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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Managing Complexity in a Networked Learning Environment

  • Author(s): Humfrey, Jonathan
  • Rollins, Sami
  • Almeroth, Kevin
  • Bimber, Bruce
  • et al.

As more universities and research institutions develop digital classrooms, a common theme is arising: the need to manage complexity. As more technology is added to a classroom in order to facilitate the presentation, transmission and recording of digital media, the complexity of the environment increases dramatically. By planning the design and implementation of a digital classroom with a strong focus on managing complexity from the beginning, it should be possible to deploy a highly functional classroom environment that employs advanced technology while at the same time managing the inherent complexity in such a way as to reduce the barriers to use. In this paper, we will examine how complexity arises within four specific areas: audio engineering, video production, encoding/decoding, and administration. We then present a list of solutions and conclude with an overview of what we have learned in the deployment of our own digital classroom, the Collaborative Technology Laboratory (CTL).

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