Envisioning #UCSIA15

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Introduction

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 …

Nodes

#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)

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