each year around 300 students collaborate in ten multinational virtual teams working as competitive international public relations companies. All the teams take a live industry brief from an international client and create a competitive communications proposal that can be applied to the current world market, developed under real-time challenges. The lecturers collaborate with each other virtually and guide their students. The communication proposal from each student virtual team is submitted online and judged by the supervisory team, according to specific criteria. The projects are complex as they involve ambiguous requirements that need to be clarified through research and client interaction. At the end of each semester students and lecturers attend a bespoke conference hosted by one of the participating universities.
As a result, the project now offers a solid framework for student online collaboration that enrols new students each year in a dynamic pedagogical project that resembles a real-life situation. The teaching of international PR has progressed through this interactive global virtual team network [5,6,7,8]. It is hoped this research will be useful in developing other similar online collaborative university projects and build the associated theoretical body of knowledge.
global university collaboration, authentic learning, virtual teams, multinational learning, public relations, experiential learning.