Preparing students to collaborate in the virtual work world

Lori K. Long (Baldwin‐Wallace College, Berea, Ohio, USA)
Patricia A. Meglich (College of Business Administration, University of Nebraska at Omaha, Omaha, Nebraska, USA)

Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning

ISSN: 2042-3896

Publication date: 15 February 2013

Abstract

Purpose

The proliferation of inexpensive and accessible internet communication tools coupled with an increasingly geographically dispersed workforce has increased the use of virtual collaboration in the workplace. To prepare students for a virtual work environment, educators must provide classroom‐related opportunities to build students’ virtual collaboration skills. The purpose of this paper is to examine the use of virtual collaboration in the workplace, the implications for today's college graduates, and the need to provide students with experience in virtual collaboration. Finally, the paper provides a case study example of a course assignment to build virtual collaboration skills.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper explores preparing students to collaborate virtually through a literature review that builds an understanding of the challenges of virtual collaboration in today's workplace and the skills students must develop in order to effectively collaborate virtually. The paper then provides a case study example of a course assignment to help students build these skills.

Findings

This paper finds that virtual collaboration skills are needed for today's college graduates. Further the case study presented provides evidence that authentic course‐based assignments can help build those skills.

Originality/value

While research has started to explore the effective use of virtual collaboration in the workplace, the current literature lacks direction for educators to help build the skills of future workers to prepare them for virtual collaboration.

Keywords

Citation

Long, L. and Meglich, P. (2013), "Preparing students to collaborate in the virtual work world", Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning, Vol. 3 No. 1, pp. 6-16. https://doi.org/10.1108/20423891311294948

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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