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Online collaboration: Collaborative behavior patterns and factors affecting globally distributed team performance

2011-01-01
Serce, Fatma Cemile
Swigger, Kathleen
Alpaslan, Ferda Nur
Brazile, Robert
Dafoulas, George
Lopez, Victor
Studying the collaborative behavior of online learning teams and how this behavior is related to communication mode and task type is a complex process. Research about small group learning suggests that a higher percentage of social interactions occur in synchronous rather than asynchronous mode, and that students spend more time in task-oriented interaction in asynchronous discussions than in synchronous mode. This study analyzed the collaborative interaction patterns of global software development learning teams composed of students from Turkey, US, and Panama. Data collected from students' chat histories and forum discussions from three global software development projects were collected and compared. Both qualitative and quantitative analysis methods were used to determine the differences between a group's communication patterns in asynchronous versus synchronous communication mode. K-means clustering with the Ward method was used to investigate the patterns of behaviors in distributed teams. The results show that communication patterns are related to communication mode, the nature of the task, and the experience level of the leader. The paper also includes recommendations for building effective online collaborative teams and describes future research possibilities.