An Invitation to SOOC 001: Observing and Analysing Performance in Sport


The authors of an open online course, Current/Future State of Higher Education (CFHE12), observe in Week 2 of that course:

New technologies alter the relationship between learners and educators. The mediating role of higher education – selecting and brokering access to learning materials and ideas – is changing with the rise of the internet and constant connectivity.

Observing and Analysing Performance in Sport is seeking to explore these changes and to do so with a short, introductory course hosted on the OpenLearning platform. The course starts on 5 November and runs for five weeks.

Open Online Courses

There is lots of discussion about open online courses at the moment. In Australia, for example, The Conversation is running a series of articles this month. I enjoy reading Tony Hirst’s perspectives from the UK. Recently he observed:

Another of the things that I’ve been pondering is the role that “content” may or not play a role in this open course thing. Certainly, where participants are encouraged to discover and share resources, or where instructors seek to construct courses around “found resources”, an approach espoused by the OU’s new postgraduate strategy, it seems to me that there is an opportunity to contribute to the wider open learning idea by producing resources that can be “found”. For resources to be available as found resources, we need the following:

  1. Somebody needs to have already created them…
  2. They need to be discoverable by whoever is doing the finding
  3. They need to be appropriately licensed (if we have to go through a painful rights clearnance and rights payment model, the cost benefits of drawing on and freely reusing those resources are severely curtailed).

Tony points to the approaches taken in cMooCs and ds106. Like Tony I have found these two approaches to open learning liberating.

(cMOOC) offerings inspired by the likes of George Siemens, Stephen Downes, et al., where a looser curriculum based around a set of topics and initially suggested resources is used to bootstrap a set of loosely co-ordinated personal learning journeys: learners are encouraged to discover, share and create resources and feed them into the course network in a far more organic way than the didactic, rigidly structured approach taken by the xMOOC platforms. The cMOOC style also offers the possibility of breaking down subject disciplines through accepting shared resources contributed because they are relevant to the topic being explored, rather than because they are part of the canon for a particular discipline.
The course without boundaries approach of Jim Groom’s ds106, as recently aided and abetted by Alan Levine, also softens the edges of a traditionally offered course with its problem based syllabus and open assignment bank (particpants are encouraged to submit their own assignment ideas) and turns learning into something of a lifestyle choice…

I am keen to be part of that discussion and to do so through the practice of a small course committed to open sharing and flourishing. I take Jim Groom’s point about open architecture very seriously:

We have to broadly experiment with and come to terms with how we design an open architecture that provides for a coherent personal digital archive.

I have enjoyed reading about A Domain of One’s Own at the University of Mary Washington:

A Domain of One’s Own is a new pilot project from the University of Mary Washington and a collaborative effort between the Division of Teaching and Learning Technologies and the Office of Information Technology Services. This pilot will give 400 students and faculty their own domain name and web space to install a portfolio of work or map to existing systems. Content from coursework in the pilot will be aggregated here, as well as an exploration of aggregating the work students are creating directly to We believe this pilot project will give students the flexibility to build out their “e-portfolio” using a variety of software and approaches in a space that gives them the power to easily migrate and transport that data when they graduate. We’re excited about the possibilities and will continue to update everyone on the project right here at as the pilot unfolds.

John Udell has written about this too and the importance of cloud opportunities “where students could, and would, take care of their own services, relying on standards to interoperate with the institutions they’d serially associate with during their careers and lives”.
Leigh Blackall makes some important points about principles too in regard to: connected and constructed learning, open access, free content reuse, international, cross cultural and collaborative engagement, transparent processes and open documentation, peer to peer assessment and acknowledgement of people breaking conceptual ground in the lobbying and development of open and networked practice. Leigh notes Teemu Leinonen’s 2008 approach in Composing free and open online educational resources:

The course readings and the assignments in this course will familiarize participants with the main concepts related to open education resources and to the historical and philosophical ideas behind them. The participants will also do their own projects where they will learn to create and participate in projects producing free and open educational resources.

I admire Stephen Downes’ work immensely. Last week Stephen shared a presentation on the Connective Learning Environment. In that presentation he gave an insight into the development of CCK08 and subsequent open online courses. Stephen links to Dave Cormier’s video What is a MOOC?


I hope that the background information I have shared here gives a feel for the epistemological foundations for Observing and Analysing Performance in Sport.
This post is an invitation to participate in the course and to do so with the voluntary assumption of risk that it will be a messy experience. With OpenLearning’s help I think we will be able to adapt to an emerging course.
I have cleared my diary for November to optimise my opportunity to be part of the course. We are still writing the content for the course but I sense that the range of contributors will make it a very distinctive experience.
Photo Credits



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here