The essential way to empower students as lifelong learners is to set up the framework for students to become active learners in a community of active learners. In Marketing Management, MGT641, the framework is a series of four virtual team projects that requires students to learn in a community of teammates by doing rather than reading, writing, listening, and studying in solitude.
The solitude of the online classroom presents enormous challenges for teaching marketing online. Marketing, as practiced by contemporary corporations, relies on cross-functional teams to develop the initiatives that result in marketplace success. To give students an appreciation of marketing, the instructor cannot rely on the monologue of podcast lectures or students responding to case studies as individuals. Students can only learn marketing by doing marketing projects in the company of teams of classmates. Marketing, after all, is performed by teams lead by project leaders. With virtual teams, students are directly engaged in marketing and their classmates. With team projects, marketing is no longer an abstraction. In the course of these projects, students wrestle with the problems faced by all marketers: Understanding the consumer, the effect of political, economic, social, and technological forces, predicting the behavior of competitors and collaborators, and the self-reflection needed to understand their company’s strengths and weaknesses. Once the consumer, competitor, collaborator, company, and political, economic, social, and technological contexts are understood, student teams develop product, pricing, distribution, and marketing communication strategies. With virtual teams students learn by doing. Such experiential learning is not easily forgotten once the semester is over.
Student survey responses indicate that they are generally very satisfied with the use of virtual team projects in Marketing Management, MGT641. Many students report that these projects help them cope with the rigors of projects in their careers.
There is no incremental cost associated with using virtual teams as Stevens Institute of Technology has already made the investment in all necessary web-based infrastructures.
“Building Better Teams,” by Edward Volchok, PhD. eLearn Magazine, 7/18/06. http://www.elearnmag.org/subpage.cfm?section=case_studies&article=37-1