My name is Keith Lyons. I am a Professor of Sport Studies at the University of Canberra.

I think of myself as an educational technologist.

Clyde Street

#UCSIA15: Desire Paths, Stepping Stones and Tickets




I have been thinking about learning journeys this week, particularly my own. Perhaps it has been triggered by my colleagues in the Teaching and Learning Centre (TLC) at the University of Canberra who have introduced me to the retrospectroscope as an important part of a process of developing an ePortfolio.

I think it has been prompted too by my attempt to find an appropriate, invitational language to encourage interest and participation in the #UCSIA15 open online course that starts on 23 February and continues for four weeks.

These have led me to desire paths, stepping stones and tickets.

Desire Paths


The retrospectroscope took me back to my first post of 2014 that was prompted by a comment by Kate Bowles. She brought desire paths to my attention. Kate observes that the essence of a successful desire path

is that it represents shared decision-making between separate users who don’t formally cooperate. So a desire path is both a coherent expression of collective effort, and completely unplanned — in fact, it’s the opposite of planning. Simply, each one puts her or his foot where it feels most sensible, and the result is a useful informal path that’s sensitive to gradient, destination, weather, terrain, and built through unspoken collaboration among strangers.

I do think this is a great way to describe my hopes for #UCSIA15 … putting one’s feet “where it feels most sensible”. This seems a good approach to stepping stones.

Stepping Stones


Whilst exploring TRU Writer yesterday, I came across A. Cheesy-Writer’s post about DS106. I do think DS106 sets the standard for open courses and for the ways participants share their experiences of open learning.

I was very interested to learn about whether open courses present obstacles to participation or provide stepping stones.

We at DS106 however, choose to see challenges as stepping-stones – opportunities that we have encountered along the way for us to use, to “step on” so that we can achieve more, develop further and ultimately actualize more of our goals!

Along with my TLC colleagues Jennifer Smith and Georgina Barden, I have been wondering if part of the invitation to the stepping stones in #UCSIA15 might be tickets that indicate the choices participants have in the open course.


It is quite difficult to avoid cliches when discussing sport. However, Jennifer, Georgina and I do think there is some merit in contemplating tickets for #UCSIA15.

We thought there might be at least four options:

General Admission for those who would like to be guided in the course


Self-directed learning


Participants who would like to pursue a specific interest


Those who would like to go beyond hello and who will support and facilitate other participants’ learning


We have the added bonus that if participants would like to change their tickets when they arrive at the course, we will have a globally connected staff of stewards to help in relocating aspirations and expectations.

All the tickets are the same price … free admission.

Photo Credits

In the Mendips (Matthew Benton, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The parsnip field home (Steve, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Walking on Water (Will Bakker, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Bruce Scott Old


8101697807_0e75438a5e_zLast week, a friend shared a link to a Carl Bialik post in FiveThityEightSports.

Carl wrote about Bruce Scott Old.

“In his spare time, he brought a notebook to tennis matches and collected statistics for further analysis”.

I have a particular interest in the sociology of knowledge in sport and was delighted to be introduced to Bruce.

I should have picked up on his work when I was reading Jake Downey’s (1970) Tennis Notation text and added Bruce to the pantheon of notational analysts.

Carl provides a fascinating insight into Bruce’s analysis of tennis performance. He uses Bruce’s diary entries in his account. There is some detailed background to the research for Bruce’s first book, The Game of Doubles in Tennis. He “spent three years charting matches, analyzing his data and writing up the results”.

Bruce collected data in real time. Carl notes “based on his diary, it sounds like he drew points out on court-shaped diagrams, then extracted the stats later”.

I do think knowledge of pioneers’ work is essential if we are to develop our understanding of sport performance in a digital age.

Like Lloyd Messersmith, Bruce was an active sportsperson with a strong interest in tennis.

He led a very interesting professional life. During WWII he was an adviser on metallurgy and engineering to Julius Furer, the Research and Development Coordinator of the National Research and Development Board. He was a member of the President’s Science Advisory Committee from 1951-1956 and was invited to join the Technological Capabilities Panel in 1954. At the time he was a Senior Vice President at Arthur D Little.

He wrote three other tennis books: a book on singles tennis (1962); stroke production (1971); and Tennis Tactics (1983).

Just as Charles Reep continued his interest in football into his 90s, Bruce was following tennis in his 90th year.

Bruce died in 2003.

Photo Credits

Australians John Bromwich and Adrian Quist with the Davis Cup, Pratten Park, Ashfield, Sydney, November 1939 (Sam Hood, no known copyright restrictions)

Bruce Old (image shared by the Old Family)

#UCSIA15: Google Slides, Dropbox and slideshare



I have been working on #UCSIA15 today.

I have started to synthesise some of the material for some trigger presentations for the course.

I used Google Slides to draft the Introduction presentation. I tried out a new font to me, Proxima Nova. This is one of the many fonts available in Google Slides.

The Google Slides deck can be found here. It has active hyperlinks.

This is my Dropbox copy (pdf 2.8 Mb).

The slideshare copy of the Introduction does not have active hyperlinks. You can download a pdf copy from slideshare with active links.

Photo Credit

Op Shop (Eric Rogers, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

#UCSIA15: A Modest Open Online Course (MOOC)



As I work on #UCSIA15, I have been discussing with colleagues what abbreviation to use to describe the open online course.

It is an OOC … We have no idea how many people will register for the course and so I hope the ‘M’ word in use will be ‘Modest’.

This is the Eventbrite alert for the course


Another reason for modesty is that the open course is running during two Sport Analytics Events:

My hope is that our MOOC resonates with discussions in Boston and Melbourne whilst providing additional asynchronous opportunities to explore the interaction of informatics and analytics in sport settings.

It will be a cMOOC too. The ‘c’ prefix indicates that it will be founded upon and shared with a connectivist approach to learning.

Photo Credit

Banksy Draw the Line (Jym Dyer, CC BY-NC 2.0)


Conversations and Cooperation in #UCSIA15




We are two months away from the start of the open online course Sport Informatics and Analytics (#UCSIA15).

My colleagues in the Teaching and Learning Centre (TLC) at the University of Canberra and I are working to ensure that we have everything in place for the 23 February start date.

The course is being hosted by Canvas.

One of my hopes for the course is that many of those who register for the course make the bold decision to connect with others. My colleagues in TLC have been encouraging me to think about why, how and where these convivial conversations may take place.

Necessary Fallibility

Their prompting has taken me back to look at the ‘necessary fallibility’ discussed by Samuel Gorovitz and Alasdair MacIntyre (1975). They observe:

Precisely because our understanding and expectations of particulars cannot be fully spelled out merely in terms of law-like generalisations and initial conditions, the best possible judgement may always turn out to be erroneous … because of the necessary fallibility of our knowledge of particulars. (p.18)

Theirs is a discussion about medicine but they include this statement about an Olympian physician which I do think has important implications for digital habitats. This physician:

would stand humbled by the mysteries of individual diversity, and would know that an inquiry into the distinctiveness of each individual … is an essential ingredient in his (her) practice. (p. 20)

I am hopeful that #UCSIA15 stimulates a sharing of this diversity. The course includes a theme of ‘Introductions’ and explores personal learning environments.

I see this course as a time to explore ideas in a caring community, mindful that this is a necessarily fallible approach.



The TLC staff have been very patient too as I have explored how a connectivist approach might guide the framing of our discussions about informatics and analytics. I am delighted that they have accepted willingly the suggestion that #UCSIA15 is a great opportunity to explore a non-linear open course.

In such an approach, Stephen Downes (2014) notes that, a learner is “a self-managed and autonomous seeker of opportunities to create, interact and have new experiences”. Learning is not “the accumulation of more and more facts or memories, but the ongoing development of a richer and richer neural tapestry”. He adds that:

the essential purpose of education and teaching is not to produce some set of core knowledge in a person, but rather to create the conditions in which a person can become an accomplished and motivated learner in their own right.

I am hopeful that the application of Alan Levine’s structured exposure will help stimulate and focus conversations. I have identified four themes, one for each week of the course, as an option for aggregated exchanges.

I have identified a number of formal places where conversations can take place but I understand that there are lots of other existing informal connections too.


Going Beyond Hello

Participation in #UCSIA15 is entirely voluntary. I have spent a good deal of the last few months contacting people about the course. I do see this an exciting moment in the discussion of informatics and analytics.

I think it is a wonderful inclusive opportunity.

A post by Dean Shareski about his Ignite Your Passion for Discovery evenings has encouraged me to think about how we might go beyond ‘Hello’ in course conversations.

One of the speakers at Dean’s Vancouver evening was Kristi Blakeway.

This is her 5 minutes presentation

In addition to being the Principal at Harry Hooge Elementary School in Maple Ridge, BC, Kristi founded Project HELLO (Helping Everyone Locate Loved Ones). In this project:

high school students approach the homeless and offer them the opportunity to send hand-made greeting cards to family or friends who they may have lost touch with.  It began as a one day field trip – but it has now become a multi-school year round initiative.  One by one, the homeless have trusted us with their stories and offered a glimpse into their lives.  To date we have helped over 300 people send messages of love, through greeting cards, phone calls and face to face reunions.

I think this is a most wonderful illustration of where conversation can take us.

I hope to encourage everyone in #UCSIA15 to take that first small step to acknowledge others.

Photo Credits

Conversation (Tom Magilery, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Wooburn Green – Little Marlow (Peter, CC BY-SA 2.0)

#UCSIA15 Videos 1




A theme in the open line course #UCSIA15 (Sport Informatics and Analytics) is the process of sharing analytics stories with an audience (either imagined or with colleagues in a specific context).

I hope we will discuss how the ways we share stories can trigger learning.

I have been interested the role video can play as a trigger and have a specific interest in sharing unresolved scenarios to engage conversation about decision making or assessment.

Susanne Lajoie and her colleagues (2014), Peter Fadde and Patricia Sullivan (2013), and Niels Brouwer (2011), amongst others, have been reviewing the use of trigger videos in teachers’ continuing professional learning.

I have started to compile some videos to stimulate discussion about what we do in Informatics and Analytics.

Two of the three will be very familiar to those in the community of practice. These are short videos.

The third is longer (16 minutes) and is from a different context.I am very keen to introduce Julian Oliver and the role of the critical engineer.

The three together encourage me to think about and reflect on my practice. All are in English.

My Wolfgang Iser experience leads me to invite viewers of the videos to make of them what you will … and perhaps we can discuss your take on them.

Seattle Sounders (2014)

Gloucester Rugby 2012

Augmented Improved Reality



Building #UCSIA15


#UCSIA15, an open online course in Sport Informatics and Analytics, is three months away.

My colleagues in the Teaching and Learning Centre at the University of Canberra are guiding me through a range of pre-course activities in order to meet the February start of the course.

We have produced a video welcome to the course.

The raw footage was shot using a green chroma key background. My hope was that we would make it very short. The finished video is 38 seconds long.

This is a still from the source video


and this is the edited version:


Leonard Low, the creative producer of the video, has used an image of the Yankee Stadium shared by Ed Yourdon on Flickr with a CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license.

We have been discussing how ‘open’ we can make this course and how we can use an agnostic range of tools to do so.

One of the resources we will use is an open Moodle Forum. We are hopeful that there will be lots of conversations, probably away from the Forums, but we do want to provide that option.


Students on the Master of High Performance course at the University of Canberra, of which #UCSIA15 is a part, will be developing an ePortfolio to support their learning in the Informatics and Analytics unit. One of the options they have for their ePortfolio is Mahara.

I have started to develop my Mahara example.


My Clyde Street blog is the main item in my ePortfolio and I will ensure I link to Mahara from here.

I have started to make much more use of Google Chrome and have accessed Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides and MindMeister from the Chrome Apps. Much of the course documentation is available in Google Docs format.


I have enjoyed using MindMeister for the ever expanding content of the course.

This is the collapsed version


I am hopeful that Twitter will be a repository for #UCSIA15 activity too.

All these activities have focussed my attention of the learning experience the course might provide. My interest in microlearning has informed my mind mapping and extended my interest in how we acknowledge microlearning that occurs at a learner’s tempo rather than a chronological time model.

By coincidence, earlier this week, Gráinne Conole shared her vision for a Learning Passport. She writes:

The VMPass project is developing an accreditation framework for informal and non-formal learning through resources such as Open Educational Resources (OER) and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC). The accreditation is achieved through completion of a learning passport. This consists of information from: the institution that provided the open learning material, the learner, and the accrediting institution. This document provides guidelines on how to complete the learning passport.

My hope is that any of the micro-learning or macro-learning from #UCSIA15 might appear in this passport, particularly for those people who are combining continuing professional learning with full-time employment in sport.

I wondered if we might attract learners like those discussed by Tim Buszard in The Conversation today. In his discussion of self-taught musicians (with a link to Peter MacIntyre and Gillian Potter‘s work), Tim observed:

those that learned their skills via informal practice were more inclined to write and create music. Indeed, more guitarists than pianists came from informal practice backgrounds.

He followed up with a question that is central to my thinking about the self-organising possibilities of an open online course:

how is it possible that someone can attain such a level of expertise without any teacher providing the necessary instructions and guidance?

This video has given me an opportunity to reflect on the potential of our mirror neurons for personal change (and hip hop virtuosity):

Imagine #UCSIA15 having that level of engagement and joy.

Still another three months to get our moves sorted out.

Master of High Performance Sport @UniCanberra


The University of Canberra is offering a Master of High Performance Sport in 2015.

There was an official launch of the course today in the Sporting Commons at the University.


Diane Gibson, the Dean of the Faculty of Health, welcome guests and provided a background to the development of the course. She noted the roles Allan Edwards and Naroa Extebarria had played in the planning and development of the course.


Jonathan Powles represented the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education, Nick Klomp, at the launch. Jonathan discussed some of the innovative teaching and learning approaches embedded in the course including the open online course (OOC) in Sport Informatics and Analytics (#UCSIA15).

The three other speakers at the launch were Nick Ball (Head of Discipline Sport and Exercise Science, 2015)


David Martin (AIS)


and Carrie Graf, Coach-in-Residence at the University of Canberra.


Photo Credit

Jonathan Powles (Canberra Jazz Blog, 2011)

Entangled, Following, Leading



I had the opportunity to visit Long Beach on Thursday. It is an hour’s drive from my home in Braidwood, New South Wales.

Long Beach is normally deserted when we get there. We have a choice of wherever we would like to be. There are no surf lifesaving flags. There is no surf patrol there. Everyone who visits the beach understands that they have a personal responsibility for their own and others’ safety. It is a shallow, family friendly beach with no dangerous rip currents.

We were one of two families on the beach. Both of us were inducting young children into the delights of swimming.

I thought the day provided a great metaphor for some of the issues I have been thinking about of late prompted by discussions I have been having with Jo Gibson about #leadershipfollowership.

Jo is looking at the entanglement of leadership and followership in nursing contexts. Her insights have helped me think more carefully about:

  • Player-led environments in high performance sport
  • Flipped learning opportunities in an open and non-linear online course #UCSIA15.

These have led me inexorably to think in more detail about pedagogy and power.

All these thoughts have coincided with two conversations with world-leading coaches. Both are finding it difficult to work with their national sporting organisations. These organisations are uncomfortable with the coaching approaches of both coaches. They are expecting a much more authoritarian approach to coaching as hierarchical telling rather than a democratic acceptance of entangled opportunities to lead and follow.

If both organisations were in charge of Long Beach there would be a very narrow bandwidth of acceptable beach behaviour. Families would not explore the beach, they would avoid it. Freedom to be different becomes constraint.

This video about the Bodleian Library encouraged me to think about how we can transform an institution

An Open University publication, Innovating Pedagogy (2014) has helped me extend these thoughts. The report published in November looks at:

  • Open social learning
  • Learning supported by analytics
  • Flipped classrooms
  • Bring your own devices
  • Learning to learn
  • Dynamic assessment
  • Event-based learning
  • Learning through storytelling
  • Threshold concepts
  • Bricolage

All of these point to the self-monitoring and self-management that occurs at Long Beach and with the generations of children who have learned to play and swim there. It is a place of considered autonomy.


In addition to Jo’s prompting, my thoughts at Long Beach were catalysed by a line from an article in the Atlantic earlier this year (April). Derek Thompson discusses The Saviour Fallacy in basketball. In it he mentions Kevin Pritchard‘s “treadmill of mediocrity”. The treadmill captures

the widespread feeling that average teams are doomed to walk in place for eternity with no hope of advancement: they lack the talent to contend, yet never get the acclaimed top-of-the-draft picks that could meaningfully improve their rosters.

My hope is that a move to the entanglement of leadership and followership addresses this sense of eternal doom. It is a very fallible move as we learn how to transition to a shared learning space.

I find it profoundly disappointing that two coaches on this journey are having difficulties in their organisations. Their valuing of process over outcome ironically has led to some of both sports best ever results.

Quite a day at the beach!


@tonynaar at #IASI14 and #AUSPIN14



The Australian Institute of Sport hosted Day 2 of the annual meetings of the International Association for Sports Information (IASI) and the Australasian Sport Information Network (AUSPIN).

One of the final presentations of the day was by Tony Naar.

Tony has the delightful title of General Manager Knowledge Services at the Australian Paralympic Committee.

Tony provided a case study of the Australian Paralympic Committee’s partnership with the NSIC Clearinghouse for Sport.

Whenever I hear Tony speak I am struck by his inspirational views on knowledge gathering and sharing.

His work is a benchmark standard for information services in national (and global) sporting organisations.

A great way to end two days of discussions about collaborative activity in Sport Information Services.


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