In recognition of National Distance Learning Week, we reached out to some of our online faculty to get their thoughts on what it’s like to stay engaged with students all over the country and even worldwide. Hear from Dr. Matthew Condie, adjunct faculty in the sport and performance psychology and clinical mental health counseling programs.
I am honored to be part of a unique, diverse, and highly-skilled team in the clinical mental health counseling (CMHC) and sport and performance psychology (SPP) programs of both students and faculty. I hold a master’s in clinical psychology in Australia and a Doctorate of Education in Sport and Performance Psychology through UWS. I was fortunate enough to be invited back to be part of the teaching team and currently teach Communication in Leadership Positions, Positive Leadership in Sport, and Psychology of Performance Excellence courses at UWS.
I see my mission in education to explore and challenge the status quo regarding human performance, functioning, and coping through the lens of reflective practice, innovation, change, and lifelong learning. My passion is to promote the integration of inclusion, well-being and mental health to support athletes and leaders to achieve balance, resilience and performance excellence with authentic purpose, meaning and absorption.
As an alumnus of UWS, I can attest to the holistic, evidence-based and inclusive learning online environment. Having engaged in traditional face-to-face education historically, the online learning environment presents different learning challenges, yet an abundance of insights and opportunities. Online learning is becoming more common, with one in six students now choosing to engage in online learning. This flexibility and mobility allows me to travel anywhere in the world while connecting in to support, engage and hopefully inspire reflection and skill development to our onboarding sport and performance psychology consultants.
I was asked what my favorite part is about being an online instructor at UWS. For me, there are several. I am thankful to have the opportunity to offer my skills, knowledge and experience from the other side of the world in Australia, offering a cross-cultural context regarding the socio-cultural impacts of leadership in sport. I find this to be a unique characteristic of the online UWS program. Second, I am honored to encourage, empower, equip and enable students in an area fuel my passion, purpose and meaning. Sometimes I will facilitate classes when it is 3 a.m. Australian time. The fact that I can foster meaningful and robust conversations with the team I am supporting who are starting their day, who can then take that energy to motivate and influence others (who I will unlikely ever meet), makes the waking in the middle of the night totally worth it! Finally, I am thankful that while being half a world away, I feel a sense of community and belong with the student cohort and faculty as if we were all on campus.
If you are considering joining the UWS online journey to optimize the performance of individuals in the area of sport and performance, here are a few tips and tricks.
- Consider the long game: Give yourself the opportunity to map out your study commitments in the context of your other roles and duties. You will be taking on an additional role and it is important that you balance it to ensure you last the journey with energy and giving your full effort. We want to support your growth and push you outside your comfort zone. We also don’t want you burning out before you get to the start line in the profession.
- Connect with your peers outside of courses: You will come across an amazing bunch of humans with some great experiences. Take the opportunity to connect with these like-minded individuals outside of class. Have an e-coffee over a video call to build strength and support as if you were on campus in person.
- Know your learning style: Online learning requires a different type of self-directed learning. Know your learning style, including how you best learn and/or barriers in absorbing the contents and achieving your best.
I look forward to sharing the experience and journey with you in the online classroom. Let’s train the mind to think and bring out the best in ourselves and in others.
“Who questions much, shall learn much, and retain much.” – Francis Bacon