@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.

Nehad @UCRISE: a PhD Journey linking Al ramtha and Gungahlin

NM-1Nehad Makhadmeh is presenting her final PhD seminar to her colleagues in UCRISE at the University of Canberra today.

Her presentation will report on her four-year journey as a student in Canberra and Jordan at a time of tumultuous change in her home city of Al ramtha.

It is a story that shares her experiences of hot days in three Al ramtha schools and cold winter nights as a volunteer coach in Gungahlin, Canberra.

There is a copy of here presentation here.

Nehad is in the process of responding to the excellent advice given to her by her three external examiners.

Nehad and her family are returning to Al ramtha in November. Her home is a short distance from the Syrian border. During her research for her PhD, her city’s population has trebled through the influx of refugees. Nehad’s family, and her husband, Khaled’s family have opened their homes to refugee families and there are now five families living together.

Nehad and Professor Kevin Thompson, UCRISE.
Nehad and Professor Kevin Thompson, UCRISE.

#UCSIA15: Desire Paths, Stepping Stones and Tickets



I have been thinking about learning journeys this week, particularly my own. Perhaps it has been triggered by my colleagues in the Teaching and Learning Centre (TLC) at the University of Canberra who have introduced me to the retrospectroscope as an important part of a process of developing an ePortfolio.

I think it has been prompted too by my attempt to find an appropriate, invitational language to encourage interest and participation in the #UCSIA15 open online course that starts on 23 February and continues for four weeks.

These have led me to desire paths, stepping stones and tickets.

Desire Paths


The retrospectroscope took me back to my first post of 2014 that was prompted by a comment by Kate Bowles. She brought desire paths to my attention. Kate observes that the essence of a successful desire path

is that it represents shared decision-making between separate users who don’t formally cooperate. So a desire path is both a coherent expression of collective effort, and completely unplanned — in fact, it’s the opposite of planning. Simply, each one puts her or his foot where it feels most sensible, and the result is a useful informal path that’s sensitive to gradient, destination, weather, terrain, and built through unspoken collaboration among strangers.

I do think this is a great way to describe my hopes for #UCSIA15 … putting one’s feet “where it feels most sensible”. This seems a good approach to stepping stones.

Stepping Stones


Whilst exploring TRU Writer yesterday, I came across A. Cheesy-Writer’s post about DS106. I do think DS106 sets the standard for open courses and for the ways participants share their experiences of open learning.

I was very interested to learn about whether open courses present obstacles to participation or provide stepping stones.

We at DS106 however, choose to see challenges as stepping-stones – opportunities that we have encountered along the way for us to use, to “step on” so that we can achieve more, develop further and ultimately actualize more of our goals!

Along with my TLC colleagues Jennifer Smith and Georgina Barden, I have been wondering if part of the invitation to the stepping stones in #UCSIA15 might be tickets that indicate the choices participants have in the open course.


It is quite difficult to avoid cliches when discussing sport. However, Jennifer, Georgina and I do think there is some merit in contemplating tickets for #UCSIA15.

We thought there might be at least four options:

General Admission for those who would like to be guided in the course


Self-directed learning


Participants who would like to pursue a specific interest


Those who would like to go beyond hello and who will support and facilitate other participants’ learning


We have the added bonus that if participants would like to change their tickets when they arrive at the course, we will have a globally connected staff of stewards to help in relocating aspirations and expectations.

All the tickets are the same price … free admission.

Photo Credits

In the Mendips (Matthew Benton, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The parsnip field home (Steve, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Walking on Water (Will Bakker, CC BY-SA 2.0)