#UCSIA15 Connections, Nodes and Wormholes


Last week, Stephen Downes wrote about Becoming MOOC.

The concluding paragraph of his post is:

Learning in a MOOC and literacy in a MOOC become synonymous. We are not acquiring content or using language and literacy, we are becoming literate, becoming MOOC. Each bit of experience, each frustrated facing of a new chaos, changes you, shapes you. Participating in a MOOC is like walking through a forest, trying to see where animals have walked in the past, trying to determine whether that flash of orange is a tiger. There are no easy successes, and often no sense of flow. But you feel the flush of success every time you recognize a form you defined, achieve a skill you needed, and gradually gradually you become a skilled inhabitant of the forest, or of 21st century human society.

I thought this was an excellent statement of #UCSIA15 ambitions.

I read Stephen’s post after reading Chris Daly’s tribute to David Carr’s teaching. Chris wrote:

When David died, he was the holder of an endowed chair in the Journalism Department at Boston University. There he was, inventing himself all over again. Far from the places in Washington and New York where he had made his bones, David was putting himself on the line to try something new.

And he was not just dabbling. He took it seriously, and from what he revealed, he was dead-serious about teaching. He saw teaching as another way to do most of the things he cared about — writing, thinking, criticizing, and nurturing this thing that we all care about so much.

Chris and David’s students share how David adapted to his teaching role. I thought his wisdom and approach to pedagogy shone through his Press Play course.

 David wrote of Press Play:

This course, Press Play, aspires to be a place where you make things. Good things. Smart things. Cool things. And then share those things with other people. The idea of Press Play is that after we make things we are happy with, that we push a button and unleash it on the world. Much of it will be text, but if you want to make magic with a camera, your phone, or with a digital recorder, knock yourself out. But it will all be displayed and edited on Medium because there will be a strong emphasis on working with others in this course, and Medium is collaborative.

With just a few more sleeps to the start of #UCSIA15, David, Chris and Stephen have helped me clarify not only the aims of the course but also helped confirm some of the opportunities for #UCSIA15:


Modesty and Humility

We recognise that there is so much expertise and experience available in sport informatics and analytics. Our course is a very small contribution to remarkable communities of practice. We understand that we are offering a local perspective and hope that we can contribute to a global discussion of such a dynamic field of study and practice. We see the course as a wonderful opportunity for our own learning about open sharing.


We believe the way to develop knowledge of sport informatics and analytics is to connect with others. We have described this course as a connectivist course. Stephen Downes (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.

We hope that our course will make connecting and sharing possible. We think this can happen within the course and in existing self-organising networks.


Rita Kop and Adrian Hill (2008) observe:

In the connectivist model, a learning community is described as a node, which is always part of a larger network.  Nodes arise out of the connection points that are found on a network.  A network is comprised of two or more nodes linked in order to share resources.  Nodes may be of varying size and strength, depending on the concentration of information and the number of individuals who are navigating through a particular node

We hope that our choice of four themes for #UCSIA15 and mapped with Mindmeister mindmaps indicate the potential for node development in sport informatics and analytics.

We think there are enormous opportunities to share the practice of these nodes and to alert others to their interests and passions.



#UCSIA15 has been planned as an asynchronous, non-linear course. We are hoping that participants’ interests will take them where they wish within and beyond the course.

We anticipate that some participants may have a single interest that they wish to pursue.

We trust that some of the content might lead to different spacetime. Wikipedia notes that a wormhole “is much like a tunnel with two ends, each in separate points in spacetime”.

Whilst this might seem an ambitious aspiration one of our topics is feedforward. Recent research in that field has discussed the possibilities of mental time travel.

In a 2012 paper, Peter Dowrick suggests:

The most rapid learning by humans can be achieved by mental simulations of future events, based on reconfigured preexisting component skills. These reconsiderations of learning from the future, emphasizing learning from oneself, have coincided with developments in neurocognitive theories of mirror neurons and mental time travel.

Photo Credits

Crowd in Railway Station (Matthias Ripp, CC BY 2.0)

Tilt shift grid (Mike Edwards, CC BY 2.0)

Soldier Field Tilt Shift (Michael Baird, CC BY-SA 2.0)

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