Connecting with sport at the crossroads of the world

This morning was one of those delightful, connecting mornings.

We have had really good overnight rain in Braidwood. The air is cool … and my ADSL connection is working.

I am usually up at 6am and ready to discover the treasure trove that is my online personal learning network.

Each morning, I find myself at the crossroads of the world on a quiet street in rural New South Wales. The ADSL connection is important as I can access a stable internet connection without any latency. This was not the case when I lived out in the country, too far from a telephone exchange to give a hard wired connection point. Connecting there was an act of hope and of profound patience.

This morning’s treasures included:

  • Messages from coaches in Europe and Australia.
  • An exchange about mixed methods research and the place of qualitative observation.
  • An email from a friend in England about ‘tough love’ in open online course design.
  • News of the start of an open online course on Sports Performance Analysis.
  • News of Stephen Downes’ latest online course Connectivism and Learning.

This blog emerged from the impetus given to me by an open online course in 2008, Connectivism and Connective Knowledge. It started my engagement with Twitter too.

Back then Clyde Street Mongarlowe, was at the crossroads of the world now it is Elrington Street, Braidwood … or wherever I am with my phone.

I am delighted to be following a new connectivist course. I read Stephen’s OLDaily at the start of each day which sets me off on a journey that starts in Casselman, Ontario, via Braidwood, New South Wales and then on to wherever hyperlinks lead.

My ‘tough love’ email included this advice:

Learning on an interactive platform, as you should do in a lecture or tutorial, and certainly when writing an essay or sitting an exam, you ‘lean forward‘ – you engage the brain – the harder you are made to think, the greater the struggle, the more likely you have learned something lasting and of value on which you can build. (My emphasis)

Connectivist approaches to sharing and learning invite me to lean forward. I find it impossible to stop this movement.

So, it was delightful to discover the start of Jocelyn Mara and Leah Holroyd‘s Sport Performance Analysis 101 course this morning.

I am nervous when open online courses use the prefix Massive and transform OOCs into MOOCs. I am comfortable in a connectivist world to accept that small is beautiful.

This morning’s treasures at the crossroads of the world emphasise for me the personal essence of learning through connections. They reinforce that beautiful Joi Ito observation that “learning is what we do to ourselves”.

I trust you are having the same kind of experience at your crossroads.

Graduate Certificate in Sport Analytics at the University of Canberra

3b4d8237f7217c1737fa633774867e8cJocelyn Mara has created a Graduate Certificate in Sports Analytics at the University of Canberra.

The University website has this link to the course.

I am excited by this development. Jocelyn will add a distinctive voice and approach to the sharing of insights into the analysis of performance.

I was fortunate to meet her during her undergraduate study at the University and then watched with admiration as she completed an Honours’ project in performance analysis, became a performance analysis scholar at the Australian Institute of Sport and received her PhD.

In addition to her research interests, Jocelyn has also explored the possibilities of creating open educational resources.

With her permission I would like to share some news of the graduate certificate.

Jocelyn writes:

I will be encouraging a Bring Your Own Software approach to the course, as I will be using Open Source software such as RStudio and LongoMatch. Students will have access to Tableau. I will also be using Excel quite a lot throughout the course.

I preparing a MOOC to run on the Canvas Network which will be a 4-week taster of the entire Graduate Certificate (one week for each unit). This will commence in January 2017.

I am delighted with the open aspects of the course. Jocelyn is discussing how her approach might fit in with Roland Goecke‘s work at the University of Canberra to offer a Masters in Data Science with a Sport Analytics strand.

This is the content of the Graduate Certificate course in Sports Analytics:

Unit 1: Performance Analysis in Sport

1.1 Identifying Performance Indicators

1.2 Designing Observational Systems and Collecting Data

1.3 Data Analysis and Interpretation

1.4 Feedback and Communication


  • Collecting sports data
  • Analysing data
  • Visualising data
  • Online quiz
  • Match Analysis assessment

Unit 2: Athlete Monitoring

2.1 Player tracking

2.2 Monitoring athletes with self-report systems

2.3 Training load and injury

2.4 Performance testing


  • Analysing player tracking data
  • Analysing RPE and well-being data
  • Monitoring training load
  • Analysing performance testing data
  • Online quiz
  • Athlete monitoring assignment

Unit 3: Applied Data Analysis in Sport

3.1 Data management and transformation

3.2 Determining associations

3.3 Predicting outcomes

3.4 Determining differences

3.5 Data visualisation

Unit 4: Sport Informatics and Analytics

4.1 Introductions

4.2 Pattern recognition

4.3 Performance monitoring

4.4 Audiences and messages


Formative ePortfolio to document engagement with unit 4.

I am hopeful that many of the resources I have been aggregating and curating will be supportive of Jocelyn’s work, particularly with unit 4 and this WikiEducator resource.

I hope this course is of interest to the sport industry. One of my ideas is that we support people who are in sport by offering flexible and open learning opportunities. I acknowledge too that some people might like a fee-for service structured attention opportunity that aligns them closely with a university and provides blended learning experiences.

I think that Jocelyn’s work can articulate with other institutions and communities of practice as each of decides how we continue to learn.


@UC_RISE Football PhD Graduations


Yesterday evening (7 April), four PhDs were conferred in the University of Canberra’s Faculty of Health graduation ceremony.

All four were students in UCRISE. Three of the students, Jocelyn Mara, Adam Hewitt and Nehad Makhadmeh researched football performance. All three added to the research literature on women’s football.


Jocelyn thesis was titled The physical and physiological characteristics of elite female soccer players. (There is more information about Jocelyn’s work here.)

Adam Hewitt’s thesis was Performance analysis in soccer: applications of player tracking technology. (There is some information about Adam’s work here and his thesis here.)


Nehad was unable to attend the ceremony. She was back in her home city of Al ramtha in Jordan. Her thesis was Talent identification and development in women’s football: integrating Australian insights in Jordan. (There is more information about Nehad’s work here.)


One of my hopes for the Institute of Sport Studies (the predecessor of UCRISE) was that it would provide opportunities to address research in women’s sport. I was delighted that last night’s ceremony was able to support those hopes.

Two of the three PhDs were supervised by Dr Kate Pumpa and the Director of UCRISE, Professor Kevin Thompson.

The fourth PhD conferred was for Anthony Walker’s thesis Maximising the safety and performance of urban firefighters working in heat. Anthony was supervised by Dr Ben Rattray.