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Tort - 2021 Seed Grant - Global Learning at Home: Understanding Students’ Experiences in Global Virtual Team Projects

By Joseph M Tort1, Siddhant Sanjay Joshi1, Bruno Staszkiewicz Garcia1, Niall A. Peach1, Francisco J. Montalvo1, Kirsten Davis1

Purdue University

The purpose of this study was to gain a holistic perspective of students’ experiences in a global virtual team project to explore what and how they learned through the experience.

Listed in Publications

Version 1.0 - published on 03 Feb 2022

Licensed under CC0 - Creative Commons

Description

CONTEXT

As the engineering workforce becomes more globalized, engineering students must develop the skills needed to work on engineering projects across cultural boundaries. Global virtual team projects are one way to develop these skills without requiring students to travel abroad. This format has the potential to improve access to intercultural learning for engineering students who are not able to study abroad or participate in extracurricular activities. Prior research on global virtual team projects has focused on a limited set of learning outcomes, rather than understanding students’ experiences holistically, and has primarily used quantitative survey approaches (e.g., Zaugg et al., 2013).

PURPOSE

The purpose of this study was to gain a holistic perspective of students’ experiences in a global virtual team project to explore what and how they learned through the experience.

METHODS

We used a mixed-methods approach to collect data from 65 students participating in global virtual team projects. Students from the United States, Mexico, Ecuador, and Germany formed 7 project teams that worked together for one semester. We collected pre-and post-course individual student reflections describing their goals, challenges, and learning as part of the global virtual teams. We also collected pre/post assessments using the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) instrument. Our team iteratively coded the student reflections to identify themes emerging from the reflections. After initial coding, we re-coded each reflection using a holistic coding scheme based on the themes (Saldaña, 2013).

FINDINGS

We identified 7 themes in the students’ reflections and found that students shifted their focus from intercultural themes at the start of the semester to team dynamics, professional development, and technical topics by the end of the semester. The pre and post IDI results indicate that students who had received prior intercultural training demonstrated growth in their IDI scores whereas students who did not have prior training experienced a small decline. Further, the students who had received intercultural training were more likely to discuss intercultural knowledge in their reflections compared to the other students.

CONCLUSIONS

Our results suggest that although global virtual teams can provide opportunities for intercultural learning, such learning is more likely to occur when emphasized and supported through intercultural training. However, by taking a holistic view of learning, we highlight a range of other learning outcomes including teamwork and working in a virtual environment.

Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Tort, J. M., Joshi, S. S., Garcia, B. S., Peach, N. A., Montalvo, F. J., Davis, K. (2022). Tort - 2021 Seed Grant - Global Learning at Home: Understanding Students’ Experiences in Global Virtual Team Projects.

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Notes

Citation: Joshi, S. S., Barcia, B. S., Peach, N. A., Montalvo, F. J., & Davis, K. A. (2021, December 5-8). Global Learning at Home: Understanding Students’ Experiences in Global Virtual Team Projects. Research in Engineering Education Symposium & Australasian Association for Engineering Education Conference, Perth, WA. 

YouTube link of the video presentation: https://youtu.be/6BpRuS3D83s