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Learning and information management in technology rich environments is a nonlinear process that teachers cannot pretend to control. The University of Central Florida's (UCF) teaching and information management strategies build on metaphors and models borrowed from Dynamical Systems and Complexity Theories to help teachers and others understand learning processes and effectively guide students in complex environments. The UCF Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning and the UCF Library are tracking and analyzing the processes students use for information acquisition, management and application in order to identify strategies that lead to successful learning and those that break down. The result has been a faculty development process that has moved faculty away from a lecture/information distribution model to one that actively engages students in the learning process. Through the use of templates and guidelines, negotiated outcomes, team roles, and phased deadlines, students have begun to accept responsibility for their own learning and are shifting from passive recipients of information to explorers, discoverers, and experimenters. Some faculty embrace the notion of chaos in the classroom, while others fear it. By understanding the teaching approaches that support dynamic learning and the type of students who can benefit from this environment, UCF has been able to create learning alternatives and to maximize the use of high tech environments, making the most flexible available only to those faculty who are prepared to use them. The UCF model for helping faculty maximize the dynamic learning environment can help other institutions move toward a philosophy that embraces students' ability to discover and apply knowledge that is not only contained in a textbook. (AEF)

Descriptors: Computer Assisted Instruction, Computer Uses in Education, Educational Development, Educational Practices, Faculty Development, Higher Education, Instructional Innovation, Learner Controlled Instruction, Nontraditional Education

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Autor: Scharf, Meg; Smith, Karen L.


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