The rapid emergence of the global, digital workplace within contemporary design practice has raised questions regarding the educational implications of professional collaboration across cultural, geographical and disciplinary borders. Are we effectively preparing students for this new creative paradigm? Educationalists are responding by implementing more face-to-face team-based approaches, but the potential of online learning - the medium ideally suited to this new international digital work environment - has largely been overlooked.COFA Online has been creating, evolving and evaluating fully online art and design courses for the last three years in response to these questions. By triangulating data from a series of online case studies, teacher and student experiences, and three years of evaluations, this paper highlights specific online pedagogical approaches that have successfully engaged students in an active, collaborative online learning environment. It also pinpoints problems that can occur in online teamwork, and investigates several potential solutions.If carefully considered, online team-based learning can parallel contemporary collaborative work practices within the global design industry, and can help equip students with the collaboration and communication skills they need in order to work successfully in this professional environment. This paper highlights the need for educationalists to continue to pursue higher levels of understanding of online collaborative learning in the context of design, and offers suggestions on how to move forward.