Online teams have been a recent phenomena of the last decade. The concept of online teams has transcended boundaries, times zones, and is slowly becoming a viable alternative to traditional face-to-face meetings. In the educational arena, Sierra notes that "teams must demonstrate positive attitudes and behaviors to leverage diversity and to apply their different resources to learning tasks" (Glinow, 2004, p. 7). Research revealed that a crucial process challenging the team's success is effective team development. The team development, or process, consists of four parts: forming, storming, norming and performing. (Glinow, 2004, p. 277).
The forming stage begins as members learn about each other and define the roles and regulations that the team will use to perform tasks. The formation of Team A began with three students who chose to work together again after having been pleased with past team performance. Two additional members were added to the group and a new learning team charter was drafted. Due to time constraints, the storming phase overlapped the forming phase as team roles and performance standards were clearly defined in the learning charter. The next phase, norming, occurs when "the team develops its first real sense of cohesion as roles are established and a consensus forms around group objectives" (Glinow, 2004, p. 278). Attaining a consensus around group objectives has not been an issue, but the cohesion appears to have had some setbacks. The last stage is performing which involves task completion, which Team A has performed adequately and has been able to address minor communication issues in the interest of assignment completion.
In the short four weeks that the team has been working together, the norming and performing processes would be the places of interest for further development. A few members have settled into their roles more easily than others, likely because of prior team assignments. However, the norming and cohesion of the team as a whole still require some attention. Performing for the most part is on target, yet, the team still struggles for a balance between schoolwork and other responsibilities to improve the time requirements laid out in the team charter.
While technology has advanced virtual team collaboration, team leaders must be able to recognize and deploy effective strategies to manage virtual teams. In respect to Learning Team A's management strategies, the following methods are used to manage Learning Team A effectively and efficiently:
1. Newsgroups. The learning team newsgroup provides an excellent medium for announcements and...