Format of Original
International Journal of Engineering Education
Global innovation requires collaboration between groups of people located in different parts of the world, and is a growing trend in industry. Virtual teams are often used to manage new product development projects. These teams are similar to traditional teams but are geographically separated and rely heavily on virtual methods of communication (email, Skype, teleconferencing, etc.) instead of regular face-to-face meetings. Experience working as a member of a virtual capstone design team can help prepare students for this growing trend. To begin preparing students for work on virtual teams in industry, we co-advised two virtual capstone design projects with students from Marquette University and Smith College. This paper describes our experience with managing two virtual capstone design project teams across institutions. Presented here are the challenges we encountered, the lessons we learned as a result of this experience, as well our recommendations for others who might want to include virtual project teams in their capstone design courses. We also include retrospective feedback from the students on these teams regarding their perceived value of their virtual team experience to their careers in engineering.