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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!