Creating an Online Quiz

Hey everyone!

We are getting close to the end of the semester, which means my learning project is coming to a close soon!

I am so thankful for my #edtc300 class and the fact that we were able to pick a passion project. If I was not forced to work on this project every week for this class, then it would have been pushed to the side for a very long time. Instead, I will be able to launch my own course in the new year!

This week, I utilized TalentLMS‘s quiz feature to add the knowledge check for the end of the relationships module. I am not able to add anything else into TalentLMS yet because I am waiting for the voice over, and so I figured that I could get a head start and add in this little quiz!

The photo above shows all of the options to add to a course. When I am ready to add my presentation I will use the “Presentation” feature, but for this knowledge check I used the “Test” feature.

TalentLMS is very easy to navigate and has a ton of options for every feature. On the test feature, you can add multiple choice, fill in the blank, ordering, drag and drop, free text, and more. For this knowledge check, I used all multiple choice!

Inside the test feature! Here you can edit questions, add questions, and change some of the details.

I quite like that TalentLMS allows the instructor to provide feedback or a rationale for all of the answers. This helps participants to understand why that is the correct answer.

What is looks when creating a multiple choice question.

Because this is just a simple knowledge check, I only chose 6 questions. Quite honestly, many people will be able to pass this check without even taking the course, but it simply reinforces some of the important ideas throughout the module.

What the test looks like as a student!

I am really looking forward to exploring more features on TalentLMS and finally uploading the rest of the relationships module! It is slowly but surely coming along, and I am SO excited to have it launch next year.

Thanks for reading,

x Paige Hamann

A Fitting Post

Hey everyone!

I hope you had a calm and relaxing reading week.

I am writing to you from my third day of isolation in my tiny bedroom! I do not have my test results back, but I was a close contact to someone who tested positive for Covid-19. So, I am stuck in my small bedroom for the time being.

But let me tell you, it is HARD to find the motivation to do any of my work when I am in my bed all day. My room is too small for a desk, and so my bed has become my entire life for the last three days.

However, I suppose I have accomplished some work (make sure you emphasize some).

For my learning project this week, I found an individual to VoiceOver the relationships module, and I created the knowledge check!

The individual we found to VoiceOver the relationships module was a secondary educator and athlete for the University of Regina. With experience as a coach, athlete, and educator, we thought he would be a great fit to be involved with out course! We reached out to him over Instagram and have been in contact via email. We are still working out the logistics, but we are super excited to have him involved!

As I said earlier, I also created the knowledge check for the module. I want to make sure that there is some sort of assessment after each module to ensure the participants are paying attention. Even if the questions are rather straightforward, they reiterate the main messages of the module so that if participants don’t focus during the presentation, then they still take something away from the knowledge check! The questions I chose for the knowledge check relate to the learning objectives. The LMS I chose has the option to add assessments within each unit, so I am going to take advantage of that feature!

This was a boring post, but it seems fitting since my whole life is boring in my bedroom right now.

Thanks for reading!

x Paige

The Meat and Potatoes

Hey everybody!

Thanks for checking out my eighth learning project post! I am really excited to show you what I have been working on this week. 

Last week, I created the content for the first module and created templates for the presentation. We are finally getting to the meat and potatoes and I am so excited! It is really starting to come together and I am really excited about the positive feedback I have received. 

This week, I worked on the presentation! I finished the slideshow portion of this presentation, but there is still a lot more to be done. I would like the entire presentation to be voiced over, and at some points I think it would be beneficial to have the speaker on the screen. I have not quite started on those pieces yet, so that will be my task for next week! Additionally, I need to create knowledge checks to guide the participants and ensure they are actively listening. As of right now, I would like the knowledge checks to appear at the end of each module. 

Anyway, when I was completing the slideshow, I wanted to make sure there were minimal words on the screen. The participants should not be reading the slides, they should be listening to the speaker! That being said, I would like to make sure that there is an option for subtitles because I know that some individuals need or prefer them. I also utilized the animation function to have my text appear on the screen at different times. This way, participants will not be distracted by the points that are yet to come, but will be forced to listen to the point at hand. 

To document this portion of my learning project, I wanted to create a time lapse! I have never created one before, so I was not quite sure how to start. I looked for a free online tool that would record my screen and automatically convert it to a time lapse, but I could not find anything. After a quick google search, I realized that if I simply recorded my screen, I could upload those videos into iMovie to create the timelapse. So, I used Screencastify to record my screen and then attempted to import the videos to iMovie. 

Screencastify automatically saves recordings to a folder on google drive, and so I downloaded all of my files from there. I have never truly used iMovie, and so I did not know which type of files could be imported. It turns out that the files saved from google were not compatible with iMovie, and so I tried to use multiple websites to convert them to .mp4. That seemed to be taking forever and I could not seem to get it right, so I went back to Screencastify instead of google to see if there was something else I could do. It turns out, Screencastify has the option to export as an .mp4 and so I just used that!

After finally uploading my files to iMovie, I found an article that helped me to adjust the speed on the videos. I followed that and increased the speed of the videos by 2000% because that seemed to be fast enough. From there, iMovie had an option to export directly to YouTube. That was super handy and made the export process much easier. 

Ultimately, I was very confused by iMovie. But like everything, there was a quick tutorial for me to follow which helped immensely!

I am really excited to continue working on this module and I can’t wait to see how it all comes together!

Thanks for reading!

x Paige Hamann

Better Late Than Never

Hey all you cool cats and kittens!

I think I might have seen one too many Carol Baskin costumes this past week, but that’s okay!

Welcome to my 7th learning project post: the one that is almost a week late. This post is very late, but stuff happens and I am learning to be okay with that. Because I posted late, I was able to have more than just my content notes (and those are really boring), so I guess that is a bonus!  The two weeks before reading week are always loaded with due dates, and so I am not going to beat myself up over this… so on we go!

I am finally ready and able to start creating content for module 1 of my course! It is starting to feel like this course is real and that I can really make a difference in the athletic world. 

I started to build my content on Google Docs, because I use it for everything. To begin, I looked over my research a few times to familiarize myself with everything I wanted to incorporate. From there, I picked three major topics: Connecting as humans, deeping the connection, and connecting in the coaching role. After picking the three major topics, I integrated the subtopics. For instance, in the connecting as humans topic, we will cover showing genuine interest in your athletes, listening to your athletes, and respecting your athletes.

My draft of content for module 1.

After choosing the topics and subtopics, I started to write. I wanted to keep everything short and sweet to keep people engaged, and the language simple so that it is not confusing at all. I also made sure to include examples of what coaches can do so there is something for the participants to take away. 

After finishing my first draft of content, I started to share it with people to get some feedback! I shared it with four individuals who have been competitive athletes as well as coaches. I also shared it with my counsellor, who is a psychotherapist and on the nonprofit’s board of directors. I wanted to have multiple sets of eyes go over the content to ensure it captured multiple perspectives and was effective. Knowing that a professional mental health worker, athletes, and coaches all think that this is amazing makes me feel so proud. Of course they provided a few tweaks and suggestions, which I am so thankful for. But all in all, module one is really starting to come together!

After I finished the content and had it approved, I wanted to start making the presentation! Now this is the reason that this post was late this week. I thought it would be incredibly boring if all I had to show for is another google doc. So, I kept working long past the due date. TalentLMS (the LMS that I will be using), has an option to upload PowerPoint presentations and convert them into a video that plays automatically so that participants do not have to keep pressing next. My vision for this module is to have my powerpoint play as a video, but with a voiceover. I would also like for the speaker to potentially be on the screen at some points, but that part I can figure out later on. 

I knew that I wanted the presentation to be aesthetically pleasing, but also clean and simple. I use Canva quite often for school projects and social media posts, and I noticed they have presentation templates, so I decided to use one of those! While putting my presentation together on Canva, I realized that I did not want to have all of my text on the screen at once, but rather have certain points staggered and appear on the screen when it was time to talk about them. This way, participants are not distracted by what is yet to come and they are forced to pay more attention to the content at hand. So, I made the foundation of the slides on Canva, and then decided to move them over to Google Slides to continue working on the final presentation. I saved all of the slides on Canva as .PNG files, and then uploaded them as images on google slides! I like that Canva automatically saves your work so that you can go in to change things later on. I am sure that I will be doing this at some point, but that is absolutely okay with me. 

My templates in Google Slides!

As of right now, I have the templates from Canva waiting for me in Google Slides so that I can start importing information and adding final touches. That is what I will be doing this week!

For the video in this blog post, I used Loom. Loom is another screencasting video tool, similar to Screencastify, which I used in the past. Loom can be added as a chrome extension, which makes it super easy to find. I found it really easy to navigate and use, but I did not go into too much depth. The video itself was super easy to export, as there was a download button right as you finished filming. However, as an avid google user, I appreciate that Screencastify saves their videos to google drive instead. I will definitely have to play around with Loom a bit more before I decide which one I like better!

Thanks for reading my very late post! 

x Paige Hamann

The Talented TalentLMS

Hey everyone! 

I am super excited to share my findings with you this week. 

Last week, I explored different learning management systems. TalentLMS is the online training platform that I am going to use to host my course. I chose to delve into TalentLMS because the website did a wonderful job of explaining the system and its features, and other LMS websites failed to do so. I honestly did not have the time to schedule a phone call with every LMS host that I was interested in, and so I saved time and jumped right into TalentLMS. 

The opening page on TalentLMS after logging in the second time. I really liked the option to take a sample course.

Right away, I registered for a free account on TalentLMS. All that was needed was an email address and a password! From there, you are to create a domain (which is free because it still uses .talentlms.com at the end). For instance, since my organization is called Inside the Box: A Mental Health Initiative, the domain is insidethebox.talentlms.com!

After signing up for an account, there are tutorial videos that walk you through the system and its different features. In fact, it has a course that demonstrates how to build a course. I loved this because it helped me to understand how the courses function as a student, but also as an instructor. 

The video I used to customize my account!

I watched this video which taught me how to customize the site a tad. I was able to add our logo, a short description, and change the header colour. For now, I added our slogan as the description: “Because it should not be outside the box to talk about Mental Health”. I chose a dark blue for our header colour because our colour palette so far has been sticking to blues and greens. We can easily change these features at any time. 

The Gamification options on TalentLMS

An aspect of TalentLMS that I found super cool is the gamification. Essentially, learners receive points for different tasks, which acts as an incentive! Administrators are able to determine how many points are awarded for specific tasks. Additionally, there are badges that can be earned for certain things including assignments, tests, and certifications. Students are able to cash in their points or badges for discounts on courses! The discounts and amount of points or badges needed is determined by administrators. 

TalentLMS has multiple payment plans and options. The cost varies due to the number of users and number of courses. As the price increases, so does the amount of features and support. Throughout the creation of this course I will stick with the free version, but as time goes on we will likely upgrade to a pain version!

The payment options on TalentLMS

I really appreciate the options that are available to upload content. This is a list of the different formats you can use to create content in TalentLMS:

  • Simple content 
  • Web content — embed content from external URLs in two clicks
  • Video — embed YouTube videos or simply upload your own directly to the platform
  • Audio — upload an audio file or record a new one without even leaving your TalentLMS account
  • Presentation — choose between uploading a presentation file or embedding from SlideShare
  • SCORM / Tin Can / cmi5 — add more interactivity to your courses by choosing among these three eLearning standards
  • ILT — Use instructor-led training and webinars to stay in touch with your learners even  if they are a million miles away
  • Flash object — of course, we support Flash, too!
  • iFrame — copy and paste any URL and depending on what you want, it’ll either show as embedded or as a pop-up.

TalentLMS will even convert PowerPoint slides and PDF documents into a video so that learners don’t have to keep pressing continue. 

If you are interested in any of the TalentLMS tutorials you can find them here!

I am really excited to start creating and uploading content. 

Thanks for tuning in!

x Paige Hamann

Doing More with Smore!

Hello everyone! 

My new pal Cruz!

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and took some time for yourself. My Thanksgiving weekend was kind of amazing because my parents surprised us with a puppy! We now have an 8 week old mini Labradoodle and a 1 year old mini Aussiedoodle. To say it is a little hectic in my house right now is an understatement.

For this week’s blog post, we were challenged to try a new tool. I looked at the list of tools on our course weekly plans and decided to update you on my learning project through a newsletter! I think that this tool could be super handy for my non-profit or sending updates to parents. Creating a newsletter is also a great alternative to writing an essay and gives students a different opportunity to demonstrate their learning. 

SAMR is a technology integration model that helps us evaluate the use of technology and if it is enhancing or transforming the learning experiences of students. It stands for substitution, augmentation, modification, and redefinition. 

“File:The SAMR Model.jpg” by Lefflerd is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

At the substitution level, technology acts as a direct substitution with no functional change. An everyday example would be typing notes instead of using pen and paper. A e-newsletter like this could be substituted for a paper newsletter to parents informing them of school events. 

At the augmentation level, technology still acts as a substitution, but there is some functionality added. For instance, students could begin an online journal where others could comment. Augmentation could be demonstrated with creating an e-newsletter as Students could create and easily share them with one another to study from. 

At the modification level, technology begins to transform the learning experience and allow for task redesign.  A general example is using google docs to collaborate with classmates or even another class. An e-newsletter could act as a portfolio to show a student’s work, and could be sent to numerous friends and family members so that it could be shared with numerous people instead of just the people at home. 

At the redefinition level, the learning experience is transformed into something previously inconceivable. For example, students could attend a virtual field trip. An e-newsletter like this could allow this level of technology integration if it was used to create some social change or awareness in the community by being shared on social media or the news. Additionally, students could create a voiceover and share the newsletter with sound for those who are visually impaired or have a difficult time reading. 

I used Smore to create my newsletter because it was suggested on the tool list I chose from. It is very user friendly and easy to navigate. The free version of Smore limits the user to creating only 3 newsletters, but there is a discount for educators if you want to upgrade and use the website actively. 

The template options on Smore.

When you first begin to create your newsletter, you can create one from scratch or use a template. There are templates available for the following categories: Weekly Update, Class, Event, Business, For Sale, and Other. I chose the class template! From there, you can begin to add your text. The pre-made text boxes make it super easy to add your own content. Similar to our WordPress blogs, you can add different blocks for texts, pictures, events, etc. This way you can choose how you want to display your content. 

Creating my newsletter on Smore! The drop down list on the right are the possible theme options.

The customization on Smore is fairly limited, which I believe makes it more user friendly. I also think the lack of customization is perfect for classroom use, as students will be forced to focus on the content rather than endless customizations. When customizing your newsletter, you must choose a theme. Out of the six possible themes available, I used “vintage”. You can also choose your background, colours, and fonts from a limited selection. 

After adding content and designing the newsletter, it is time to export! There are more options for exporting if you are a paid user. For instance, only paid users can download their newsletters in pdf format. As a free user, you are able to email the newsletter, copy the link, and copy an embed code. Because I wanted to display my newsletter on this post, I decided to use the embed code. This is where I struggled. 

Smore has a feature that easily lets you copy the url or code, so I used that. Once I had the embed code, I was a little unsure of what to do since I have really only embedded links before. I tried to use both the “code” and “embed” widgets, but that was not working. I asked my classmates but they were not sure either, so I resorted to Google. It took me a while to find what I was looking for. I found a ton of articles that really just confused me more, and the first four videos I watched were from old versions of WordPress. But then I found this video and it was like the angels started singing. All I had to do was use the “Custom HTML” widget… who knew?! Once I pasted the code into that widget, I was good to go! I mean look at how gorgeous my newsletter is sitting up there. 

Before this week, I really had zero clue what a LMS was. All I really knew is that I would need some sort of online platform to host this course. Now I atleast have a basic knowledge of what a LMS is and some of the differences between them. I started to look at a few LMS online to figure out which one to use. I looked at Canvas, but I had to set up a phone call to get more information so I don’t have much of an opinion yet. I also looked at TalentLMS which I really liked. It seems to be very user friendly and have a ton of different features. I think I am going to set up a free account to see if it is something I will be able to use in the future. 

Thanks for reading!

x Paige Hamann

The one where I make a video and gain an even larger appreciation for e-learning teachers.

Welcome to my fourth learning project post: the one where I make a video and gain an even larger appreciation for e-learning teachers. 

But seriously! Not only is filming yourself speak so incredibly difficult and frustrating, but having to watch yourself back on film? Definitely not my cup of tea… but I have to get comfortable being uncomfortable (and you can totally tell I am uncomfortable when watching my video). 

This week, I started to actively look at the sources I collected and I began to gather information. I created a new document for research on each of the main topics so that it would be easier to navigate when starting to create content for each module or segment. For example, I currently have research documents for building relationships, as well as communication and engagement. 

Because I want this course to be effective, I know that I cannot rush it. Instead of trying to complete all of the topics at once and risk them being mediocre, I have decided to focus on two topics more thoroughly. This means that I will only be creating half the course throughout the duration of this project. I was still follow my outline as normal, I will just have to go back and add after the fact. 

The next step in my outline after researching is creating the learning objectives for the course! Essentially, I have to decide what it is exactly that I want participants to take away and be able to do upon completion. This is really difficult for me as I have never had to do anything like this before. I found a pdf that has a structure and list of verbs for creating objectives. I really appreciated the verb bank and I referred to it with every objective I created. The learning objectives that I created are in no way finalized. I will likely add or remove as time goes on, as well as reword, revise, and rethink to ensure that the most important material is included. As I start to create content, I will send my learning objectives to various people to see if they are reasonable and apt. Perhaps some of my EDTC300 classmates will be able to help me with this!

This past week, I started the Respect in Sport online course. It is a fairly long course, and because I am very busy I have not had the chance to finish it yet. However, I have a fairly good idea of how the course functions. I really like that the modules are broken down into segments, and that the amount of time it takes to complete each segment is visible. This way, if I only have 30 minutes before my next class, I know that I have enough time to complete the 7 minute segment. I feel that it helps me to manage my time more effectively. I appreciate that there is an outline for each segment as it helps me keep focused. Something that I do struggle with a bit is the presentation. The segments that I have completed so far have been a slideshow with a voice over. This makes me feel very disconnected and does not keep my attention. I would prefer a balance of a visual presentation,like a slideshow, and a video of the person speaking to me. I think that this feeling of connectedness would help me stay engaged with the content. 

Lastly, I would like to talk about actually creating my video. I used one of the chrome extensions we discussed in class called Screencastify. It was incredibly easy to download and use! I absolutely love that the video is ready to go as soon as you stop recording, and the fact that it automatically uploads to Google Drive is a gamechanger. I swear that exporting and uploading files can sometimes be the hardest part, but this extension has it all covered! I can definitely learn a bit more about the tools that you can use on the screen, but if I am being honest that was not quite a priority for me this video. My priority was making it through filming without crying. I was going to say yelling, but I did that multiple times out of frustration. I was not frustrated by the program by any means… I was frustrated with myself! I would be on a roll and then just completely blank and stare at the screen, so I had to restart numerous times. Or I would really stumble on a sentence and I would have to refilm it! I do not even want to know how many times I attempted to film this simple five minute long video. It really is not perfect, but at least I did it! Watching the video of myself after was just excruciating (maybe I am a little dramatic). I mean I don’t think there are a ton of people who like listening to their voices on recording. All in all, I started to familiarize myself with a tool that I will likely use again in the future, so really I call that a win. HUGE shoutout to all of the e-learning teachers right now who have had to tackle this! I hope it hasn’t caused you as much anxiety as it did for me. 

Thanks for tuning in to this week’s post! 

x Paige Hamann

Coaching Coaches: The Behind the Scenes Work

Hey! Welcome back. 

As a little recap, I am creating an online mental health course for coaches. Athletics often cause excessive stress and anxiety, and helping coaches to understand and prevent this will hopefully have a positive effect on the mental health of athletes!

Throughout the last few weeks, I created and analyzed a survey to understand what it is that athletes are struggling with, and from there I decided the main topics for the course. This past week, I started to research the topics in order to create learning objectives and content!

To organize my research, I created categories based on the main topics I decided for the course. I am currently organizing my research in a Google Doc because it is what I am most familiar and comfortable with. In my document, I have created the following headings: building relationships, communication and encouragement, body image, post-competition, multi-sport athletes, and miscellaneous. By creating these headings, I am able to navigate the portion of the course I would like to focus on. 

Because the research needed for this course will be quite extensive, I have only started to collect article titles and sources that seem relevant to the topics. I have been using the Google search engine to look for articles regarding the main topics. Once Google provides me with a list of websites, I quickly look at those whose titles seem applicable. After quickly scanning and skimming the text, I decide if it will be useful. If it is not useful, I simply return to looking for more sources. If it does seem pertinent, I copy the title and url to the appropriate heading in my Google Doc!

After I gather a few more sources, I will begin to dive into the articles and find quotations and information to use in the course. I need to ensure that I have the proper research backing this course because mental health is incredibly fragile. I will continue to collect more information, but I will also start to analyze it in the coming days as well. 

An aspect that I did not include in my outline is participating in courses that have already been created. Before starting this project, I completed the Mental Health Awareness for Sport and Physical Activity online course from UK Coaching in preparation for creating my own course. I really did not take anything away from this course, and felt the information was too general and is already accessible to most people. Even though I did not learn anything specific to the topic, I learned about what I want to see in my own course and how I would like to communicate it. I decided that I am going to look for other courses similar to the one I am creating in order to improve my own!

This is definitely not the most exciting learning project and I don’t have much to show for it right now, but I am really hoping it will make a difference! Maybe some of you can help to test the course before it launches!

Thanks for tuning in!

x Paige Hamann

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly in Athletics.

Hey everyone!

Thanks for tuning back into my learning project. I hope you had a fantastic week.

Last week, I introduced the course I am creating and explained a little bit about why I decided that it was necessary. You can check out that post here!

This week, I decided to analyze the answers from the survey and decide on the major course topics. If I am being quite honest with you, reading the survey results is not easy for me. It reminds me of the time I spent struggling, and it makes me think of how many other people are struggling too. I know that it is not something to become hung up on because we are working to make a difference in this area, but it still absolutely breaks my heart. I guess that’s what happens when you’re an empath!

But, let’s dive right in to the results from the survey! I shared this survey on Instagram, but it is not yet closed because I would like to allow others to share their experiences as well. However, there have been 93 responses thus far. Out of the 93 responses, 82.8% said that the sport they played had a negative impact on their mental health. 79.6% of responses said that coaches specifically had a negative impact on their mental health. This is incredibly alarming to me, and likely to you as well. It is clear that there is a serious issue in the athletic community, but it appears as if there is little being done to change that. That is why I chose to actively address this topic. That 82.8% of responses should not exist. 

The survey also listed the following statements, and asked people to select the aspects that had a negative impact on their mental health. The numbers following the statement indicate the number of people (out of 93) and total percentage of responses that agreed the statement negatively affected their mental health. 

  • Pressure put on yourself. 86  92.5%
  • Pressure from parents. 39 41.0%
  • Pressure from teammates. 42 45.2%
  • Pressure from coaches 70. 75.3%
  • Injury. 48 51.6%
  • Language used by coaches. 33 35.5%
  • Language used by teammates. 25 26.9%
  • Stress from a busy schedule. 73 78.5%
  • Wanting to quit the sport. 51 54.8%
  • Negative self-talk. 69 74.2%
  • Lack of encouragement. 62 66.7%

Additionally, the survey asked to explain why the participant’s mental health was affected by the previous statements they chose. Here are a few snippets of their responses. 

  • “The coaches would make me feel attacked with the terminology they used”
  • “The coach frequently made comments about weight… and told me she thought I would’ve been skinnier coming back from a 6 week liquid diet after surgery”
  • “Sometimes it’s so hard to keep pushing yourself when you’re not getting results and all you have is negative feedback”
  • “Having coaches personally target me with angry language made me feel really incapable”
  • “Even after a win the only thing I’d hear from coaches and parents were critiques, and even though I think it’s helpful, the way it was communicated made me feel like I was doing everything wrong”
  • “I felt like I always was needed to perform and couldn’t have a bad day. There wasn’t time for me to struggle and be down and feel emotions during practice or game”

We also asked the participants what they wanted future coaches to know, and what we can do differently to ensure that athletics have a positive impact on the mental health of athletes? Here are some of their answers. 

  • “Just because somebody needs to hear harsher words as motivation in a game or competition doesn’t mean they don’t need encouragement and softer language once it’s over”
  • “Make sure there is an equal balance of tough love as well as reassurance”
  • “Training and competition is not the only place stress comes from”
  • “Get to know your players and realize that one style of coaching doesn’t fit everyone”
  • “Coaches should learn about positive body image and ways to promote it with their team, as well as promoting healthy habits surrounding the athletes’ bodies”
  • “Have regular conversations with your athletes, get to know them personally, recognize when they are ready to be pushed and when they need a break”
  • “Talking to a player individually after a game or during half-time and speaking kindly to them or showing that you care can go a long way”
  • “Always check in on your players, even the ones who seem happy”

Lastly, the survey asked the participants what had a positive impact on their mental health. Here are some of the responses. 

  • “Coaches that make a point of caring about you as a person”
  • “Having team bonding exercises where we talked about mental health & got vulnerable with each other”
  • “Conversations with other high level athletes who have had other mental health struggles like mine”
  • “One time, my team was going through a losing streak, we had lost 4 games in a row and were in a rut. We were all feeling so much pressure, and in turn were playing stressed and poorly. Recognizing this, my coach cancelled one of our practices leading up to the next game, and replaced it with yoga and a team dinner. This really helped us to get back on track and in the next game, we beat the number 2 team in my city. We played so much better and were so much looser and had way more fun! Our coach recognized that our team mental health was affecting our play and helped us through it”
  • “I once had a talk with a coach who had struggled with mental health. In hearing her story, I was able to understand where she was coming from and also put to words some of the struggles I had been facing”

Ultimately, the survey responses reiterated a few major ideas. 1) Athletes want to be cared about as human beings. 2) Athletes want to be encouraged. 3) Athletes want to  be respected. 4) Athletes want and need communication. 

  1. Athletes want to be cared about as human beings. From my own personal experiences, chatting with others, and the survey responses, it has become clear to me that athletes want to be seen as more than just an athlete. They want to make real life connections, and they want their coaches to care about their lives outside of the sport. 
  2. Athletes want to be encouraged. Athletes tend to fixate on their own mistakes for longer than needed. This means that they do not need their coaches to continually focus on them as well. Instead, athletes need to be given constructive criticism and encouragement so that they are able to move forward instead of dwelling on their past mistake. 
  3. Athletes want to be respected. Athletes want their emotions, bodies, and skills to be respected. They want their coaches to acknowledge their emotions and allow them to feel that way. They don’t want to be forced into unhealthy habits or be ridiculed into having a body that the coach thinks is ideal. They want coaches to know that people will be at different skill levels but that each player has a specific role. 
  4. Athletes want and need communication. Communication varies person to person and that needs to be addressed. Coaches need to acknowledge how their players like to communicate so that safe space is there when they need to confide or share. 

I think that these four ideas will be the main topics in the course. From here, I will begin researching the major topics to create content. I definitely think that creating the content will be the most difficult part of this project. Things might change along the way, but I am expecting that! 

Thanks for reading!

Until next time, 

x Paige Hamann

Coaching Coaches: Mental Health Edition

I grew up as an elite athlete. I started playing basketball in grade one, and I excelled right from the get go. In grade five, I joined a track club where I quickly became successful. No matter the sport I played, I would thrive. In 2012, I qualified for the North American Championship in Hershey, PA, where I placed seventh in the 800m. I played on multiple provincial basketball teams, and started on my high school’s Senior basketball team as a freshman. 

In grade ten, I suffered through the peak of my severe anxiety and depression. I had suffered with mental illness since approximately seventh grade, however it worsened more than I ever could have imagined. On May 15th 2017, things took a turn for the worse. A teammate of mine from my U15  Sask season committed suicide. Tori’s death completely changed my life, and I miss her every single day. After Tori’s passing, I fell into an even deeper depression. On July 26th, while on a U16 basketball trip in Langley, I almost took my own life. Thankfully, I reached out for help at the last second. 

The Youth Caring Award 2019

Since then, my life has changed completely and I am grateful to wake up everyday. I have taken control of my own mental health, and taken initiative in my community. I organized Mikans for Mental Health, which raised over $5000 for Family Service Regina in 2018. I have spoken at multiple I Got Mind events, and the Sask Advocate “Now in My Day” conference. In September of 2019, I was honoured to receive the Youth Caring Award from The Caring Place. In March 2020, I raised $3000 through my little photography business and the Porch Project. The funds I received from the Youth Caring Award and the Porch Project have been donated to Inside the Box: A Mental Health Initiative. 

WOOF. Now, to the important stuff! Inside the Box: A Mental Health Initiative is a non-profit organization that I started in July! Inside the Box aims to promote mental health and well-being in athletics through awareness, conversation, education, and reflection. We have an amazing executive team and board of directors. I decided to start this organization because of my own negative experiences with mental health and sport, and I know of many others who had similar experiences. I also realized that suicide is greatly affecting young  athletes in my community. I recognized this, and decided to try and make a change in the athletic community. 

One of the logos for Inside the Box

We decided that we wanted to create a course for coaches due to our own experiences as an executive team. Coaches are typically major role models, and whether they know it or not, have an unbelievable impact on their athletes’ mental health. This can be a positive or negative impact. We want this course to help coaches be a positive force in their athletes’ lives, while minimizing the negative impacts they might have. 

In order to move forward on this project, I knew that I would have to create an outline. But, I asked myself “How the heck do I make an outline for this?”. So… guess what my first step was? Researching outlines for the creation of an online course. Yep, that’s right. I researched an outline to help me make an outline. That just seems so silly to me, but I now in fact have an outline for this project! So here it is:

  • Research outlines for creating online courses. Here are some of the sources I used: Learn Worlds, Thinkific, and Foundr
  • Create my learning project outline
  • Create a survey to send to athletes. This will help us determine what to put in the course!
  • Decide on a course topic
  • Research the subject and speak to professionals 
  • Plan the course outline 
  • Write learning goals and objectives
  • Choose eLearning platform
  • Create course content
  • Upload to platform
  • Test launch and gather feedback
  • Launch and market

I created this survey for any athletes to fill out. We will not be using it for research purposes so I was not worried about technicalities. This survey will just help us determine what athletes are struggling with so we can add to our course!

This project is a HUGE task! I have to ensure that all information I include is accurate and relevant, and will not end up harming the mental health of athletes to come. I will be communicating with professionals quite regularly, so I am not worried at all. There is a possibility that this project will not be entirely completed by the end of this course, but that is okay!

I am so excited for the opportunity to work on a passion of mine in a University class. I hope you enjoy this journey!

x Paige Hamann