Interactive video technology has become a widely used medium for education. A prominent implementation of this technology, interactive distance learning, involves groups of students at local and remote sites connected by audio and video teleconferencing. This approach has made the task of delivering vital undergraduate and graduate engineering courses to distributed audiences much easier. As this approach has permeated more curricula, distance education instructors have increasingly assigned projects that require distance learners to work together as an element of the final course grade. This trend presents an interesting opportunity for researchers to understand the nature of interactions among course participants involved in project teams. This paper presents the results of an investigation of project leadership behaviors in the distance learning environment. Surveys were administered via online protocol to fifty-three students, comprising nineteen project teams. Results indicate that those teams led by individuals who clarified roles and task requirements, and recognized the strengths and individual needs of teams members performed better on their assigned tasks. Implications for instructors utilizing project teams in distance education, as well as traditional teams where communication technology (e.g., email) is highly relied upon, are presented.

Meeting Name

ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition (2006: Jun. 18-21, Chicago, IL)


Engineering Management and Systems Engineering


Dassault Systemes
Lockheed Martin

Keywords and Phrases

Communication technology; Distance learning environment; Online protocols; Video technology; College buildings; Electronic mail; Engineering technology; Project management; Students; Systems engineering; Distance education

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version

Final Version

File Type





© 2006 American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), All rights reserved.