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A quick recap of another great session from USU!



We can learn about our students by looking at data. We can improve our students' experiences by acting on that data.



As always, USU is doing amazing work and is very generous in sharing their processes and findings. With the help of an on-staff data scientist and a vendor, Canvas data from four courses was turned into beautiful, understandable visualizations. The data focused primarily on how students chose to navigate through their courses. We were able to see both an aggregate view and an individualized view of each student's path. The main takeaways are that 1) the initial visit to the course is exploratory and 2) assignments drive navigation thereafter. Knowing that a large percentage of students skip the home page in favor of navigating directly toward their To-Do list, we can made some conclusions about what should and shouldn't live on the home page. Some materials (the syllabus) weren't prioritized in initial course visits, indicating we should consider more prominent directives. Again, mobile data isn't factored in and we haven't heard feedback from students. The inclusion of these two points will lend more insight, but we're able to deduce quite a bit with what exists in the data now.



We're making great strides in understanding the relationship between analytics and course design. There's still a lot of work to be done, and we'll need data scientists to help. What I'm hearing from everyone at this year's conference is that we want Canvas to help us get clean and pertinent data. I'm guessing we'll see more than one feature request on the topic in the community.



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Here's a brief recap of the session:



Abi Evans from the University of Washington walked us through how sorting out Canvas data can help us amend course design.



Canvas data was turned into a series of nice visualizations that helped make the data more digestible. Of course, with the exclusion of mobile data we're not getting a full picture. Still, there was enough good information to draw interesting conclusions about how students are making use of their courses. We looked at the design of three courses, one rated poorly, one moderate, and one good. The ratings were determined based on the amount of clicks in each course. In this case, it was believed that fewer was better as it indicated students were quickly finding what they needed. Too many clicks indicates students may be getting lost and confused in the course. These ratings are turned into a visual for the instructors, and delivered with a series of suggestions for improving course design.



Really great work, met with lots of eagerness from the crowd. We all want meaningful analytics! Once the project is rolled out more broadly, it will be interesting to see how instructors respond.



Kona Jones

Dear Campers...

Posted by Kona Jones Champion Jul 21, 2016
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Dear Campers, when I went to camp not only did I send letters home, but my parents also sent me letters! My  Mom would actually send them before I even left for camp just to make sure I got my first letter during the first couple of days! Most of the time this first letter was just a reminder to make sure to enjoy the camp experience and try to get everything I could out of it! Even though you're now closing in on the end of your Camp Canvas time, it's still important to think about what you should be taking home with you from this experience (and no I don't mean the extra suitcase worth of amazing swag!).


I think the biggest thing is the enthusiasm you've hopefully been infused with after being surrounded by so many amazing people. People really are the best part of InstructureCon and hopefully you are flying high on the positive "I can change the world" vibes that come out of attending this conference. Don't let life drag you back down! Hold onto that positive spirit and do what you can to keep it going!


One of the best ways to keep the enthusiasm going is to share it with others! When you get back to your Institution share what you've learned with the people at your Institution and let your excitement show! Infuse this information into your career and use it to up your game! It doesn't matter if you're an Admin, Instructional Designer, or Instructor, use what you've learned to improve on what you're doing!


And last, don't forget all the friends you made at Camp! The best way to keep in touch with those you met (or heard speak and want to talk more with) and keep the enthusiasm and sharing going is to be active in the Canvas Community! The Community is a great place to keep the comradery of Camp alive because you can continue to share what you're doing with other like minded people and get to see what new and cool things other people are coming up with. It's kind of like the online version of camp... minus the awe inspiring scenery, yummy food, excellent entertainment, and swag .


I hope all of you have had a kumbayawesome time, make the most of your last evening at camp, and I hope to see you all next year!




Kona Jones

Mitch Macfarlane Keynote

Posted by Kona Jones Champion Jul 21, 2016
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I was able to watch Mitch Macfarlane's Keynote from the comfort of my office and I have to admit it made taking notes, following the twitter stream, and doing a few other things much easier! Below are my notes from the session!




Mind the Gap - Mind the gap for the future!


Themes Mitch hears from most of the Institutions he visits:

  • All Institutions are unique in their needs
  • Institutions want a *partner,* not a vendor
  • Future proofing; want an LMS that grows with their Institution



TL;DR - Do more stuff better and faster.


Foundation Principles

  • Open
  • User Friendly
  • Accessible - One size fits one! Love this idea! Insightful words!!
  • Modern



  • Quizzes 2 - Adding new question types! Scalable! Better access to quiz data analytics!
  • Offline content - Make content accessible to people who don't always have online access.
  • Master Courses - Ability for Institutions to manage their content.
  • Outcomes - Outcomes everywhere; Make it easier to create and use outcomes, become more granular; Create better and more enhanced outcome data/results - for Institutions, faculty, and students.



Mitch is a personable guy and did a pretty good job explaining why Canvas is doing some of the things they are doing (minding the gap) and how these things fit into the overall theme of doing more stuff better!


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The lake activities are great fun--just don't fall in.



The watercraft at the lake are kumbayawesome. I and Beth Mccoy took a nice paddle boat ride (with my un-camper husband). We circled the panda, took several "selfies," and played chicken with several geese and ducks. Some of our other campers went kayaking... They also had lots of fun until one fell in... Yes right in the freezing cold lake. Retaining as much pride as she could, Michelle Meazell swam to shore to get this great picture...




Wear lots of sunscreen, make sure to go by the panda, and don't fall in.



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Documenting the fun!



We have been trying to get the most out of our InstructureCon experience. Our college has been using Canvas for 1 year as of June 1, Now that we have the have the first year under our belt, we have been able to relax and enjoy the conference activities.


I would recommend that everyone get to experience InstructureCon! I can't wait until next year!



This is the view of the Keystone Lodge from the pond. We made use of the paddleboats to get a selfie with the Panda and take in the scenery. Will look forward to even more exploring!



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This was another packed session breaking all the fire codes. I was again on the floor...but this time, at an angle so precarious that I had no hope of seeing the slides. The speakers were also behind I didn't catch all of what was said. I also spilled my (kumbayawesome) blue water bottle while on the floor... I wasn't having the best of luck... But these great presenters provided a link to the slides! So I can now give that to you all, fellow campers--even if my notes would otherwise be umm lacking... Thanks rubric presenters! I then chose a session in the same room so I could get dibs on a chair


Link to the slides:




Kona Jones

Josh Coates Keynote

Posted by Kona Jones Champion Jul 21, 2016
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Even though I'm not able to attend InstructureCon in person this year, it was great to be able to watch the live stream of Josh Coates' opening Keynote. From my previous three InstructureCon experiences I know that Josh is always entertaining (Anyone remember Josh Coates Keynote Bingo from last year?) and yet makes some important and meaningful points. This year was definitely no exception!


Josh started with his normal (and funny) mental warm-ups (Instructure employees, does he do these in Instructure meetings?) and then dug right into the important stuff. I specifically appreciated his focus on being open and that while open is good there is also some responsibility tied to being open. It was pretty cool that he put up the names, pictures, and email addresses of some of the main Instructure leaders and said if you have a problem, contact us! Wow, how many companies want customers to even have the email addresses of people that high up on the food chain?! I also loved (since we were a WebCT school that moved to Angel - to get away from Bb - and then moved to Canvas - to get away from Bb) when he said one of his stipulations for coming on board with Instructure was that Canvas couldn't be sold to Bb and that one of their main tenants should be to pretty much do the opposite of what Bb does. Love the blunt honesty!!


And of course one of my favorite parts was when Josh talked about the Canvas Community. The Community is near and dear to my heart and it sure didn't hurt that I somehow managed to be included on the slide he posted about the Community!
Overall it was an entertaining and informative Keynote and I really appreciate that it was live streamed so those of us not in attendance could still virtually attend in real time!

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Similar to Jordan Dayton, I'm missing out on InstructureCon for baby reasons! Granted my little bundle of Jones joy hasn't arrived yet, but you can probably tell from the picture that the little one could come at any time! I've been trying to following along the best I can by watching the Keynote live feeds, following the Twitter feed, looking at the amazing pictures (is it really that beautiful??), and reading all the awesome blog posts! Thank you to everyone for helping me to feel a little bit better about missing out on the BEST CONFERENCE OF THE YEAR... !! Looking forward to watching video of the presentations and catching up with everyone next year!



Lydia Page

User Page View Data

Posted by Lydia Page Jul 21, 2016
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This session out of Miami University of Ohio took a look at user page view data across a series of courses.



The presenters detailed their process in collecting and attempting to analyze data pulled from user page view logs. The data was exported via a Python script into a .csv file. There's a lot of information and a lot of cleanup required to get the data to a usable place. Even then, it's really difficult to draw any meaningful conclusions. A huge red flag is the exclusion of mobile page views from the Canvas data. With all that in mind, it becomes difficult to make any changes to course design or delivery based on the data, because we're not sure exactly what the data is telling us.



The biggest takeaway is that we need reliable, verifiable, and meaningful data from Canvas. We're not there yet, but were on the right path and there a lot of people invested in finding this information.





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In a jam-packed room, the mobile team revealed details about the Canvas Parent, Canvas Teacher and the current Canvas (Student) Mobile Apps. Role-based apps will help everyone access the Canvas functions they use/need most.




Currently, Instructure has five different apps, but when evaluating the core app (Canvas Mobile), the team asked "how do we make mobile apps tha tare more helpful to more people?" That's a huge question since the answer is complicated. As Peyton Craighill explained the reality is: "Canvas is big; screens are small; people are different." Because of this, the current, beloved Canvas app will be divided into three apps to accommodate three very different role-centric experiences.


Canvas Parent (blue)

  • Multiple students can be observed, and it is simple to toggle between them.
  • Grades are the first thing seen when opening the app.
  • Week tab houses information about a student's to-dos, week-by-week.
  • Alerts can be customized by students for grade thresholds (higher than x / lower than x), missing assignments, and upcoming assignment due dates.
  • Parents will not be able to send messages directly to teachers from the app.


Canvas Teacher (yellow)

  • Week View will show an overall timeline, upcoming assignments, pre-created announcements, discussions.
  • Assignments appear similarly as students' app experience. Teachers can publish/unpublish, edit dates and points, and see details, questions ,and submissions. It will be possible to "message students who..." based on submission status as well.
  • Inbox was simplified. It's possible to reply, star, delete, and forward messages. For each message, the icon displays two images - one for the person who originated the message and one for the person who last replied.
  • Someday, the Canvas Teacher app may merge with the SpeedGrader app.


Canvas Student (red)

  • This app is constantly in development.
  • As it nears 6-million downloads, it's clear that this app is the biggest presence in the mobile apps.
  • One current project is increasing the support for quiz question types and adding other features to meet the needs of 1:1 schools.




Role based apps will soon come to the app store. These variations will allow users to match an app with their needs in order to create an optimal Canvas Mobile experience.



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Rick Salisbury from Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management introduced us to a tool called WalkMe which allows users to set up guided actions in any web-based system- including Canvas!



At my school, I always run into someone who feels that they must have 'just in time' training as opposed to any typed of standard, scheduled training. I'm sure that we all have that person (or even several of them!).  For most of us, this 'just in time' training involves sitting on the phone or video conferencing session coaching the person through muting grades in their grade book.  I have actually gotten to the point where I have brief videos for almost any scenario that we run into at our school. But what if they system could do that sort of thing for you... and what if it taught the person to do these tasks on their own by having them work through the steps.  Well, this is possible with WalkMe. As Rick explained to the attendees, WalkMe is an extension for the Firefox browser that allows its users (sorry, it is a paid subscription) to set up various times in which users would need guided help to complete a standard task (like muting those grades). While the extension is currently Firefox based, the playback is available in any browser, so you are not limited by this. Currently, Kellogg only uses this for Faculty and Staff based on their current needs, but Rick explained that it could be used for any type of user, and in fact, any type of web-based system- so if you're trying to make a financial argument for it, just know that if you have an online help desk, this could guide users through accessing the knowledge base, resetting passwords, and SO much more!



This was a great session, that I am so glad I attended. I love the idea of making guided help available to our users, and this actually helps answer a question I received from our learning center just last week.  They wanted to know if we had any way of helping students understand how to submit the various types of assignments. Currently, all I have is a video, but this is much more interactive and by putting the user into the driver's seat, they should have a better chance at learning how to complete the task.  Something else that was also good about this presentation is that Rick pointed out that while this tool may be pricey for some, there are alternatives which he also evaluated.  By providing that information, this type of 'just in time' training may be more available to everyone.



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ARC Video is a new platform currently in closed beta being tested by 10 institutions providing commenting on videos represented by various blue dots on the timeline.




Videos are added via the Rich Content Editor within Canvas.  It is represented by a green icon.  This will allow you to embed video. 


You have the option of uploading your own media or selecting one that's already in the Arc library.


Once the video is embed, students are able to view the video and add in comments. 


Other viewers viewing will see the comments popup on the lower right corner of the video. 



A list of comments is also available by selecting the "Comments" tab below the video.  This lists all the comments in the video along with a timecode.  You are able to click on the timecode which will bring your video to that time. Multiple comments at the same timecode will stack on each other.


One of the other tabs is named "Highlights."  This allows you to view analytics on the video.  This is only viewable in discussions, not with assignments.


If your video content is being provided by a different service, will help you migrate with their migration team.




Arc video platform seems pretty promising since it's developed by Instructure.  As they are still in beta there are still features still being planned.  Some questions to think about:

  • Will the popups conflict with closed captioning?
  • How will popups be handled if there are hundreds of comments at the same timecode?
  • Will students have the ability to delete their own video in the future?
  • How is privacy of videos handled if submitted in a class page?
  • How will the platform work on the Canvas mobile app?



  • At Utah State University each project team has:
    • 2 instructional designers
    • 1 programmer
    • 1 subject expert
    • 1 media specialist
  • They use USU Design Tools LTI and Kaltura Media Integration
  • They used Canvalytics – learning path data (also sent 4 surveys throughout course)
  • Moved a face-to-face course to an online course
    • 500 students and 4 TAs (TAs assigned block of students to grade)
    • Utilized self-directed learning model and Assisted Freedom of Choice by Radenski (dropped lowest score in gradebook)
    • Students select homework with some guidance by instructor
      • For example, in Creative Arts there were 4 modules (Arts, Drama, Film, Music) - each open 4 weeks – within each module there were choices like modern art, water art, etc.  Students could choose area they wanted to complete assignments within
      • The first week, students watch an intro video
      • Within modules, students completed discussions, quizzes, and essays (students tend to complete discussions within each module first)
      • Asked students, which are the most important factors when selecting a topic to study – their order of importance was:
        1. Topic of interest
        2. Prior knowledge
        3. Length of lecture
        4. Random choice
        • Asked students, what challenges/barriers do you encounter with this type of assignment structure?
          1. Time management, procrastination
          2. Assignment difficulty/length
        • Changes for future:
          1. Need to provide additional due date structure (by this point in the course, should have this many assignments completed)
  • Asked by audience to share course in Commons – presenters said they’d do this, but some things are specific to their school
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A significant portion of students will be using Canvas on a mobile device whether you like it or not--so be prepared for it and take advantage of its benefits.




There were a crazy amount of people in this session…almost literally no square of floor left…breaking all sorts of fire codes…but I are my notes taken from my spot on the floor, right under the projector.


The Canvas mobile App:

  • 6 million downloads
  • 840K daily users
  • 2 million monthly users

U of CF has 26 mobile users a month; 9K day; approx. 20% of traffic is in the app

     Most people on their campus that didn’t use the app didn’t know it existed


Students indicated that these are the most important features of the app:

  • Grades
  • Assignments
  • To-do items
  • Announcements
  • Content
  • Inbox


How do students access Canvas?

  • 98% use it with a computer
  • 35% uses it with a phone as much or more than a computer


Device importance to students:

  • 96% laptop
  • 73% smartphone
  • 28% tablet


Day in the life with Canvas Mobile--this was the cutest video you should be sorry you missed out on!

Three Instructor  benefits:

  • Efficiency
  • Connectedness
  • Organization
    • Time load and workload are important--don't let it take over your life etc. let your students know when you might not be on, response window etc.


Three Student benefits:

  • Flexibility
  • Convenience
  • Engagement
    • Remember that connectivity, hardware limits, and communication expectations impact students.




UDOIT--LTI tool built for accessibility, generates a report, shows how to fix it. Open source and free.  Mobile design check is coming to this LTI. 




One in 5 students will be using the app --so it’s a mobile world, join it.



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The new quiz tool is going to be awesome; if only we could get it before 2017!



Why: modernization, simplicity, elegance

It looks pretty!

Can request the sandbox  on Monday! Talk to  your CSM or  visit the UX Lounge.

Limited release--data will go away Aug 31.

Must participate in the Focus Groups

Includes: LTI interrogation, quiz authoring, quiz delivery, MC

More things to encourage academic integrity (honor code acknowledgement etc.)

Will be able to add questions to the modules, new settings for quizzes, moderation settings, item analysis and stats.

It is also improving the mobile experience




Will allow for you to print a properly formatted quiz--not just the browser



Will update items across courses, item banks, and even commons!


2017 timeline… (Our institution had been told it might be here by Spring 2016..)




Looking forward to have these additional resources for our faculty...even if it will be later than I had hoped!



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Taking the gondolas or ski lift behind River Run to the top, you will find the Dercum Hiking Trail just to the right of the Outpost Gondola building.  



This trail is a loop that winds through 1.4 miles of Alpine forest.  There are various signs along the way providing information about the native flora and fauna that can be found throughout the region.  The sights, sounds, and smells were extraordinary along its entire length.  I saw a few species of native birds, most of which I could not identify, since I am not from this part of the country, although I have some great pictures of a few of them. Even with the birds I could not see, it was a joy just to listen to their calls.  About half-way around the trail there is a small detour that takes you to a peak that allows one to overlook the surrounding area, which is where I took the banner picture for this post.  According to the lift operator, this point is at about 11,800 feet above sea level.



I really enjoyed this hike. If you have time on Thursday, or if you plan to stay in the area for a few days after InstructureCon, I would highly recommend taking a hike on Dercum Trail.  If you go, don’t forget your water and pack a lunch, there are picnic tables at the top.




Linda Gruss

Quizzes - my jotted notes

Posted by Linda Gruss Jul 20, 2016
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Speaker Jason Sparks: Session Quizzes - The Modern Quizzing Engine in Canvas



Enhancements have been made for Quizzes and they roll out on Monday. Contact your CSM to request access. Note: The data in the sandbox is not permanent and will go away at the end of the testing period. Including all data.


Features I particularly liked include:


  • The side bank option to go to a particular question easily to see the results.
  • Multiple choice answers that have precipitated answers. True/ false, yes/no, agree/disagree, other.
  • Can restrict file types. Giff, jpeg
  • Automatic grading and test pass back.
  • you can control how you shuffle questions.
  • time limit testing
  • Enhanced item types - hot spot - an image can be shown and students can click on an item to name it.
  • You can control how students see the responses to their quizzes. If you want them to see the correct answers right away, or after a set time.



Some Enhancements:

  • You can delete a students attempted test and let them take it again. This is good if their computer crashed and they need to take the test again.
  • You can see the IP address/location of what computer was used to take the test.
  • Every test will have auto grade and regrade.
  • Reporting - High score, low score, median
  • Students will also have a report.
  • Intelligent Item banking - if you change an item, it will intelligently ask you if you want to change it on all other instances where you have used it. If you share it to the Commons, it will ask you if you want to send out a notification that it was updated. It will also ask you if you want the question updated in the bank as well, or if you want to create a brand new instance of the question in the bank.
  • Students will be able to print a properly formatted test. Yeah! It won't just be printing the web browser.
  • Extra credit is possible! For example, answer 10 of the 15 questions, anything answered correctly after that will be extra credit.



Canvas is looking at the best way to name quizzes other titles like tests, midterms, etc.


Also in development is all or nothing percentage points as an option.



So many new items to look forward to and explore!




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Watching people watch storms is often more fun than watching the storm...



Being an Okie, I know a thing or two about storms. (Let's be honest, tornado sirens really go off so people will know to head to out to the porch, not the shelter .) These mountain storms are pretty evidenced by all the storm watchers...


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Lydia Page

USU's Learning Paths Tool

Posted by Lydia Page Jul 20, 2016
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A quick recap of the Gimme S'more Learning Choices session:

USU's Learning Paths - YouTube

This afternoon I attended the Learning Paths Tool breakout session from Utah State University. I'm always so excited to see what Utah State has been up to; it's one of my favorite parts about coming to InstructureCon. As usual they did a great job. This session showcased a course that allowed students to choose their own learning paths. It was a really beautiful design, made really great use of those CIDI tools, it looked great.


Some of the big takeaways are consideration of the amount of grading that piles up, especially when the data is showing that students were turning in their assignments right at the deadlines, waiting until the last minute. And having all that grading pile up for the TAs, or whoever happens to be in charge of grading. Another interesting find is the type of assignments students chose to complete. They didn't necessarily choose a lot of variety with the open learning path, they mostly did the discussions and maybe not some of the other assignments.


It looked really great, really interesting, a good use of data. It seems like it will be even better in the next term. No real word on if we'll be able to get it from the Commons. Hopefully, but with those proprietary tools, not all of us will be able to get our hands on the course completely.