Challenges of Managing Virtual Teams Addressed

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Hoboken, N.J.
Now that global industry generates products in every corner of the world, employees must be skilled, not only interacting with co-workers in an office down the hall or at a neighboring facility, but often they must collaborate with team members in other states, other countries and in ever more distant times zones.

Virtual Teams, to be published next year, shows how faculty in universities and leaders in industry can effectively exploit the fast-growing adoption of virtual teaming in online classrooms, in R&D labs and on the factory floor. It is edited by the leading international online learning expert, Robert Ubell at Stevens Institute of Technology.

Just as the Internet gives millions of workers incredible ease in collaborating around the globe, online learning opens education to millions who might not be able to attend class because of demands at home or at work or because they are too far from campus. More than 3.5 million now take courses online, translating to nearly one in five of all university students and growing at a rapid rate.

Contributors to Virtual Teams are drawn from faculty who teach online at Stevens’ award-winning WebCampus and by scholars at other schools and companies. Based on best practices generated over the last decade, Virtual Teams reveals how to manage teams successfully, with chapters on how to build intimate virtual relationships and how to communicate creatively online. Other chapters cover international virtual teams, competition, mentoring, psychology and how to handle conflict.

Robert Ubell, executive director of the Stevens Institute for the Advancement of Online Learning and Professional Education, founded WebCampus in 2000. Earlier, he was editor of The Sciences and American publisher of the premier British science weekly, Nature.

Since it was launched almost a decade ago, WebCampus has enrolled nearly 20,000 students. It offers more than 160 courses, with 17 online master’s degrees and an MBA, as well as 37 graduate certificates in science, technology and management. Students from 47 states and 44 countries have taken WebCampus courses. In 2003, the Sloan Foundation named WebCampus the “Best Online University” in the nation.

Last year, the school’s blended learning China program received Sloan’s award as best teaching and learning program internationally. In 2005 and again this year, the U.S. Distance Learning Association (USDLA) presented WebCampus with its “21st Century Best Practices Award.”

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