Creating product innovations involves the need to understand the social context in which the innovation is created and ultimately the context in which it is to be used. The use of globally distributed teams (GDTs) in engineering education to understand and enhance the social and technological interaction could catalyze the process of creating innovation. This paper proposes a framework for the analysis and support of the GDT setting. The proposed framework builds on the standardized open system interconnection model for network communication consisting of seven interconnected layers. As it has been suggested in prior studies, a successful collaboration in a GDT relies on several critical factors that build on each other. Organizing and supporting these factors in an interconnected layered scheme could better clarify the interaction between social and technological aspects. A case study of a student medical device project is analyzed using the proposed framework. The project involved students from University of Minnesota, MN and KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden.

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