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What a week it was!!! Filled with wonderful ideas, creativity, interesting insights, developments and a real sense of community. Myself, Hannah Cooper and Gareth Kirk from the University of Wolverhampton, England were lucky enough to come along to this wonderful event. While we were there we tried to capture our experiences on film. We also wrote our own blog so our own institution could benefit from this amazing conference.


You can follow us on Twitter to watch the Canvas adventure continue @WLV_CoLT


 Day 1. Tuesday 25th July


Day 2. Wednesday 26th July


Day 2 Cont:  Presentation Rap up!


Day 3. Thursday 27th July


Final Round up!

InstructureCon 0017 saw an exciting line up of Product announcements, with some features ready for release, and others preparing for release in the near future. We thought it might be difficult to remember every exciting announcement, so we created this summary and resource post for you. Use the table of contents below to quickly navigate.


We appreciate you taking the time to read through these exciting features. If all of this creative work sparked some creative ideas, there are channels for you to share.

  1. First, search existing ideas in the Ideas space to see if someone already submitted one like yours.
  2. If you don’t see an idea like your own, submit a new idea at the bottom of the  Ideas page.
  3. Then, let your Customer Success Manager know about your ideas (share links): they’re great champions for you!




The Canvas skill for Amazon Alexa makes it easy for students, teachers, advisors, and parents to ask questions, perform quick tasks, and get information from Canvas on their Alexa-enabled devices. This skill marks the first of many, as Canvas itegrates with voice services to help ease the learning and instruction process.






Analytics 2.0

Analytics 2.0 will give instructors the right info at the right time to make teaching large courses easier. Analytics 2.0 helps instructors identify students needing attention, assignments that might need to be reworked, and shows the data in a context that provides rich meaning.



  • TBA




Arc Captioning

Arc allows users to upload and select multiple captions files for a single video, generate new captions for a video using automatic speech recognition (ASR), and edit ASR-generated captions from within the Arc interface.






Assignment & Page Duplication

Canvas allows course creators to duplicate assignments and pages. The duplication option is located in the Settings menu for these item types that can be duplicated. Duplicating an item defaults the copied item to an unpublished status.






Blueprint Courses

Blueprint Courses simplifies distribution of good course design through controlled, reusable blueprints, which are critical in online teaching and valuable in maintaining outcomes across a department. They allow for the creation and maintenance of courses that can be locked down for use in associated Canvas courses.






Dashboard: To-Do List

The new To-Do list Dashboard improves the Canvas experience for both students and instructors. Students can prioritize tasks across courses, view and complete missed course opportunities, and add their own To Do items. Instructors can view all items available to students (to confirm what students can see in their courses), view assignments that need grading, make quick edits to assignments, add their own To Do items, and also add non-graded items including announcements, non-graded discussions, and pages to the student’s To Do lists.



  • Fall 2017





Gauge is the new assessment management system by Instructure. Schools can use it to create, share, deploy, and report on assessments, most of which aren’t associated with any particular course. Reporting features in Gauge will help educators understand what students know and what they don’t and do things to improve learning at their institution.



  • TBA




Gradebook: New

Gradebook Enhancements is divided into two phases. Phase 1 creates better organization and more intuitive user flows in Gradebook. The biggest changes to user flows happen in Phase 1 so it will be released to production for the masses when it is completed. Phase 2 adds small features that are not disruptive to user flows and will be released as they are completed.



  • TBA





Nudge LTI is an internal research tool that will allow Canvas to make smart notifications. Teachers will have the option of adding the Nudge tool to their courses, which will automatically generate Conversations notifications to students and prompt them to take action to improve their performance in the course.



  • Ask your local admin or Customer Success Manager



  • InstructureCon17 Presentation: “The Canvas of the Future: Artificial Intelligence and Behavioral Economics” by Hilary Scharton (Recording will be linked when available)


Teacher App

Canvas Teacher unburdens teachers from a load of frequent, relatively lightweight interactions in Canvas. These interactions fall into three categories: updating course content, grading activities, and communicating with students. Canvas Teacher is available for both iOS and Android devices.







A modern, elegant, and scalable testing engine for our Canvas users, bringing elegance and simplicity back into testing (if it was ever there to start).



  • TBA




SIS Integrations

This new platform simplifies customer implementation by providing data mapping to address data discrepancies between Canvas and a student information system (SIS). Using data points from the SIS, this platform enables schools to easily create courses in Canvas, eliminating the need for custom development, exports, or custom scripts.



  • Contact your Customer Success Manager for details


Available Now

  • SIF based SIS Integration: available now (roster and grade passback)
    • Aspire (bi-directional with Assignment Grade Passback)
    • PowerSchool (Rosters Only)
  • CSV based SIS integration: available now (roster and assignment grade passback)
    • Aspen
    • Skyward
    • Clever SIS files
    • eSchoolData
    • Realtime
    • Skyward via OneRoster csv
    • Elluminate ED via OneRoster cvs
  • Proprietary API Integrations
    • PowerTeacher Pro—Assignment Grade Passback


In Development

    • OneRoster v1.1 based Integration
      • Aeries
      • InfniteCampus
      • Pinnacle by Wazzle Solutions
    • LIS 2.0 based SIS integrations
      • SAIP by Oracle (PeopleSoft SIS)
      • ILP by Ellucian (Colleague and Banner)





[Group Evaluation LTI: Developing a Better Tool]

Kent Matsueda, Assistant Director of Design, Penn State University



When group work is essential, a way for group assessment is a must. This is geared to group members evaluating the performance of other group members not peer review.


Foundation of group work:




A survey from Spring 2017 asked if was appropriate for students to evaluate their team members - 88% said yes.


Students want to be able to see feedback from their peers so they can grow. And anonymity is important.


Used qualtrics & google forms but they take a lot of work to aggregate the data.


Here is the LTi in a module:


Give criteria and ability to rate each team member and self eval.



Does allow for free writing eval:



After all have completed, students & instructor can access the results, instructors have add'l option to export. Student view is anonymous. 


Don't just look at the numbers. There is normally context that may need more information. Look at other activities, the actual group deliverables. These are just clues to help see the whole picture.




There was more but unfortunately I had to step out during the Q&A. Look for the video soon!


*Please feel free to correct any mistakes in the comments below. No agent is perfect.

I can't add much to the bits already shared about the Canvas Intelligence Exchange, as I was behind the scenes most of the day. I'll share a bit about that in a minute. I'll second (third? fourth?) the comments of the other organizers: I got to meet and work with some great people: Kona Jones, Beth Crook, Garth Egbert, and Kenneth Rogers.


The 65 people who attended were equal parts enthusiastic, patient, and engaged with the process and the discussions in each group. As I said, I was mostly floating around the space, and it was great to see so much energy in each of the groups.


One thing I want to share is a bit of the process. Once all the participants started arriving, the topic brainstorming started, and we found some great themes to talk about. Garth and I spent some time organizing the initial wave of Post-It notes, then kicked off the first round of the exchange. We re-factored the list as the event continued, ending up with three rounds. The last round was a bit smaller, as some attendees headed off to their pre-sessions.


The big challenge with putting together the groups was finding common threads through all the great ideas on the notes... and then coalescing that into four groups for each round of the exchange. Looking back now, we weren't perfect (accessibility could have been its own group), but the groups went where they wanted, once they got started.


The rounds broke out as follows:

  • Round 1: Analytics and Data, Choosing an LMS, Engaging Faculty/Training, and Instructional Design
  • Round 2: Canvas Admins, Engaging the Community, Mobile Design, and Blueprint Courses/Commons
  • Round 3: Integrations/LTI/API, and a game of "Love it or hate it."


For this last one, Kona chose a topic, and participants moved to one side of the space or the other depending on how they felt. Then, they'd discuss the issue and see if anyone changed their positions (quite literally).


Photos of the topic clusters and the Text of post-it note clusters


If you didn't get a chance to talk about something important to you, post it over in the discussions section here on the Canvas Community.


Or, you could get a head start on next year's unconference. I've got a few Post-It notes left.

Pile of post-it notes

Community management is about more than deciding what post goes where, moderating ideas, answering questions, hosting events, or other support-type activities. Community management is about creating a culture and environment where people can grow, connect, and learn. And most importantly, community management is about the people who comprise the community!


This year we could've shown you the amazing stats (and trust me, they’re impressive) on the number of community members, the total number of questions answered, ideas completed, or events hosted, and all of the interactions that happened in our community, Instead, we wanted to focus on what really sets the community apart from others: the people! Including you!


“Go Rogue with Us!” focuses on the interesting web that is woven when you follow the path of sources. Our list of rogue agents was initially quite long, but we narrowed it down so as to explore the connections between eight Canvas Community members.


As promised, we are attaching our presentation here for you to peruse (the recording will be available in a few weeks). Enjoy, and we look forward to any of your reflections!


Oh, and we can't forget a special thanks to those of you who let us feature you in this story of connections!  Thank you Stacy LAMBERT, Peyton Craighill, Laura Gibbs, Ken Black, James Jones, Dallas E Hulsey, Stephanie Pope, & Dr Rimmer


Click the settings cog, and select "open speaker notes" to view the context!


Open the presentation in Google Slides, here

They didn't show up.  Short session 1 out of 5.


Last year Kevin Schamel came to Starr Elementary introducing the #RCSNEXTGEN Leadership Cadre for our new LMS Canvas. As much as I love technology, I was very hesitant about applying. The reason had nothing to do with Canvas, but the fear of rejection. The fear was real, and it was big.  Rejection of what you may be asking. Rejection from being accepted into the Cadre, even rejection from peers listening to me.

From the moment I walked into the room people were were saying things like “Oh good, Kathy is in our group; she can show us how to do it!” and “We’ll let Kathy talk!”  They already knew things about me that I guess I had “yet” come to fully believe myself.  

Over the next six months with Cadre I would work with these 20 plus wonderful teachers and administrators developing a better understanding of Canvas, and of myself.  I would find myself helping more people outside of the school building, and eventually presenting at two conferences.  



However, this past week at Instructure Con (#instcon for Canvas), I made another realization.  At elevation 11,646.72 in Keystone, Colorado, struggling to get back up the mountain (Who has the oxygen?), after going part way down to an enormous rock where the majority of the group climbed for a great view, I realized it was time to find a new path and be the leader that my principal and members of the Cadre see in me.  It’s time for me to step out on the edge out of the shadows.  It’s time to be more vocal.  As one of the the Keynote Speakers stated, we must be “willing to make our lives harder to make a difference in the world.”


I’m going to make my life difficult on purpose this year to make that difference, to step out and be a better leader.  Not just for my kids, but for my staff as well.  Oh yeah, that fear of rejection... I’m thankful I didn’t let it take over and keep me from the best experience of my life.  I have learned more about Canvas, myself, and made memories that will last a lifetime.  And, it’s not over, “yet”.


Born and raised in Richmond, Kathy Benner graduated from RHS in ‘97. She attended IU East and earned an Associate's Degree in General Studies and a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education. Kathy started her teaching career in Centerville, IN and came to Richmond in 2008.  In 2011, she earned the No Excuses Award and REA Teacher of the Month in January of 2016.  Kathy has taught Special Ed, 1st, 4th, 5th, but the majority of her career has been in 3rd grade.  She loves working with technology: Spheros, Ollies, and Osmo.  In her spare time Kathy enjoys singing, playing guitar, and putting together Lego sets.  

Last year I attended my first InstructureCon, and attended the pre-conference workshops.  Having been on the Canvas platform for only a year it was good to get more familiar with how things work.  Coming from a non-edu background it was also a good chance for me to get up to speed on some vocabulary and get more familiar with the language of education.


This year my goal was a little different.  Two years into my Canvas experience,  I am very interested in what other people and other institutions are doing.  What's working for them?  Where are they having trouble?  What apps are they using?  My goal this year was to talk to people and listen to what's going on outside of my "bubble".


Through the grape vine I heard that Kona was organizing an unofficial pre-conference networking event where people could discuss what was on their minds.  This was exactly what I was looking for, and I was immediately interested.  Kona put together a group consisting of Kona Jones, Marc Lentini, Beth Crook, Kenneth Rogers and myself to help pull this off.  The end result was exactly what I was looking for.


There are some key reasons why I found this event important:

  • Meet like minded people who are using the Canvas platform.  Having contacts out there in the Canvas world gives you another useful resource for brainstorming or troubleshooting, people to share your thoughts with, a sounding board.
  • Get a perspective, other than my own, to stimulate out-of-the-box thinking.  If I'm having a problem, is someone else having that same problem?  What are they doing to work around or solve that issue?  Or maybe I have something that's working for me that I can share.  Getting a glimpse of what's happening at other institutions is very valuable, sometimes validating the efforts that you are making so you know you aren't crazy
  • Mental warm up for the conference, by sharing ideas and talking through different scenarios it helps to gather your thoughts about what it is you want to get out of the conference.  Work can get in the way, how many people really had time to "think" about the presentations, and carefully choose their schedule before coming to the conference?  I hope everyone did, but the CIE event was a good way to help choose those sessions and get the most out of the conference.


I have since learned about the "un-conference", which took place at the end of the week.  Last year I was unaware of this event, and will try to plan my time for it next year.  However, I feel that having this type of discussion up front is a great primer for the conference, helping me to get my focus and mindset for the week.


To those who made this event possible, thank you.  I hope we can pull it off again next year.

For all of those who attended, thank you for your participation and for sharing your information.

Renee Carney


Posted by Renee Carney Administrator Jul 31, 2017


Adversity can appear for any of us at any moment. The adversities we face do not define us, but the actions we take in the face of adversity do shape us. This week, I was reminded that actions during adversity do not just mold and shape individuals, but they also provide the opportunity to shape, and shine a light on, the communities of an individual.


This story of Community begins further back in the Twitter timeline—Beth Crook’s July 22nd tweet is where we are first introduced to the #stepsforbeth call to action.



If you have never had the chance to attend InstructureCon, you may not know how big of a request this was. InstructureCon has always had golf cart shuttles, but since the move to Keystone, CO, shuttle busses have been a necessity—for both distance and elevation (9,173′). Asking people, some of which are complete strangers, to walk more than they have to at 9,000’ elevation, is a mountain of an ask.




Despite the elements, when it came to supporting one of our own, distance and elevation were no match for the sense of caring in our Community. Prior to, and throughout the conference (July 25–27, 2017), the steps rolled in. Here are just a few highlights:

July 24th:

@KRogersSA - Today I did 8,618 #stepsforbeth - walking around #InstCon is prettier than riding in a shuttle!
@KonaRJones - It's been a busy start to #InstCon! Got in 13,229 #stepsforbeth and definitely earned the extra slice of pizza at dinner!

July 25th:

@poprox_conroy - It's 6pm and I've walked 8,604 #stepsforbeth ❤️
@KRogersSA - Second day at #InstCon for me and I did 14,766 #stepsforbeth.

July 26th:

@malapertmarc - 14,102 #stepsforbeth maybe I should have taken the shuttle bus.
@lindajeanlee - Last #InstCon day step total: 15,298 steps, 150% of my daily goal! #stepsforbeth
@aggal98 - 13,164 #stepsforbeth today. Loved every single one of them! #InstCon
@erinmmilne - Did 15,386 #stepsforbeth at #InstCon today!

July 27th:

@mjennings_uab - 13,668 #stepsforbeth on the last day of #instcon
@kblundstrum - 8,976 #stepsforbeth

July 28th:

@rseilham - 38,031 steps at #instcon #stepsforbeth

@AmyWard3086 - Thursday step count 16,478 #stepsforbeth #instcon


My non-scientific calculations captured over 400,000 steps logged for Beth this InstructureCon, and those were just the ones that were tweeted with the hashtag.  The caring keeps rolling in… check out #stepsforbeth on Twitter.



Beth Crook, you’re an amazing woman, with a humble heart and genuine love for those around you! Today, in my own 12,889 steps for you, I reflected on how you turned your adversity into an opportunity to unite and build up the communities that surround and support you. 



Thank you for this lesson in humanity!




  Keep logging your steps, and encouraging one of our own!  Tweet them, or add them as a comment to this thread!  Beth, we look forward to following your progress!