Portals and portkeys

I sat in on a presentation yesterday.

My colleague Scott Nichols , Director of Student Connect at the University of Canberra, shared progress on a new student portal that aims to provide a single point of entry that supports choice of course, enrollment, studying, graduation and on-going alumna/alumnus connection.

The portal will respond dynamically to each student log in and provides an exciting approach to supporting personal learning journeys. I hope this access can be available for the lifetime of the learner.

Scott’s presentation was shared in confidence so I am unable to provide the detail of a platform that will be launched in 2019.

I was fascinated by Scott’s talk and I focused on the personal potential of the platform. It will provide a data rich environment, that with students’ informed consent, could lead to a profoundly ethical resource to support personal learning journeys and personal learning environments.

I believe that the impact of such a portal could be amplified if we are able to appreciate the success of the national Vocational Education Training’s Unique Student Identifier (USI) registration scheme.

At present, six million students who are taking or have taken nationally recognised training opportunities have a USI. This is a reference number that:

  • creates a secure online record of recognised training and qualifications gained in Australia, from all training providers
  • gives access to training records and transcripts
  • is accessed online, anytime and anywhere
  • is free and easy to create
  • stays with you for life

These ten numbers become a portkey in my vision for innovations at the University of Canberra. The USI transcript service that became available in May 2017 underscores this portkey potential.

With the appropriate checks and balances in place, the USI connects school, tertiary and lifelong learning in a wonderfully transparent way.

The announcement of the USI transcript service included these observations:

  • Training participants and graduates can view, download or print their USI Transcript and share it electronically with future training providers if they wish.
  • It will help training participants and graduates when enrolling in further training or applying for jobs as well as support Australian businesses to get a better understanding of their employees’ level of training.
  • The service will enable the Federal Government and policy makers to get a clearer picture of the skills pathways that Australians pursue, and importantly, the ones that work.

In this context, the University of Canberra portal becomes part of a nationwide and global learning network. It has portkey potential (“an enchanted object that when touched will transport the one or ones who touch it to anywhere on the globe decided on by the enchanter).

Connecting Courses as Pathways


We are trying to find a range of learning pathways in performance analysis and analytics at the University of Canberra.

I have written about our open courses and shared news of Jocelyn Mara’s Graduate Certificate in Sports Analytics.

Roland Goecke is working on a Masters in Data Science. It is two-year full-time course. At present the draft framework is:

Semester 1

  • Introduction to Statistics
  • Introduction to R
  • Pattern Recognition
  • Basic Data Visualisation

(If students wish they can exit here with a Graduate Certificate in Data Science.)

Semester 2

  • Data wrangling
  • Data Recording
  • Python
  • Advanced Statistics or Software Computing or Advanced Data Visualisation

(If students wish they can exit here with a Graduate Diploma in Data Science.)

Semester 3

  • Research Methods
  • Research Project Planning
  • Domain Specialisation (Health, Finance, Sport)

Semester 4

  • Capstone
  • Research Project

Successful completion of the four semesters leads to an award of Masters in Data Science (with a domain specialisation such as Sport).

I am hopeful that all these pathways can offer microlearning opportunities too.

For example, the OERu course in Sport Informatics and Analytics has a topic on R:

  • The whole page is here.
  • There is fourteen-page list of R resources here to support the page.

OERu design protocols enable pages to be broken down into smaller components (sub-pages) suitable for microlearning opportunities. So for R this looks like:

I see these microlearning opportunities as discrete as well as cumulative. They can fit into no certification, Open Badge, Certificate, Diploma and Masters pathways.


I am looking forward to discussing with Roland and Jocelyn how our varying pathways might converge and diverge to give students on campus and on line the optimum opportunity to engage in self-directed analysis and analytics.

I am hopeful that my friends around the world might see opportunities to connect their pathways as open learning and fee-for-service possibilities. We could a most attractive map to offer … and negotiate.

Photo Credits

Crossroads (Eric Fischer, CC BY 2.0)

ACTION Leyland National – dashboard (ArchivesACT, CC BY-NC 2.0)

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.