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Three Learning Center Courses Address New Content Areas

By Cody Porter on October 06, 2021 hst Print

Amid the shift away from a challenging academic year, the NFHS Learning Center used summer 2021 to develop and launch three landmark courses, including ones on esports, Title IX and play-by-play announcing.

With the addition of the three free courses, the Learning Center now boasts more than 85 courses in its online catalog – 60 of which are free.

“With the recent release of courses on esports, Title IX and play-by-play announcing, the NFHS Learning Center continued the expansion of its online course library to more constituents within the interscholastic community,” said Dan Schuster, NFHS director of educational services. “Other than some introductory information about Title IX within the NFHS flagship course, “Fundamentals of Coaching,” these are new content areas for the Learning Center. The goal continues to be for the NFHS to provide professional development opportunities for everyone involved in interscholastic programs.”

“Introduction to Esports” was the first of the three new courses made available by the Learning Center, launching June 14. With the unique activity continuing to rise in popularity among high school students, the NFHS determined now was the time to provide an educational course on the competitive landscape of organized gaming.

The “Introduction to Esports” course was developed by the Learning Center in partnership with Butler University (Indianapolis, Indiana) and PlayVS to define esports more clearly, and to offer several key examples of esports’ social benefits, inclusiveness, organizational structure and competition.

“These programs are oftentimes misunderstood, and the course provides education on what you need to know and do to get started,” Schuster said. “Esports provides opportunities for students who may not have ever participated in other school programs, and this allows them to be a part of a team with their classmates.”

Whether it’s one of multiple activities a student is involved in or their first ever, esports caters to the widest possible range of students. Anyone who can use a computer can be an esports athlete. Through esports participation, students build bonds with fellow teammates over a shared passion; no matter the social group, they ultimately become part of a shared community.

The “Introduction to Esports” course is centered around five primary sections. Individuals interesting in taking it can learn about more about the background of competitive gaming, how their school can start an esports program and its benefits. Schools and students alike are afforded the advantages of specific esports skill development, in addition to increased social benefits, opportunities and inclusiveness. Also addressed are considerations and common misconceptions associated with esports.

A little more than a week after addressing esports, the Learning Center released another course to educate current and future coaches, administrators, parents and student-athletes on Title IX legislation and its monumental influence on high school activities. The launch coincided with the NFHS #TitleIXat50 campaign, which highlights the law’s impact through its 50th anniversary on June 23, 2022. The campaign aims to celebrate the inspirational individuals and landmark moments in the history of Title IX, while continuing to grow the educational and competitive opportunities for the future.

Title IX was passed on June 23, 1972, in an effort to outlaw discrimination on the basis of sex within any federally funded educational program or activity and has since served as the flagship legislation for the growth of high school girls athletic programs. Over the course of 49 years, Title IX compliance has generated a dramatic rise in female participation, increasing yearly numbers from less than 300,000 girls nationwide in 1971-72 to the present- day total of more than 3.4 million.

“Title IX has now been around for 49 years; however, the NFHS Learning Center developed this resource to educate the interscholastic community about the federal legislation in a visual and understandable way,” Schuster said. “We look forward to providing this free resource across the country.”

The Learning Center’s “Title IX” course is built to help interscholastic professionals understand the history and impact of Title IX, as well as the responsibilities held by schools and staff members to maintain an equitable balance between boys and girls programs.

The course’s first section is devoted to the two key components of Title IX compliance for middle schools and high schools – “Effective Accommodations of Athletics Interests and Abilities” (also known as The Three-Prong Test) and “Equivalence of Other Athletic Benefits and Opportunities” (also known as The Laundry List). In addition to simplifying complex language and dissecting the various layers of each component, these sections walk through exactly what schools must accomplish – and avoid – to meet compliance requirements. Ensuing chapters tackle how to properly incorporate gifts from booster clubs and the distinct role of a Title IX coordinator, who must be appointed in every school in the United States that receives federal financial assistance.

The Learning Center targeted a new audience with the August release of its latest course, “Play-by-Play Announcing.”

Considered a key aspect of live-game broadcasting, play-byplay announcers provide vital insight to a sport’s moment-by-moment action in addition to the developing stories from behind the scenes.

As part of the “Play-by-Play Announcing” course, information is provided on how to professionally prepare for a game and how to successfully work with an analyst or reporter. The course also covers the proper use of tone and inflection, and essential tips to utilize while conducting play-by-play during a live broadcast.

“This is the very first online course to be provide by the Learning Center as a valuable resource specifically for play-by-play announcers,” Schuster said. “Professional development opportunities such as these are part of our continued committed effort to assist members of the interscholastic community and beyond so that they can enrich the experience of the young people we serve.”

To learn more about these three courses, as well as others offered by the NFHS Learning Center, visit NFHSLearn.com.