Virtual Teaming: Faculty Collaboration in Online Spaces
More than a decade ago, Jessica Lipnack and Jeffrey Stamps’s (2000) book Virtual Teaming: People Working Across Boundaries with Technology prophesied a shift in communication and in the way businesses and organizations would get things done. “In time,” they wrote, “virtual teams will become the natural way to work, nothing special” (p. xxiv). The time for virtual teams has come for many industries, agencies, and organizations, with everyone from fire departments and museums to giant conglomerates like Shell and Pfizer (profiled by Lipnack and Stamps). More than a decade later, online and geographically dispersed collaboration seems commonplace.
This approach has not, however, become commonplace for academia despite that collaboration is nothing new in classrooms and technologies encouraging multimodal communication continue to fill smart classrooms and campus computer labs. But much of this collaboration, whether taken up by students working on assignments or by faculty working together for scholarly or administrative purposes, is local. We team with those in our buildings and on our campuses, but it is less common to work virtually with those separated by regional and institutional borders and is a practice usually reserved for faculty research projects rather than the daily work of our classrooms. This article chronicles the experiences of one academic virtual team made up of three faculty members engaged in a project positioned at the intersections between collaboration, workplace writing, pedagogy, and dispersed technologically facilitated teaming and learning.