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InstructureCon 2017

9 Posts authored by: Matthew Jennings



[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.

TL;DR - It's gonna be awesome! Contact your CSM for info on getting access to the Beta Version.


[An Ace Sees Miss Stimtron - anagram for "Assessment Is Not A Crime"]

Jason Sparks, Senior Product Manager - Assessments, Instructure




The session started off with Jason Sparks telling the story of how he learned that in order to be successful you had to do something that you can put your whole heart into & that each day you are giving of your self to make something better. Then he introducing the extensive Quizzes.Next team as seen below.



We jumped right into a live demo of the new quiz/test tool (we don’t just give quizzes, now do we). It is an LTI and when Quizzes Classic is sunset, the Quizzes menu option will be removed. There is no set timeline for this yet, but will be very communicated to prepare for the change.


He then showed the creation process, detailing that many of the setting are the same ones we are familiar with on assignments currently. Other settings are available in the actual quiz/test build process.



Instead of writing several questions while we watched him, Jason smartly showed off the ability to quickly import a QTI file via a drag & drop modal. He then demoed the ability to expand, preview & reorder questions from the left panel, as well as in the main edit window or with keyboard options highlighting their focus on accessibility.



Near the end of the session, Jason answered some FAQs, but I felt that the answer to what question types are available fits better at this part of my recap. Here is what they include:


Jason then displayed the powerful set of options for the new Hot Spot question type by using a free draw tool to outline the state of Texas (seen in the banner image at the top of this post) as the answer to a question. Other settings include:

  • give correct, incorrect & general feedback
  • edit the point value of the question
  • select “all or nothing” or partial points for certain question types (this wasn’t specifically mentioned but was available in the beta testing I did a few months ago & I saw the option quickly on screen)
  • align multiple outcomes to individual questions
  • randomize the answer choice with a bonus ability to lock certain answer choices into the place you want them to appear.


This last option is great, as you can now randomize answer choices and lock in a “none of the above” or “all of the above” selection into the last choice.


Next we moved to adding question to the quiz/test from a bank into a randomized group where there were 2 question randomly pulled from the 15 question group and set the point value for them, much like you can do with the current groups. The new trick here though, was that on the settings you can now select to shuffle all questions, including the ones in the group. The other setting that were not in the initial set up appear in this settings area. New in these setting is the ability to require time between attempts on multiple attempt quizzes/tests.


Missing, for now at least, are the options for a deciding what student may see once they have completed the quiz/test. This will be coming according to Jason while he demoed taking the quiz as a student & showing how they see the results.


Essay questions will have the option of allow a Rich Content Editor, Spell Check, to Show Word Count, & Set Word Limit (both min & max). The word limits are only informational and will not prohibit a submission. It will however notify the student that they are over/under the set limit. The instructor will also be able to see an indicator badge to notify them of the word count. Another nice option on Essay questions is the ability to add “Grader Notes” to inform/remind of the key concepts that the grader needs to make sure are being addressed in the essay while they are grading.



They last thing Jason showed was a cool question using an animated GIF file in a hot spot question. I got a quick video below.

Finally he did a quick run through of the additional things that are coming soon, including:

  • enhancements to the Item Banks (tagging, permissions, sharing, outcome alignment)
  • regrading
  • honor codes
  • next-generation item analysis
  • on-screen tools (calculators, etc.)
  • frame works for adding 3rd-party integrations
  • surveys


Contact your CSM if you are interested in being a Beta Tester. Other than contacting your CSM, no other timeline was given.


This was an excellent session and I am really excited to see this when it rolls out.




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

TL;DR - Art & Culture app, create authentic assessments


[The (Real) World Is Not Enough: Virtual Field Trips & Authentic Assessment in Canvas]

Shannon Dunn, Senior Instructional Designer, University of Florida
Allyson Haskell, University of Florida



The major takeaways from this session were:



 How do we get the authentic experiences when you can't actually go there?


Course available in Canvas Commons



Authentic assessments - complex & representative challenges, depth > breadth

What are you assessing? Goals & objectives


Virtual field trips:

  • Simulated visits = interactive & non linear 
  • Video tours = linear & not interactive
  • How & when? Give practice, caution from use it for content delivery, 
  • Advantages = cost, can go places that are hard to get to or access.
  • Obstacles = accessibility 
  • great option for field work to prepare students for what they will encounter



  • Very visual & some have audio.
  • Does it have keyboard navigation.
  • Try to design with universal design in mind. 


Lessons Learned:

  • Practice!
  • Scaffold
  • Plan for tech difficulties
  • Universal Design & accomodation


Part 1 - Discussion


Part 2 - Explore with quieted questions.


Make sure you give good instructions so students know where to go & what to do.


Part 3 - Analysis



Now go & create your own!!!


[For Your Eyes Only: Assessing Live Scenarios On The Fly]

Erin Howard, Curriculum and Instructional Design Specialist, Lethbridge College
Lorne Deimert, Lethbridge College



*Random info - Marilyn Manson was punched in the Denny's in Lethbridge.*


Used a Compentency Based Education Model for a cohort of trainees.


Senerio started simple and spiraled to more complex.

A dictionary of 10 competencies and made a curriculum map then made course w/ credits.

Entered competencies to Outcomes in Canvas


Placed them into the sub-account level for reporting and cross course tracking.


Had lots of conversation on scale, landed on a 10 point scale so there was a wide level of detail on their competency level.


Once Outcome were created, they were added to a course and built rubrics for the assessments. 


Each course was loaded as a single module is one Canvas course. All "courses" had core assessments as well as module specific assessments.


Scenario Phases:

Phase 1 - set up, graded & videoed

Phase 2 - independent scoring & discussion

Phase 3 - debriefed with student


3 randomly assigned assessor that mark the rubrics which are complied and the a debrief session with student.



Scanned in hand graded rubrics. (Couldn't get picture)



What worked:



What was a challenge:



What's Next:




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

TL;DR - Join the Focus Group, Contact CSM & give feedback. It looks awesome!!


New Gradebook: Phase 1

Christi Wruck, Instructure



The major takeaways from this session were:

  • 0.5 behind feature flag now, call CSM
  • Change is hard & is really designed for those that are intrested and engaged to communicate back. Would not turn on for everyone yet.
  • Join the focus group by contacting your CSM



Phase Details:

Phase 0.5 -


Phase 1.0 -


Phase 2.0 - 


Once Phase 2.0 is complete the old Grade Book will be discontinued most likely Summer of 2018.


And here it is:



Other Cool Stuff:

  • Cool filters by module, groups & all the other awesome filters.
  • Can add individual colors for late & missing assignments.
  • Can show/hide unpublished assignments.
  • Crosshair to know which cell you are in.
  • Sorting of names & columns.
  • Late policies automations.
  • No pop up modal for grading.
  • View persistence from how it was last displayed for you.
  • No more tool tips that will cover cell above/below.
  • Multiple Notes columns allowed.
  • There will be small changes to student view of Grades.
  • Grade Change History will be unlimited.
  • Extra Credit may be later Phase 2 or in iterations after.
  • Assignment group columns & Total column are drag & drop ordering.


If I missed anything or got it wrong, please let me know in the comments!!

After a rainy kick off night, I started off Wednesday exploring the P.A.L.S area and had some great discussions with vendors like CIDI Labs. I then ran into Dallas E Hulsey and had a great discussion covering assessment security, past conferences and session we were looking forward to.


Heading into the first session of the day following the morning Keynote, I was eager to hear what awesome gems of mobile wisdom Ryan Seilhamer & Ashley Salter were going to share. While I struggled to compete in the Twitter challenge due to wifi issues, the session was very informative for understand the way today's students want to interact with their education. 


The next I attended was with the Queen of the Community herself, Kona Jones. Her presentation "Don't Blame Canvas" share an awesome list of of tips & tricks for students & faculty alike. It was a great reminder that setting expections and informing users upfront, save many headaches & frustrations later.


Lunch was next on the agenda and gave gave me the much needed break to get ready for the next set of keynotes and sessions.


For brevity, here are the highlights from the rest of the day:


Product Roadmap w/ Mitch Benson - I attempted to take notes & here is what I jotted down.




Then Jason Sparks unveiled the impressive new assessment management platform gauge. There seem to be great potential in Gauge & I look forward to learning more in the near future.


Afternoon sessions then included Google addressing the Z Generations, which was unfortunately interrupted by a fire drill, API's Made Simple by Curtis Rose (and was really simple!) and finally I attended Christi Wruck's session on the Innovations in Canvas UX, where we not only got a great look at the new Student Dashboard "Agenda View", but we got a condensed Simpsons episode!


Casino Royale & Hack Night rounded out the evening. There were so many great things. I am looking forward to what Day 02 will bring.

OPERATION: P.A.N.D.A (Professional Advancement of Non-Descript Agents)


Recent intel has been revealed to allow for additional professional advancement during the upcoming gathering in Keystone, CO. According to the mission transmission: For Spies Like You—Mission: InstructureCon 0017 there will be opportunity for agents to advance in their clearance levels by utilizing a secret code system provided by an agent known only as The Badgr. There will be 25 "tasks" that once completed will move you one step close to becoming an elite Alpha Agent and my grant you access to exclusive gadgets.


The mission period is active for the duration of our gathering, July 25-27


Make sure to help out your fellow agents that may not have received this transmission and watch out for counter agents that may be looking to advance within our organization.



Agents -


In a recent briefing attention was drawn to a need for those agents that may be further to the right of the Type A scale. The upcoming mission does seem to be daunting, but with the help of the attached dossier files, even the most novice agent should be able to navigate through the laser maze and make it to the end. While these gadget may help, somethings can only be accomplished by your keen mind. So take and share this recently declassified information to make the most of your coming mission. 


Instructurecon Schedule Overview w/ Maps *UPDATED 7/17/17 @ 3:20pm Central

Instructurecon Session Schedule w/ Maps *UPDATED 7/19/17 @ 12:50pm Central



As always, feel free to reach out to a fellow P.A.N.D.A.* community agent if you need further intel.


The Matt-Man


*Professional Agents Never Do Acronyms 

Matthew Jennings

The Matt-Man

Posted by Matthew Jennings Jun 13, 2017


Here's what you need to know about this operative:

NAME: Matthew Jennings

TITLE: Sr. Instructional Design Specialist


twitter icon  @mjennings_uab







Agent Matt-Man was last seen at It's Time to Pardee, Partay, Party!, but has not attended an InstCon since 2015 in Park City. During this mission he was able to secure and distribute the rare Canvasberries to a select agents during Canvas and the Mega Course Factory. Prior to that he teamed up with fellow agent James R Henson during Instcon 2014 to train young and old agents alike, to be Agents of S.T.Y.L.E.



The Matt-Man is a highly loyal agent that is passionate about the Canvas platform & the community surrounding it. Having the honor of being selected for Khaki 2017, he is commit to always engaging community members to experience the best Canvas has to offer. When not on assignment, you can find him involved with in various activities such as coaching his kids soccer teams (not in an official capacity, but mostly from the sidelines), serving at his church or watching anything in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.



On this mission you may see discover that The Matt-Man is travel with three additional companions. He will be accompanied by his wife, Lisa and their two boys, Joshua (11) and Caleb (7).


The Matt-Man has also been know to travel with a small Wolverine figure known as Traveling Wolverine.



If you see this person over the next few days, agents are advised to avoid...

Rubbing his head for luck

Stroking his luscious beard

Telling him he has a southern accent (you may think so, but comparatively he doesn't... trust me.)