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

Envisioning #UCSIA15




I have spent the last couple of days thinking about and writing about the open online course #UCSIA15, Sport Informatics and Analytics.

I have drafted my ideas about the course in this Google Doc. (There is a mindmap of the course available here.)

Some points from the document:

  • The course will run over four weeks in February and March 2015.
  • The resources shared by this open course will be available before the course starts and will remain available thereafter as Creative Commons licensed open educational resources.
  • The course is designed to be a non-linear learning and sharing opportunity. However, in each of the four weeks of the course there is a theme to offer structured exposure.

A Connectivist Course

I am keen to point to the connectivist essence of the course. Stephen Downes (2012) notes that in  a connectivist course “the content does not define the course”. He adds:

By navigating the content environment, and selecting content that is relevant to your own personal preferences and context, you are creating an individual view or perspective. So you are first creating connections between contents with each other and with your own background and experience. And working with content in a connectivist course does not involve learning or remembering the content. Rather, it is to engage in a process of creation and sharing. Each person in the course, speaking from his or her unique perspective, participates in a conversation that brings these perspectives together.


In an earlier post, Stephen (2007) points out that “At its heart, connectivism is the thesis that knowledge is distributed across a network of connections, and therefore that learning consists of the ability to construct and traverse those networks”.

I liked Gordon Lockhart’s (2013) description of his experience of a connectivist open course (cMOOC):

it dawned on me that, contrary to what was on the tin, a cMOOC wasn’t a ‘course’ at all. Instead, a heady amalgam of ‘massive’, ‘open’ and ‘online’ was leading to a quite extraordinary place where the normal rules of learning engagement just didn’t apply. There were a couple of facilitators but no teachers. Participants were encouraged to create and maintain their own blogs. Social media was used for discussion and sharing resources. Topics were explored together, connections made and groups were formed and maintained long after the MOOC was over. cMOOCs never die …


#UCSIA15 is designed around four themes. These themes are open-ended and dynamic.

They offer everyone an invitation to extend them. They have the potential to become enriched by infinite nodes of activity generated by personal interest and self-organising networks.

My hope is that #UCSIA15 will have global reach. I hope too that groups of friends and communities of practice might participate and strengthen their existing links.

I am hopeful that nodes within the open course will become vibrant sharing opportunities. As I contact colleagues around the world, I think the node structure will become dynamic and powerfully inclusive.

Connecting and Sharing

I am excited that a connectivist approach can energise discussion of sport informatics and analytics. My experience of the CCK08 cMOOC mirrored Gordon’s experience. I do hope the c-ness of #UCSIA15 resonates in the same way.

Photo Credit

Brussels by night (Romain Ballez, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Mapping #UCSIA15



I am starting to add more details to the mind map I am using for the development of #UCSIA15.

I have upgraded my MindMeister account from free to Pro to give me some extra functionality.

In the map, I have been thinking about 4Ps amongst other ideas:

People, Perspectives, Products and Processes.

I am hoping these themes will help guide crowd sourcing ideas for the open course.

This is a link to the map.

Photo Credit

The Map That Came to Life (Anne, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Pete the Sheep Days



Our four year old granddaughter, Ivy, had her first school trip today.

Her pre-school group made the adventurous journey from Braidwood to Queanbeyan by bus and train to see a performance of Pete the Sheep. They came home by bus.

Ivy was up at 5am ready to go to the bus … just four hours away.

Her excitement, our excitement, made me think about everyone’s Pete the Sheep experience of learning.

I am wondering how we create learning environments so exciting that Pete the Sheep is an every day experience for all learners  … perhaps without a 4am start, but certainly a-want-to-need-to-be-there-kind-of-day.

I do think stories are at the heart of these environments. Music too … if Pete is involved.


Photo Credits

Pete the Sheep

Call out the health and safety man (theirhistory, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Meeting Stephen


Stephen Hough

I have not made a lot of car journeys recently.

As a result I have missed listening to Classic FM.

I was on the road this morning and was delighted to hear Christopher Lawrence chat with the pianist Stephen Hough.

The chat followed a recital of Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor. This was transcribed for piano by Alfred Cortot. Stephen Hough made 80 changes to this transcription, some of which corrected errors in Cortot’s version when compared to the original Bach fugue.

Listening to the conversation encouraged me to think again about the narratives we develop about performance in sport … and how we notate performance.

I was interest too to learn that Stephen blogs regularly for The Telegraph. He tweets too.

Two of Stephen’s recent blog posts caught my attention:

Fear or ecstasy? Overcoming performance anxiety (21 August)

What does the most talented piano student need most? (21 July)

There is some biographical information about Stephen here. He was a MacArthur Fellow in 2001.

This fellowship “is not a reward for past accomplishment, but rather an investment in a person’s originality, insight, and potential.”


Photo Credit

Stephen Hough (Frame Grab)



It is R U OK? Day in Australia on 11 September.


… the official day for making explicit the everyday care we have for each other.

I started writing about the day and R U OK? in 2010.

Gavin Larkin commented on that post and wrote about his Dad, Barry.

Gavin founded R U OK? in 2009 in memory of Barry.


I have thought a great deal about Gavin and his work. Connecting through conversation each and every day can have profound consequences.

In the video from which I have taken a frame grab above, Gavin talks eloquently about the importance of conversation.

Much of my desire to work with athletes and coaches has arisen from the death of my brother, John, in 1982. John was 26 when he died. Last year, I was able to provide a picture for his Wikipedia entry, 31 years on.


I will be thinking about Gav on 11 September and his wonderful idea to connect our concern for each other’s well-being. I will be thinking too about all the conversations I can have with a very simple but profound question … each day.

If you would like more information about R U OK? there is an excellent website.

There will be more information at #ruokday too.

Early Season Performance in Three Rugby Tournaments 2014-2015 Season



Two rugby union tournaments started in England last weekend. The Top Orange tournament in France has completed four weeks.

The Aviva Premiership followed last season’s rankings in all games played on the first day of the season:

Aviva 1 2014

The start of the Greene King Championship was much more volatile:

GK1 2014

Only Leeds and the Pirates played to their 2013-2014 rankings.

In France in week 4, Lyon (over Oyannax) and Brive (over Toulouse) played above their 2013-2014 ranking:

Top 14 4 2014



Photo Credit

Simmo v Cipriani (Peter Dean, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The Art of Making and Missing the 2014 NRL Finals


The 2014 regular NRL season concluded with Round 26 last weekend.

As with my AFL post, I have abstracted teams’ pathways to and from the 2014 Finals.

I used a very simple rule to construct the images: 1 point for a win, -1 for a loss.

This is a momentum image for all 16 teams in the competition:

NRL14 Map

The legend is:


The 8 teams that made the Finals:

NRL 8 2014

The teams that missed out:

NRL Bottom 8

The diverging gap between the top and the bottom of the 2014 NRL ladder:

1 and 16

AFL 2014: Overcoming an End of Third Quarter Deficit



North Melbourne overcame an end of third quarter deficit of 9 points to defeat Essendon in the 2014 play offs.

During the regular season there were six occasions when teams overcame a larger deficit. Carlton overcame a 14 point deficit at the end of their third quarter in Round 6 against West Coast.

There were 28 games in which a team overcame an end of third quarter deficit to win in the 2014 season. Carlton overturned an end of third quarter deficit of 7 points to draw with Essendon in Round 23.


Photo Credit

Adelaide v North Melbourne (Adriano Rotolo, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

AFL 2014: Qualifying Final 2 Sydney v Fremantle


Sydney plays Fremantle today in the second preliminary final of the 2014 AFL season.

The spectroscope of Sydney’s season is:


For Fremantle:


The teams met once this year in Round 5 in Sydney.

The scoring pattern by quarter was:


The data suggest a Sydney win notwithstanding the team’s defeat by Richmond in last week’s final game of the regular season.


Sydney won this game 93 v 69.


AFL Finals 2014 Spectroscope



I have been thinking about visualising sport performance.

Earlier this week I came across a post by Jonathan Powles about Nova Centauri 2013. He noted that:

A few of us have rudimentary spectroscopes – devices that can spread the white light of the star into its constituent spectrum. It’s a simple filter which screws into the front of the camera.  With this one can measure the intensity of each wavelength of light, from deep violet into the red and infra-red.  You can see this at the bottom of the photo below:


This graph plots the intensity of each wavelength of light. Jonathan notes that “The red line in the graph shows the nova’s spectrum when it was at its brightest, on 6 December.  The red line is the spectrum a day later.  An awful lot has changed; as you’d expect given that the star is in the process of exploding”.

I thought I would adapt this to the limited colour spectrum I use for performance against (previous season) ranking.

  • Green – a win by a higher ranked team over a lower ranked team
  • Blue – a loss by a lower ranked team to a higher ranked team
  • Gold – a win by a lower ranked team against a higher ranked team
  • Red – a defeat of a higher ranked team by a lower ranked team

Hawthorn were the minor premiers in the 2013 AFL season. This means they can have no gold or blue in their spectrum for 2014.

This is my first attempt at a spectroscope of Hawthorn’s 2014 season:

Hawthorn DNA 14

Their opponent in the first preliminary final is Geelong. Their ranking in 2013 means they can have all four colours in their spectrum.

Their 2014 season is:

Geelong DNA 2014

I do like the spectroscope possibilities of visualising performance. Jonathan used software for his real-time astronomical spectroscopy (RSpec).

The RSpec website notes:

In the past, only professionals had the skill and equipment to study spectra. Recently, the cost and complexity of the necessary hardware and software has dropped enormously. Today, you can easily study the spectra of stars and planets with a minimum of expense. If you have a telescope and a CCD camera (even a webcam or DSLR), then all you need is an inexpensive Star Analyser grating and the RSpec software. It’s an exciting pursuit.

I think this applies to sport too … particularly the ‘exciting pursuit’ part. It is an invitation to see things differently.

Photo Credits

Frame grab (Jonathan Powles)

Image from page 761 (Internet Book Archive Image, no known copyright restrictions)

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