As a matter of fact, I think internet is just a tool, the goal we are achieving is to have the design proposition nicely done. For that reason, I prefer to meet in person and online both.
To work in a studio everybody will do their job without delay, because you cannot search the new shoes or check funny pictures online, you will have a strong emotion to finish the work.
To work online has it’s benefits too, for example I am momber in a lot of professional BBS, in these websites I know a lot people who can help me out even join in my project, but when the works actually coming, I would have to meet them in person for sure.
What I will do if I had a design challenge, first in the studio have a face to face meeting with group members, divide roles for everybody, set up goals, brain storming. Secondly, we can work online, do collecting work and find information suits our project, working like a online community. Step three, in this step we can work either online or face to face, the main goal is to really do the work. And finally, we have to come together again and check if the work is good enough.
However the example above is about practical jobs like to make a car model, if the challenge is more abstract or we can work with softwares, then online meeting will also do. While we are doing it online, I have a golden rule, every task has a dead line, it is easier to trace the work. Maybe a shaper help with the dead line would more affective.