Paul’s PhD

Paul Perkins has completed his response to three external examiners’ comments on his PhD. The title of his thesis is Can a modified, low-risk form of boxing achieve significant communiity uptake? (Link)

The final version of his thesis is availble on Issuu, a platform that “gives anyone with digitally bound content the ability to upload and distribute their publications worldwide” (link).

Paul’s Overview

Boxing has long been surrounded by debate. It has been subject to criticism on medical, legal, ethical and sociological grounds. Conversely, supporters argue that it is an excellent sport for physical fitness development, embodies egalitarianism, builds character, offers hope to depressed population sectors, has inherent aesthetic qualities and provides a cathartic outlet for emotions that otherwise could lead to anti-social activities. Recent years have seen small- scale emergence of modified versions of boxing aimed at retaining positive aspects of the sport but eliminating negative aspects. The research reported in this thesis was directed at determining whether such a version could attract substantial community uptake.

I was fascinated by the approach Paul took to this project. I see it as a great example of a qualitative action research project informed by some profound quantitative and technological issues. I am looking forward to the next step in this process and the arrival of Dr. Perkins.

A Community-Focused Modified Boxing Program

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Paul Perkins is involved in an exciting initiative.

Paul and Allan Hahn have been successful in securing funding to introduce a Community-Focused Modified Boxing Program in twenty schools in Uttarakhand, India in 2017.

The project aims to use an adapted form of boxing (ModBox) to:

  • provide health and fitness outcomes
  • develop life skills for participants
  • raise awareness of environmental issues
  • increase opportunities for female participation in sport

ModBox has been designed to be a low-risk form of boxing. It takes place in encouraging and supportive environments led by sensitive, appreciative coaching and teaching. Emphasis is placed on athlete enjoyment and safety. Participants wear impact-absorbing gloves. There is no contact with a co-participant’s head or neck.

ModBox has five core values:

  • Safety
  • Continuous learning
  • Fair play
  • Inclusiveness
  • Respectfulness

The program aims “to provide space and time for young people to enjoy the benefits of regular exercise and to use informal learning through sport to teach important life skills”.

The course of study can be found here.

Photo Credit

Bridge over Alakananda (Runa Bhattacharjee, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

About Paul and the ModBox Program

Paul Perkins is a PhD Scholar at the University of Canberra Research Institute for Sport and Exercise (UCRISE) and the Participation Manager at Boxing Australia. Allan Hahn has provided support and guidance with the development of this program. The ModBox program is being supported by the Australian Government, Boxing Australia and SEDA India will be supplemented by contributions from an Australian company, VTara Energy Group Pty Ltd, the University of Canberra, and the NungshiTashi Foundation. The program is funded through a partnership with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade as part of an upcoming aid initiative.

Open for Learning: Supporting Coach Education and Development

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Introduction

I was hoping to attend the Sport Leadership sportif Conference in Calgary in November.

I was looking forward to presenting a paper with David Legg and Stephen Price. The title of the paper is Open for Learning: Supporting Coach Development Online. Our aim was to combine insights from Australia and Canada to discuss open access to coach education and development resources.

I was very keen to link open learning opportunities with the insights and practices of Canadian connectivist thinkers and practitioners.

I am disappointed that I am unable to go to Calgary.

I have posted my part of the presentation as a SlideCast. I use experience of a Small Open Online Course (SOOC) to introduce Box’Tag as the focus for the paper.

Given the time constraints on an oral presentation, I thought I would provide some background information here as part of the story behind the story.

The story itself is: two remarkable people decide to offer an open, online coach education and development opportunity. They use the OpenLearning platform to host the course.

Mentor, Driver, Steward

I mention Allan Hahn in the presentation.

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I was not sure how to talk about Allan’s role in the course. His wisdom, gentility and guiding hand were omnipresent. Allan is an exemplary mentor and has developed a very close working relationship over a number of years with Paul Perkins, the driver of the course.

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Allan and Paul are passionate about Box’Tag. They welcomed participants to the course in this video.

Whenever I meet Allan and Paul, I am struck by their energy and excitement. Anything seems possible. I admire immensely their work at the Erindale PCYC and their connections with their communities.

I see this mentor/driver relationship as the key to the success of the course. There is a profound Socratic element at play in this relationship. It has been fascinating observing Paul transform his coaching as a result of his mentee experiences.

As the technology steward for the course and had a very privileged opportunity to watch Allan and Paul at work.

OpenLearning and Accredible

We were very fortunate to use the OpenLearning platform for the course. In the SlideCast, I note the role Adam Brimo played in helping us realise our ambitions for the SOOC. Open access needs champions and advocates. I feel very fortunate to have met Adam. I think the functionality offered by OpenLearning was invitational and easy to use.

Technology did not get in the way of the course.

Whilst acting as a steward on the course, I found Accredible. I admire their work in documenting learning journeys. I see this as a remarkable opportunity to develop e-portfolios to share. Jenny Kim writes:

What we realized was that we’re far more interested in documenting educational journeys from their beginning rather than signaling their ends. Instead of a certificate, we needed a symbol of openness, possibility, potential. This is where “slate” came from; a “blank slate,” from the Latin tabula rasa, is meant to be filled with new ideas and experiences.

Paul has developed his own Accredible slate as a result of his SOOC experiences. You can find it here.

Shortly after I completed the SlideCast I shared it with Paul. By coincidence one of the participants in the course, Sabrina, was asking me to endorse her participation in the course to share with her college. This is Sabrina’s Accredible slate.

As part of her work experience, Sabrina, spent some time at the PCYC and at the end of the week made a presentation of her experiences to Allan Hahn.

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I was very pleased to receive a Vocaroo message from Sabrina and Paul. We have used Vocaroo and Audioboo on the SOOC to share messages with these free online recorders.

Their message (included here with their permission):

My reply:

The Kicker?

In sharing this story behind a story, I hope I have given a feel for the richness of being involved in open learning.

There are three Ps involved in this back story: Passion, People, Platforms.

My aim, in presenting this story in Calgary, is to affirm that by sharing openly and fallibly our learning journeys, we can transform coach education and development.

Photo Credit

Calgary, Alberta (Reg Natarajan, CC BY 2.0)