How to Collaborate Virtually

Collaborating in a digital age

F2F vs Online Collaboration on December 6, 2016 at 2:12 pm

Face-to-Face Collaboration versus Online Collaboration

Image result for virtual teams photosImage result for face to face

While both face-to-face collaboration and online collaboration can have successful outcomes, there are inherent difficulties with online collaboration projects, many of which center around communication. Unless a team is using video-conferencing tools, visual cues are greatly diminished in online teams, leaving students to assume meanings, which oftentimes lead to misconceptions (Tutty & Klein, 2008, Gera, 2013).

Increasing the complexity of online collaboration is a lack of trust between team-members, invisibility and restricted communication. Online teams also suffer from slow feedback, a lack of cohesion, and an increase in conflict, which hinders motivation and group satisfaction (Gera, 2013).

Working in an online collaborative team requires cooperation. Cooperation, rather than competitiveness, has a “more powerful influence on trust and collaborative behaviors” (Gera, 2013). Additionally, using richer media in comparison to less rich media, trust and cohesion can be developed between team-members. The use of teleconferencing tools and audio communications (over text chat or e-mail) will help diminish many challenges faced by online collaborative teams.

One major pitfall of online teams is their style of conflict resolution. Many teams are more prone to avoidance or aggressive styles rather than cooperative and collaborative approaches, (read more on conflict resolution here) which lead to inferior decisions (Gera, 2013).