MELBOURNE, FLA.—Florida Institute of Technology students in Tim Muth’s international business class are using 21st Century tools to gain international experience for their class project.
Each of his 26 students joins, through the World Wide Web, five other students from different universities around the world in a team business project. As they work on their project over four or five different time zones, they are exposed to the cross-cultural challenges in an international business situation. During the six-week project, the students blog about their progress and collaboration experiences.
Called the X-Culture Project, the students use their international business knowledge to develop an extensive business proposal for a large, industry-leading multinational company. Each team represents a consulting company that specializes in finding business opportunities and developing initial business plans for prospective ventures. The students select their company from a list of 10 real international companies. Each team will develop a business plan to support a new product or service for their selected company.
“The students can choose any product or service to promote. They communicate over the Internet; they use Skype, Google Translate, Facebook Video Chat, Doodle, Dropbox and many other online tools to develop a comprehensive business plan which counts for the final grade,” said Muth.
On one team, for example, is his student Bill Watkins, a veteran who works at Patrick Air Force Base. He is on a team with others from India, Slovakia, Singapore, Turkey and New Jersey.
Watkins blogs: “I don’t foresee any problems with the group or the project. Everyone is working and communicating with one another. . . I couldn’t have picked a better group to be assigned to and so far, I am enjoying the experience.”
This semester nearly 1,500 students from 40 universities on 225 teams are participating in the X-Culture project.
A business professor at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, started the X-Culture Project in 2010.
Muth’s students will make their final presentations at the end of the semester. Though no awards will be given, Muth said, “Everyone will gain a meaningful experience if they learn more about working on virtual, international teams.”
X-Culture blog at Florida Tech: