Clyde Street

Learning, Teaching, Performing


Open By Design


My involvement with the small open online course (SOOC) Observing and Analysing Performance in Sport has encouraged me to think a great deal about facilitating open access and supporting disparate learning expectations.

I saw the SOOC as a modest approach to the educational issues raised by cMOOCs.

There is a growing (daily) discussion of the structure of massive open online courses (MOOCs). Yesterday I linked to posts by Alan Levine and Ryan Stacey. Today I was interested to read Dave Cormier’s post Why I think open courses should be about content creation.

In the post Dave observes:

There are many good reasons for creating content when we are learning. It provides an excellent method of personal curation of ideas, of being able to keep track of your work. It allows for others (beyond an educator) to be able to see and respond to your work. For some it provides encouragement to work a little harder, to polish a little more. It could also provide an excellent opportunity to explore other skills around publishing in numerous formats. These are all quite nice… but not what I’m on about at all.

When all participants create content, you have the potential for multiplicity. You can have a discussion from multiple viewpoints, from different contexts, from different life experiences. When different contextual beliefs are combined with difference in ability, race, gender, culture, race etc… a myriad of possibilities and viewpoints can come to the fore. When the course is opened up to the world, your chance for this increases manyfold.

I think there are language issues in there too.

An alert to Inge Druckrey’s Teaching to See film encouraged me to think about the aesthetic and design possibilities for Dave’s multiplicity (note Dave’s comment on this post about Deleuze and Guattari’s work). I was delighted to learn that Edward Tufte was the Executive Producer of the film.

Once again a combination of disparate elements freely available has taken me off to think about re-presentation. Dave’s conclusion helped me to do this:

We have the capacity to connect with each other, to share experience and perspectives and to learn both from and in spite of each other. I’m certainly not suggesting that we should live in some fantastical utopia where everyone’s opinions should be shared and equally valued. Quite the contrary. One of the most difficult thing about learning with shared content is the vast amount of crap you need to sift through. Just like life.

Photo Credit

Frame grab from Teaching to See (3 minutes 20 seconds)

Leave a comment

Looking Back: A 1992 Take on Notational Analysis

In the Autumn of 1992, I was invited to write an article for the Sports Council of Wales’ In Touch magazine for coaches. I had been at Cardiff College for just under a year and had established a Centre for Notational Analysis there with the help of Peter Treadwell, Dave Cobner, Sean Power and Jeff Young. I had started my work with the Welsh Rugby Union as a notational analyst.

The article was titled The Use of Notational Analysis in Sport Performance. I reproduce it here to coincide with the start of week four of the small open online course, Observing and Analysing Performance in Sport.

Coaches use a variety of methods to remember and recall the fleeting moments of sport performance. Video is a particularly effective way of recording events for subsequent analysis and reflection. Some coaches are also making use of what is termed ‘notational analysis’ to extend their knowledge of performance.

Notational analysts seek to:

  • Accurately observe performance
  • Collate and analyse observations
  • Facilitate recall of observed performance


The aim of such analysis is to support coaches. In pre-video and computer days, notational analysis relied on pen and paper methods to record events. Some coaches used cine film to provide a visual record of performance. More recently notational analysis has made use of video and computer technology although pen and paper are still used.

Today, all sports are amenable to notational analysis. The notating of performance can take place at the same time as the performance or after the event by making use of a video recording. Information produced in these ways can provide quantitative and qualitative feedback for coaches during, after or some considerable time after performance.

Notational analysis can be either an academic exercise or applied sports science in support of coaching. The former enables an ‘objective’ look at a sport and provides some baseline measurement of what occurs in that sport. The latter is usually undertaken in collaboration with coaches who identify what is to be analysed. It is no less objective than academic investigation but has the advantage of being focused by a coach’s perceived needs.

Notational analysis can be presented in written or visual form. Coaches can use the information to feedback to performers and to evaluate their own effectiveness. It is important to stress that such analysis is carried out in a creative and supportive manner.

Some coaches are blessed with excellent recall but the evidence from research into eyewitness testimony suggests that most of us experience memory decay after an event. Notational analysis can help fill in some of the forgotten elements. Like video, it is a tool for the coach to use.

The exciting challenge for notational analysis is to describe an activity or sport accurately. The next step is to model performance using the quantitative and qualitative information available. With sufficient data and experience it then becomes possible to start to predict performance. The ultimate goal is perhaps to transform performance.

Notational analysis can effectively map the terrain of all sports but it is essential that the guides remain the coaches. Without the insight and intuition of good coaches, any map is less than helpful.

Photo Credit

The National Stadium, Cardiff

Leave a comment

#OAPS101: Enhancing Performance


(Vocaroo Summary of this post)

I have really enjoyed Week 1 of the small open online course Observing and Analysing Performance in Sport.

There have been some fascinating exchanges particularly about Seeing and Observing and Decision Making.

The numbers of participants enrolled in the course has increased this week. Shortly before the course started we had 155 and now it is 374. This means it is still a small open online course. I have discussed the approach taken in the course in a number of Clyde Street posts and in this Day 1 post on OpenLearning.

I have been keen to offer Open Badges for the course.

Conversations in the first week have prompted me to think about:

  • Feedforward
  • Performances of Understanding
  • Personal Learning Environments


Will Oldham’s post Analysts as Educators acted as a catalyst for my thoughts. In a post that synthesises a variety of ideas, Will concludes that:

We must take be confident enough in our skills and abilities that we are able to provide assurance to those who require it that we can add value to established coaching setups and processes, that we’re not in the business of coaching revolutions, but simply the development of athletes and coaches.

I commented on his post and suggest that the value we add is as educational technologists. I should have added that wherever possible bring an interdisciplinary understanding to performance. I think this requires a sensitivity to a narrative of performance that is customised to athletes and coaches.

My three big issues for the first week:


What if performance analysts decide to share the world as it might be?

I think feedfoward gives us the opportunity to do this. In Peter Dowrick’s wordssubjects see themselves not so much as they were but as they might be“.

Performances of Understanding

Last year I wrote about Sam Stosur’s victory in the US Open Tennis. In that post I noted that “I am fascinated by the process by which athletes prepare to perform. I am fascinated too by the realisation of the readiness to perform in actual performance”. My ideas about performances of understanding help me think about this readiness.

A decade ago I followed a Harvard University course online, Teaching for Understanding Using New Technologies. In that course performances of understanding were important indicators. Such performances:

… require students to go beyond the information given to create something new by reshaping, expanding, extrapolating from, applying, and building on what they already know. The best performances of understanding help students both develop demonstrate their understanding.

Personal Learning Environments

I am hopeful that many of the participants in the Observing and Analysing Performance in Sport course will write about their experiences as performance analysts or their interests in performance analysis. There is so much experience to share.

I am keen to find out about personal learning environments. My participation in the CCK08 course opened my eyes to the benefits of sharing openly. I have written about personal learning environments since that course. I see personalisation as one of the ways to offer a service to athletes and coaches.

Into Week 2

I am looking forward to Week 2 of #OAPS101. I am hopeful that this post might stimulate discussion that goes beyond the content of the course and helps address some second order questions about performance analysis.

Photo Credit

I received the photograph in this blog post from a friend. I have been unable to find a source for it. I am keen to learn whether it is a Creative Commons Licensed image.

Leave a comment

Visiting Bloemfontein and Soweto: 1995 Rugby World Cup

We are moving house next week and I have been going through some of my old VHS tapes.

To my great delight I found a copy of a visit I made to two townships during the 1995 Rugby World Cup.

My interest in sport in South Africa was kindled by research for an undergraduate research project at the University of York in 1973 supervised by Adrian Leftwich. I became involved in the anti-apartheid movement and met Sam Ramsamy. I hoped to go to coach in South Africa in 1977 but was not able to do so. I was involved in Sam’s United Nations work in 1978 and attended meetings with Peter Hain.

1995 was my first opportunity to visit South Africa, twenty-two years after I had worked my way through the papers of the Capricorn African Society and corresponded with Dennis Brutus. I travelled to South Africa as a member of the management team of the Welsh Rugby Union.

We were based in Bloemfontein and Johannesburg. During our stays there we had the opportunity to run coaching clinics. I was fortunate to go as a videographer. My aim was to film every participant in the clinics.

I did produce a video for each coaching clinic. I used an SVHS camera and the copy I discovered was a second generation copy on VHS.

The first is from Bloemfontein and as you watch it you might have in your head the Circle of Life music from the Lion King.

From the day we arrive on the planet
And blinking, step into the sun
There’s more to see than can ever be seen
More to do than can ever be done
There’s far too much to take in here
More to find than can ever be found …

The second is from an unforgettable day in Soweto. I arrived there eighteen years after my first attempt to do so. For this video you might want to add your own mental sound track from Enya’s Storms in Africa:

How far is it from?
The beginning of the storm
The start to the end

I still find these images indescribable. I felt immensely privileged to be there for these coaching clinics and took away with me a sense of play that had everything to do with personal flourishing and very little to do with facilities.

I am really pleased I found them.

Photo Credit

Sunrise in South Africa

Leave a comment

#OAPS101 Goes Live 5 November: Starting Out

I am posting this blog post on OpenLearning today to welcome participants in the #OAPS101 course, Observing and Analysing Performance.

The course goes live later this morning.

I think we have a remarkable month ahead of us.

Starting Out


Today is the first day of our small open online course, Observing and Analysing Performance in Sport.


Thank you for enrolling on the course and being part of an open approach to sharing ideas and practices.

This is going to be a wonderful learning journey for me and I hope for you too.

I have been writing about the ideas that underpin the SOOC in my Clyde Street blog. For the duration of this course I am going to use the OpenLearning blog facility as my primary blog. This way I hope to share updates and summaries with you directly.

I have posted a video welcome here. There is a written welcome here too. … and an audio welcome (using Vocaroo). Video, text and audio will be important characteristics of this course.

The Course

The characteristics of this course are:

  • It is free.
  • It is open.
  • It is self-paced.
  • It is non-linear.
  • It is an introduction to observation and analysis.
  • It shares content from a number of authors.
  • It offers open badges to acknowledge your involvement and engagement in the course.
  • Content is shared under a CC BY 3.0 license unless otherwise indicated (see for example the licenses of the three images used in this post).
  • It will flourish with discussion and sharing.
  • It will change throughout the course.
  • It will remain on the public internet as a resource for discovery and sharing.

This Week: Week 1

We recommend that you:

Look at the Connecting and Sharing resources in the About the Course Module.

Spend some time finding your way around the OpenLearning platform (including the Need Help? page) for this course.

How about …

Visiting the Getting Started Activity.

Looking at the Introduction: Connecting and Sharing.

Then checking out Connectivism.

We realise that this is a personal learning journey for all of us. One of my hopes is that we share these journeys through the open sharing of our personal learning environments. You might find the Personal Learning Environments resource of interest


This course has five modules. All five of them are available today. Other content will be added subsequently and we will let you know about any changes to content.

Our idea is for you to follow your interests.

We have set aside a month to share and discuss ideas.

I am hoping to monitor discussions and deal with any requests for clarification. Please let me know if I can be of help.

To make this a 24 hour a day experience, Darrell Cobner and his colleagues at Cardiff Met will monitor the course whilst Australia sleeps.

We do see enormous opportunities for conversations and exchange. We do not have any formal webinars planned and we are not using Universal Time stamps for our work.

We realise that what we are offering is fallible and that it is constructed by all of us.

We hope you are going to enjoy the course and I am keen to learn if I can be of any service to you as you work your way through the course. I am just an email away either through OpenLearning or at this email address.

The Whisperings Within The Course

It is fascinating to find other locations where the approaches used in the course are explored.

For example, Uberveillance‘s Ethos statement is:

This website provides the general public, the community and those afforded free and unconditional access to the world wide web, access to information regarding the concept and understandings of Uberveillance. This website provides invited Authors an opportunity to directly contribute to the development of the website whilst maintaining an open dialogue with the general public.

Uberveillance’s objective is to provide open comment that is:

  • relevant to the topic – is not selling nor spamming
  • conversational – pictures and addresses the audience
  • coherent – maintains consistency
  • respectful – provides reading enjoyment, challenge and value
  • generative – builds trust and connection


The spirit of this  #OAPS101 course is invitational, voluntary and supportive. It aims to build trust and connections through participation. It seeks to do so through public sharing.

Photo Credits

Dawn Platform (Isuru Senevi, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The Road Ahead is Shrouded in Mist (Joysaphine, CC By-NC 2.0)

Share @Mehanata Bulgarian Bar, NYC (o.blaat, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)


Engaging Attention

I flew to Melbourne on Friday to attend the Australian Sports Technologies Network Conference.

On my way down to Melbourne the Qantas safety video used Australian Test Cricketers to share safety messages.

On the return trip the messages were presented by Australian Olympians and Paralympians.

I thought the videos were very effective and they prompted me to think about the use of trigger videos to engage attention and offer learning opportunities. I do think short video segments are excellent ways to engage an audience.

Air New Zealand have provided a great example of how this can be done. Their recent safety video (5 million views on YouTube) is structured around Hobbit characters.

Perhaps I have enjoyed these films because I do attend to each safety demonstration on every flight I take. But I do think there are some very interesting pedagogical issues at play here.

What if a passenger’s responsibility for each flight is flipped and that each of us views a safety briefing before we get to the airport? Given the cast of the Air New Zealand flight there could be subtle changes in the storyboard of characters to give almost infinite variations in safety briefings.

Even better … what if passengers created their own safety briefing to come prepared to fly and owned the responsibility for a narrative of safety.