Envisioning #UCSIA15

6465050711_b94076b925_b

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)

c-ness

6016461865_4d0415581a_bI have not written many posts in the past two months. I have been a peripheral participant in many conversations and have admired from afar the insights and wisdom being shared.

This week a post from Stephen Downes was a catalyst for this post about c-ness.

Stephen linked to Dan Pontefract’s post The Organisation as a Cycling Peloton. Dan suggested “Maybe if we were to act like a peloton in our organizations, we might see higher levels of employee engagement”. Dan liked the idea that a peloton (particularly in recreational cycling): shared the load; communicated proactively; encouraged and recognised effort.

For some reason, I am not sure why, I started thinking about discussions of the forms MOOCs take. If there are cMOOCs, I wondered if there were cPelotons. The c-ness of both activities seems to promote cooperation and reciprocal altruism. I liked Gordon Lockhart‘s discussion of the c-ness of MOOCs. In a post earlier this year, Gordon observed:

cMOOCs are very peculiar beasts. I was first thrown by one in 2011 (CCK11) when 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 – I still check out the CCK11 page on Facebook.

2186106604_78dd38ebb8_bI am particularly interested in cSOOCs. I think of the courses as Small rather than Massive. In the last two months, I have been delighted to have participated in an Introduction to Box’Tag cSOOC. I have been wondering if the C might be a community rather than a course. When I explored this idea, Stephen Downes responded with this observation:

courses have start and end dates, and communities don’t. So if your thing has a start and end date, it’s a course. It may foster and support community, but it’s something different. (Stephen’s emphasis)

Thanks to Stephen’s clarification, I do think this blending of courses and communities is part of the transformation Terry Heick discussed recently and is linked to the reflection Debbie Morrison discussed in regard to MOOCs. I think this blend is nourished by c-ness.

As a result of Stephen’s point, I realise when I discuss cSOOCs, I should specify that these are available after the ‘end’ of moments of concentration of collaborative or cooperative activity. They remain as resources in the dispersed communities they were designed to foster and support. Their c-ness includes: content creation, open and free sharing and personal responsibility for learning.

OopsI went missing in the discussion of accreditation in Performance Analysis too. I have been meaning to respond to the conversation around accreditation and the debate about unpaid internships. My tardiness meant that I could not find the unpaid intern position at Wigan Athletic advertised on the UK Sport website nor a position at Reading. But I did find Intern Aware and their discussion of the ethical issues related to unpaid internships and their illegality. There was coverage of the unpaid internship at Reading (including this Huffington Post UK post).

I thought Dave Willoughby provided an excellent discussion of internships in his post Unpaid Internships in Performance Analysis: My View. I liked his concluding statement:

I’m not asking for the earth, I don’t expect to be paid as much as Yaya Toure or Wayne Rooney, but if I’m doing a job that is valued I would at least expect to be paid enough to live on. I want to make a difference and help a team excel and achieve their potential, the sooner clubs realise the talent pool they are missing out on the better.

My involvement in the accreditation discussions about Performance Analysis are driven by a desire to infuse the process with c-ness. I would like to be part of a group that is able to form a consensus about standards and equivalence. Doug Belshaw‘s discussion of Mozilla’s Web Literacy Standard has focussed my attention this week. I am mindful that I need to support more effectively the advocacy lead by Jason Lear, Darrell Cobner and Josh Bryan amongst others.

I was around at the time the International Society of Performance Analysis in Sport (ISPAS) was founded and have followed the society’s development with interest. I note that ISPAS has shared its membership model on its Facebook page. I am hopeful that as an industry stakeholder, ISPAS might engage in accreditation discussions that have c-ness dispositions. I wondered if the sport technology hardware and software suppliers might do the same.

Together we could have a mutually assured system of accreditation that involves recognition of prior learning. The system could have many entry and exit points and could be mapped against tertiary education award schemes.

This leads me to a final point in this post.

I wonder if we can have an open accreditation system (cAccreditation) that has a modest fee for service (xAccreditation) that sets an open standard to assure the quality of performance analysts and to support the employment aspirations of generations of analysts.

Martin Lugton raises a very interesting point about cMOOCs and about c-ness:

cMOOCs are not proscriptive, and participants set their own learning goals and type of engagement. They won’t necessarily walk away with a fixed and tested set of specific skills or competencies, or knowledge of a set body of content. This makes cMOOCs tricky to grade or assess or certify. This, combined with the fact that the platform is totally open, means that they probably aren’t very easy to make any money from.

4337007744_70e6e21022_bWe are a very small industry and I am hopeful that we could develop an inclusive model that is sufficiently invitational that participating in it is ‘natural’ for our community of practice. We could share openly our practices and experiences to curate the most remarkable continuing professional development resources. We would be a great crowdsourcing professional organisation that might be sustainable by offering our shared energies in service of the common good. We could make c-ness work for us by anchoring our diversity in some fundamental principles.

We would be a cPeloton: sharing the load; communicating proactively; encouraging and recognising effort. Even on the hors catégorie climbs we could be a flat organisation.

Photo Credits

DSC_5645 (Roger Nilsson, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Rainbow Over Innovation Park (Yorkali Walters CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Page not Found (UK Sport, accessed 27 April 2013)

No Safety Net Project 365(2) Day 5 (Keith Williamson, CC BY 2.0)