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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

 

[INTEL]

 

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.

I am home now, and will share my final thoughts; although, since this is a journey and not a destination, nothing is final.

 

Thursday, July 27:

I continued to follow my trend on Thursday and interacted with attendees all day and night, only attending three sessions - two keynotes, and our Community session late Thursday afternoon.  The keynote also continued a recent trend, and one I greatly appreciated, they were about people - our users, the broad focus and need for strong online pedagogy, how ed tech can and does improve access and so much more between the lines spoken - they were about people, they were about community! Our Community session was the same, and we provided the attendees a snapshot of a few of the people in our Canvas Community. We talked about who they were, what they contributed, and how they helped the entire Global Canvas Community! And that is what we truly are, a global community and that was brought home to me in a very poignant way as I was waiting to hop a shuttle to the evening festivities. As I stood there one of our Brazilian Canvassadors came running up and he said, "I have been looking for you, and I wanted to give you this just to say thank you for making me feel welcome!' The physical gift was trivial, except that its physical presence is a reminder of his gesture and the community that is Canvas and Instructure, and has now made it the best of the six years of swag accumulated by me! I might be a sentimental old fool, but he brought tears to my eyes, and he completed an epiphany that had been forming all week, and has been brewing in its developmental stages in my mind all these years.

 

The Epiphany:

 

I have been in elearning, online learning, digital learning (DL seems to be my new fav), distant learning (still relevant, as was well demonstrated  by the video of Pacific Islanders shared by Jared Stein during his afternoon keynote) a very long time. Long enough to remember the first true LMSs, and to have built a very primitive way to accomplish organization-wide instruction delivery using a network before then. For many of those years the discussions were almost always about the tech. Yes, we always talked about how the tech could change the world, and improve access to learning and provide new ways to deliver instruction, but the focus remained on the tech, and not the people impacted by the tech except for a few folks for whom the vision was always the users. And then came Canvas, created originally by two students dissatisfied by the user experiences in online education, and Josh Coates who shared their vision of an LMS focused on the user, and Instructure/Canvas was created.  I am not sure if I will ever be able to separate those two names again in my mind because combined they equal the global community of  builders and users who believe that technology and users cannot be considered separately.

 

Instructure, as an organization, is a collection of administrators, builders, and staff of various kinds (and I will just call them the "Builders") who form a community to develop and deliver educational technology that creates a global learning community. They are truly disrupting the educational technology industry in a way their competitors do not seem to get......

 

IT IS NOT ABOUT THE PRODUCT! It is about the product, the culture of the company that provides the product, and the community the company promotes for itself and its product's users. 

 

I said that Instructure is a community, because this is amply proven to me through every encounter with the Instructure team. From top to bottom each member of that team, despite their official titles, dons whatever hat is needed, whenever it is needed; and this is true both at InstCon and it's offices. And the company's community forms the core of the global community of it's builders and users. Nowhere does that become more apparent than at InstCon each year where they intimately interact with the user community in whatever way is needed to support the community and make it stronger.

 

So we have a global learning community centered on a product called Canvas, and the builders of that product continues to improve that product as a part of the community that uses it. Communities within communities! The communities of teachers and their students centered around a single teaching/learning moment in a single classroom who are part of a community of a school (or a business) using Canvas, who are part of a district or state community using Canvas, and where Canvas has spread to other countries they are forming communities of users, and all are contributing to that global community that is Canvas/Instructure.

 

And this, our official Canvas Community where both users and builders from all those other levels join to share what they know and what they need to make the global Canvas/Instructure community even greater! We, all 185,000 of us, are the representatives of that larger community.

 

Oh the humanity of it!

 

Can you envision a world where instructional technology and the users of that technology are almost indistinguishable? Where they contribute to a whole that is so much more than its parts? I can now!

 

At InstCon 2017 I gained some new technological awareness, skills and perspectives; but my sense of being part of something so much larger and more important grew beyond measure.

 

Agent K signing out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

[SESSION NAME]

InstCon 0017

 

[NEED-TO-KNOW]

The major takeaways from this session were:

  • It is not all about the tech
  • Communities
  • Communities within communities

 

[ADDITIONAL INTEL]

For everyone I already knew and every new person I met, I say, "THANK YOU!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So this year I attended InstructureCon solo.  Not for one minute did I think I would be alone, but honestly I had no idea what to expect.  And look what happened....

 

Over the course of the week I ran into all kinds of people.

 

During the Canvas Intelligence Exchange I was able to meet many new people.  I had a really nice side conversation with Paul Chaney about Canvas Data, and got to meet the all famous Travis "Twitter Master" Cox   After firing back and forth through the Community with Daniel Grobani , we finally had a chance to meet in person and share ideas about what we've been working on, very cool.  I have seen several posts in the Community from Peter Franza and actually got to sit and talk to him at Hack Night, where we engaged in a conversation about XAPI and Caliper with a developer from Penn State and a member of Unicon which was a great intro for me into these tools.  Did I mention I got to shake the hand of Sean Nufer?

 

Of course there were Canvas peeps all over the place, too many to name... Hillary Melander enlightened me on the Canvas Network and hooked me up with the guys at ShinDig for some great info related to a real time course collaboration project I have been working on.  I got to catch up with our awesome CSM Mark Santon and had a really good sit down with Ryan Jacobson and some friends about the API.  Of course if you didn't run into Renee Carney or Scott Dennis or Stefanie Sanders or Kelley L. Meeusen, you might have spent too much time looking at your phone while you moved around the conference.  I would love to list ALL of the Canvas people that I met during the week.

 

The vendors were great too.  Kimberley and Chris Munzo continue to do great things with Dropout Detective, and it was really nice to be able to catch up with them.  Annie Chechitelli and the folks at AWS Education were able to answer some questions that have been on my mind and will help to start thinking about strategy.  Mike Zackrison at CidiLabs enlightened me on their product to assist with instructional design, and I look forward to learning more.  There were many vendor conversations and the time spent was valuable.

 

However, as much fun as it was running around solo, there were a few faces that I continued to run into over and over.  Somehow this group came together at River Run for the last night, and we had a great time shutting down the village.

The picture above includes Kenneth RogersKori Schneider, Ryan Seilhamer, Adam Williams, Gerol Petruzella and Erin Milne.  These guys really made the week fun.

 

Attending the conference on my own absolutely lived up to expectations, honestly it was hard to find time to stop, breath and regroup.  I hope everyone walked away with some good stories, new friends and new contacts to help make their Canvas experience the best that it can be.

 

 #instcon> operation -instructurecon 0017  -mission accomplished
 #instcon> successful
 #instcon> _
 

On day two of instcon I stopped by the Community Booth and chatted with the one and only Stefanie Sanders. Yes, she had me create my own mock-up for a new Community home page (Community Home - Submit your own), but this lead to some more in depth conversations...about search.

 

Which Search?

Stefanie's first question to me was which search do I use? Due to Tracey DeLillo's suggestion when I first started working for her, I only use the search in the top right hand corner (or as Stefanie called it, the Spotlight Search). But did you know that this search not only is on every page - but it is an ultra powerful searching weapon.

 

Why is it better?

Not only is it on every page, so you aren't constantly having to come back to the Community home page, it also allows you the ability to search specific content, people or places. But there are two other little caveats that are "special" about this search that are nice and I thought everyone should know about (one of which Stefanie taught me!):

  1. You can limit you search to a specific group! (This is what Stefanie taught me!) When you are in your group, or a page in your group, start to search and then click to only show the results in that group!
  2. Type your search item...then press "Enter". When you do this, you can drill down on your results even further. You can limit the content type (only search in blogs for example), or for a date range ("I know 'x' was created in the last week because it was related to the release notes - where is it!?!"), OR even display only content that has been marked as official.

 

I know this isn't ground breaking, rocket science, we re-did the equation for gravity in our conversation type work...but this is what can happen at InstructureCon. When you least expect it, you can learn something...and be inspired.

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

 

[NEED-TO-KNOW]

The major takeaways from this session were:

 

[ADDITIONAL INTEL]

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

 

Course available in Canvas Commons

 

Basics:

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

 

Accessibility:

  • 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!!!

To my friends, colleagues, and fellow Canvas lovers having a blast at Keystone:

 

My view is not as pretty as yours this afternoon. I didn't get to game, gamble, hack or karaoke last night. I haven't been kicked out of a building mid-session (although it did give me flashbacks to when a fire drill made me late for my own CanvasLIVE session in April), seen Jewel perform, or gotten a t-shirt shot at me by Mitch Benson.

 

But I am watching you all from afar. Hashtag #InstCon has been my best friend this week. Not to mention the amazing blog posts in the Community (how do you have time???) from Kenneth Rogers, Matthew Jennings, Adam Williams, and Kelley "Agent K" Meeusen. So many people not only tweeting the heck out of everything, but also taking time to write longer, thoughtful missives, that really paint a real-time picture of the glory of InstructureCon. Even if I didn't have my awesome memories of InstructureCons past, it would still be clear that it's more than just another ed tech conference (This one's for the newbies - the rest of you are like "Well, DUH!").

 

My FOMO has been largely mitigated by the vast flow of information (VFOI?). Heck, I'm scoring like 88% on the #IC17Trivia: for goodness sake. I know where lunch is being served and that somebody hates the Yellow Bus. I didn't miss InstCon17. I just remoted in.

 

Hope you all have a rockin' finale, and I will see you in person next year. That's a promise.

 

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

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

 

[INTEL]

*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

 

[NEED-TO-KNOW]

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

 

[ADDITIONAL INTEL]

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.

Kelley L. Meeusen

Agent K

Posted by Kelley L. Meeusen Champion Jul 27, 2017

Who I have encountered seems to have become even more important to me this year, than in any of my previous 5 InstCon gatherings, and than any presentations I have attended this year except maybe for the industry disrupting intel from Mitch Benson and Jason Sparks yesterday afternoon! But then, I attend fewer and fewer presentations every year. It is not that the presentations are not good, because they continue to address a broad spectrum of needs from K-12 to Higher Ed to the relatively new industry users, from established to emerging technologies, from new users to experienced to well seasoned old codgers, from teacher-centric to admin-centric; and with an even more balanced spread than ever before. No, it is simply that I seem to learn most from our users and their experiences in all those categories mentioned above. And perhaps my experiences in this truly awesome and powerful Community have changed my perspective to be more user-centric which so accurately describes the culture of Instructure and is the driving force behind Canvas!

 

I think what has most profoundly impacted me this year are our international folks I have encountered in my meanderings, and at every level - users (both teachers and admins), Canvassadors, and Instructure staff from seemingly across the globe! I know this is incomplete, because I have met so many new folks this year (the story and witness of Canvas' growth) I have met six folks from Brazil ,three of which are Canvasadors and who have shared that they traveled with a user from Peru. I have met English, German, Swedish, French and of course Australian members of our global community. Perhaps my most interesting and rewarding encounter was a nice long chat Tuesday with a Belgian who teaches at University in Vietnam, and that University is a branch from Australia! It does not get get more global than that, and surprisingly enough I met the Canvas admin last night from that main university in Australia! Why was my encounter with this young and enthusiastic Belgian so interesting, it is because he brought me a new question, a new challenged in making Canvas work for him and his courses - this is what those of us in this Community love most - a new challenge we can gnaw at until we find an answer, which is the other thing we love most in this Community - finding the answers!

 

It is because of the questions they bring and the solutions their questions generate, and exciting perspectives they share that has made meeting and talking with our growing international community  so important to me this year!

 

And yes, it has been so dang good to meet up with all my old friends (too numerous to mention), chatting with the always friendly Instructure staff - originals, long-standing and an incredible number of newbies (a shout out to Jason Sparks and Mitch McClain), my fellow Community Coaches and Managers, our CSMs both old and new, and of course the seemingly hundreds of new friends I have made this year.

 

It is you, our Canvas Community, that makes my InstCon the rewarding experience that I look most forward to every year and all year!

 

Now it is time to throw on more vintage swag and get ready for our final day,

 

Agent K signing out!

 

 

[INSERT PHOTO (optional)]

 

[OPERATIVE]

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

  • NAME: Kelley L. Meeusen
  • TITLE: I have to many, and that would just be bragging. Okay, let's face it I love to brag so here goes: Canvas Admin, eLearning Coordinator, Instructional Designer, online Teacher, Washington State eLearning Council member, Canvas Community Coach, Canvassador, and finally but not least - Curmudgeon!
  • SCHOOL/ORGANIZATION: Clover Park Technical College, Tacoma Community College, and Grays Harbor College
  • # TIMES AT INSTCON: 6

 

[FACT #1]

Walking, talking (OMG), living, breathing icebreaker!

 

[FACT #2]

Loud and often boring in his enthusiasm for all things Canvas and Instructure.

 

[FACT #3]

Old, so old/1

 

[SIGHTINGS]

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

  • Insert hearing protection
  • Be prepared to miss your next appointment
  • Run!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It's pretty late here at the Spy Headquarters...and chow time will come early in the morning. But before I do anything else, I wanted to do a brief brain dump from today. I plan on more detailed blogs in the future, but for now - here are some quick thoughts on my first full day at instcon:

 

  • Stefanie Sanders is a true Rock Star! I was killing a few minutes this morning before the keynote and figured I'd stop by the Community booth just to say "sup?" and we had a great chat! One of the best things we talked about was the spotlight search that lives in the upper right hand corner of all Community pages. It's actually the only search I use...but it's more powerful than I knew!
  • Ryan Seilhamer loves giving away free swag. Oh...and he did a pretty swell mobile presentation today with Ashley Salter. Folks were still talking about their presentation and the Canvas Teacher app well after the presentation.
  • Brenden Goetz and Alex Karklins did a phenomenal job on Canvas Data/Tableau and how they use it at CU Denver. I have a lot to write on this one - but this was a great presentation that also talked about their passion for seeing their work be Community driven. Check out Device Usage in Canvas Data with Tableau 
  • I actually me THE Kenneth Larsen. In person. And no..he doesn't look like his avatar.
  • Kona Jones and James Jones literally burnt down the house their presentation was so good! (If you haven't heard, there was a fire alarm today, and it was unfortunately during the "Accomplish the Impossible" presentation focusing on Canvacements). But seriously. Burnt to the ground! There was roughly 450,000 people in attendance and they were turning people away! But my biggest takeaway was that I need to install the "Roster Sorter" Canvancement. Even as an Admin this will help me quickly sort by enrollment type.
  • "The Canvas of the Future - Artificial Intelligence & Behavioral Economics" - I attended this one because it sounded interesting, but I didn't know what to expect. I have a lot to write up on this one in its own blog post, but I will say this was one of the most thought provoking sessions.
  • The last session of the day was a packed house, so I navigated back out to where my day started - the Community booth. This time I found perfect conversation with none other than Kelley L. Meeusen, Ryan Seilhamer, and Adam Williams.

[Session Name]

No Need to Blame Canvas

Kona Jones

 

[NEED-TO-KNOW]

The major takeaways from this session were:

  • Don't assume your instructors and students know how to do anything in Canvas.
  • Give your instructors and students the information they need to focus on the content of the course and not the technology.
  • Use the Canvas guides!

 

[ADDITIONAL INTEL]

Listening to Kona discribe a number of issues students and instructors have on a daily basis in Canvas, I was reminded of my customer service interactions in the office. Many of the troubles mentioned have been brought up a number of times - almost every time I answer the phone. From not being able to access Canvas to not understanding how to get the gradebook in order - it was all deja vu. 

My favorite lesson from Kona's session was her brilliant 'Wait ten minutes, try to figure it out, if you can't give me a call,' mantra. I don't know how that will go over in our customer service model, as some people tend to get red-faced and escalate things way to fast, but I am encouraged to give it a try. I am a proponent of jumping in and figuring things out as you go. I also feel that some, instructors especially, don't give themselves enough credit. They're intelligent and fully capable of figuring out Canvas.

Kona is also willing to share trainings for students and instructors (to be added soon) and I know I'm going to put those to good use. Let's take a look at the biggest issues we have at our instritutions and plan ahead with workshops or Canvas modules that center around how to use Canvas. Sometimes it's user error and we need to give Canvas users the tools they need to troubleshoot simple problems that can pop up.

This sessions was for beginners and long-time Canvas users. I've been using Canvas as a student, instructional designer and instructor for four year now and I enjoyed hearing Kona's preemptive solutions to these simple fixes that can cause major panic.

 

Enjoy the remainder of your InstructureCon experience! 

Erin

instcon

instcon 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I really feel like the Quizzes 2.0.. Quizzes.next is the great illusive pandicorn and will never believe it is real until it is fully here and deployed.  Been waiting for a year. Attempted to pilot/beta and there wasn't much there... so I'm really hoping to have my mind and socks blown right off when it does deploy!    #crossingfingers #longestChristmasEveever

I was here for InstCon 2016 and evening events were always outdoors, and always it rained. I was hoping that maybe this year there would be more coverings for the lot of us to eat in dry space and sit down.  Last night was a total disappointment.  Cold, wet, and nowhere to sit because the limited tent seating was full.  We found refuge under a building awning with some others and ate our now cold and wet food.  I did go on a tweet rant about it and specialty diets.

 

My mother eats a vegan diet. The reason we got the PRICEY guest pass was  I assumed she would have a special meal prepared - as I am used to seeing at other conferences, and we wouldn't have to worry about how to feed her.  Nope, she was told to just had to pick the veggies and hope for the best - oh, but we do have some weird bbq tofu.  This morning, had to ask for a vegan option and was presented with a tofu scramble, no toast, no non-pastry items, and peaches hard as baseballs.  

 

This maybe not the place to complain about the food, but my parents spent a lot of money for a guest pass because I was sure that would be the way I knew she could be fed while she was here because of her strict diet. She's not getting her money's worth, that's for sure.  If you're going to take the time to ask for dietary restrictions on registration, the effort should be made to make those meals and not make those folks have to hunt for food, ask around, wait around, etc.  I know she isn't the only person - I talked to someone this morning that didn't even know that's what he should do  (ask a Keystone employee for a vegan option).  

 

 If you're going to take the time to ask for dietary restrictions on registration, the effort should be made to make those meals and not make those folks have to hunt for food, ask around, wait around, etc.  I know she isn't the only person - I talked to someone this morning that didn't even know that's what he should do  (ask a Keystone employee for a vegan option)!

 

It's just disappointing, and while we've had fun on hikes, Canvas staff has been impressive at every turn, as the Keystone staff has as well.   This part of weather and dietary requirements will probably continue to be an issue.  

4 people dressed up

Yeah, this happened! But...we'll get to that.

 

Where to start... I guess best to go in chronological order lest I talk myself, and you poor reader, in circles.

 

Canvas Intelligence Exchange

canvasintel17 Canvas Intelligence Exchange

The morning started off with a lovely brisk bike ride from my hideout down to a covert meeting location to...well... exchange intelligence. You can ride along with me in the video below if you're curious.

Shared album - Adam Williams - Google Photos 

 

I can't say enough about this event or the wonderful human beings that volunteered a TON of their time to organize it. Kona, Beth, Garth, Marc, Kenneth, from the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU! You pulled off one heck of a mission here.  

 

Here's how it went as far as I recollect. First, we all loaded up on spy rations after arduous journeys from afar (see video above), while Agent Kenneth Rogers guarded the entrance.

coffee cups and snacks

 

Next, we received a briefing from Field Operations Commander, Agent Lentini. Then we grabbed copious amounts of sticky spy notes and our field issued tactical pens, and started encoding topics of conversation vital to our operations on said sticky spy notes.

people around tables

 

Agents Marc Lentini and Egbert rapidly decoded our messages in expert timing, organizing them in a scheme known only to the two of them. Agents dispersed to various sections of the meeting space according to interest in their operations. This is where the real intelligence was exchanged.

 

Course Design

I can only report back what I overheard from my table where I sat with agents from Iowa State, UPenn, Charlotte School District, Australia, Golden CO, Pendleton CA, and Tulane New Orleans. Agents from those organizations, feel free to identify yourselves but I shall not give up your names here (because I of course can't remember all of them and only managed to scribble down Amy, Karen, Becky, Kate, Jake, Colleen, Susan, and David in my notes).

 

We exchanged intel from the front lines of operations on the course design mission. Information and tactics were shared on Accessibility, Master Courses, Canvas Release: Blueprint Courses, Canvas Commons, the myriad of objectives in the course design effort, and how best to organize agents within operational units to accomplish the mission of course design. Points of specific interest in my notes:

  1. Importance of the mission
  2. Complexity of the mission
  3. Necessity for diverse teams collaborating
  4. New tools and resources on the market
  5. Continued need for tool and resource refinement

 

After so much vigorous discussion, a break was required to prepare for our next exchange.

kona smiling

 

Managing 3rd Party Tools

In our second chance to exchange intel, I joined the group discussing Canvas Administration. Much to my delight, the topic of choice was one of special importance to my organization's operation, Management of 3rd Party Tools (Integrations, LTI's, etc).

 

These tools can be incredibly powerful, even mission-critical, but without proper inspection and training, these tools can also cripple or jeopardize even the strongest of organizations. Due to the difficulties of scale, larger organizations were more likely to have already experienced first hand the negative consequences and to have put in place some measure of protocol for how to mitigate the risk and ensure the tools were used strategically. Administrative guidelines for issuing Canvas Developer Keys was referenced as an example.

 

My big takeaway from this exchange was the similarity of the situation within each organization and the need for communication channels between organizations to share intel on protocol and successful tactics. I suggested the community as an option.

 

Love it or Hate It

In our last activity, agents were pitted against one another on various topics, and then forced to use their powers of persuasion to coerce fellow agents to their position. Everything from SpeedGrader to Canvas itself was posited. Agents put on an astonishing display of psychological warfare in this mental war game.

 

Agents left this event with their skills of conversation and collaboration honed to a razor sharp edge, voluminous amounts of notes to report back to their front lines, and connections with fellow agents they may never have met before. They are sure to perform well in the rigors of the week and beyond.

 

Just Lounging Around

After dispersing from our secret meeting location, I elected to spend some time in the Agent Lounges for the Canvas Community and The specified item was not found. to see what else I could teach or learn, my mind still running in overdrive from the intel exchange. After touching base with my community associates, I traveled across the conference center lawn to the Canvassador lounge (just next to the Google + Canvas tent). 

 

Here I met a special agent operating from deep within Canvas headquarters. His name was Chris Moore, and while I did not record in my notes his exact title, from reconnaissance I am able to ascertain he is involved with Global Content Marketing. What impressed me most about Chris was his language skills. I observed him conversing in at least two separate languages with agents from around the world who inquired about Canvas. See my tweet of the moment. I was able to capture this photograph of the moment as well.

Chris Moore speaking spanish

 

In general, I was able to converse with many agents on a myriad of topics, relay the nature of the Canvassador program to many, and even interest several agents in applying to join our ranks. I even had a little fun with a few of my known associates, Kona Jones and Kelley L. Meeusen.

3 people smiling 

After much lounging, I returned to my hideout to strategically repack my gear and obtain pizza rations in preparation for the remainder of the first day of InstructureCon 2017. Around this time the rumors of a special guest at our gathering began surfacing. She turned out to be a real gem (easter egg there for Renee and James Jones, let's see if they get it). It was also established that our fearless mascot had also made a triumphant return. More on him in a bit.

 

Keynote Time

Once properly re-equipped, I headed back out for the first of what will be several key briefings for the event. There's a lot that could be reported about this briefing, but perhaps it's best if you just review the intel on your own. I will say there was emotional warfare involved. Check your standard communication channels in the near future for the recording. Meanwhile, I'll just leave you with this. I call it, "Mitch on a Hitch." (Photo Cred: Jay Jackson Twitter: Mr_Jays_class)

man on a harness

 

Grub and a Reunion

After the keynote, all agents were encouraged to obtain free rations from the mess hall. I engaged with some unfamiliar agents at a table where we discussed the finer points of distance education, natural disasters and the logical conclusion that living by the ocean is insane (ok maybe that's just my opinion), and a young child's affinity for Sharknado 2. After finishing our meals, a special agent with a lovely accent was dispatched to inform us the evening's entertainment had been moved into covered facilities for strategic purposes. After giving her a jovial amount of grief, we dispersed and went our separate ways. On my way back indoors, I was reunited with a close friend of mine, and Canvas mascot, Agent Panda. He spread his arms in a wide embrace at my arrival of course.

man and giant inflatable panda

 

Old Friends and New Friends

Upon arrival at our covert indoor facilities, I was greeted by agents Ryan Seilhamer and Kori Schneider. After recounting the days events, we decided to head towards the entertainment. Fortunately for us, a rack of special agent disguises had been placed in our path, obviously purposefully to alert us to the importance of proceeding with the rest of the night's activities with our appearances properly masked. While reveling in the effectiveness of our disguises, we became acquainted with agent Evan Karagiannis from Sydney, Australia. He too, was in need of a disguise and we aided him as any agent would and should do in such a situation.

4 people dressed up

 

After obtaining our official agent headshots for our agent passports, we went our separate ways. Evan and I proceeded to agent game training and had great conversation and laughs along the way. He's an up and comer this Evan from Australia. Definitely an agent to keep your eyes on. He could totally be hiding a shotgun in that jacket too so I wouldn't front on him. I even got to meet an agent I had only admired from afar on the Twitters, and he was every bit the special agent I had hoped and expected. He travels the twitter by the handle of @eduridden but some of you may just know him as Julian.

 

And that's where the story ends for today (yesterday when you read this, and OK fine, technically it's yesterday/today right now for me too, but days are so illusory anyway). Looking back I'm leaving out a lot and still not sure how I managed to pack it all in, nor am I sure what I ever did before I became part of such an amazing community of positive, well-meaning, friendly people. We're all pretty lucky here.

 

A message to our friends who couldn't make it this year

You are missed but not gone or forgotten. Many of us are taking #stepsforbeth or connecting with our remote agent-friends in other ways. The magic of community is that our fellow agents are always with us in some way because the intelligence we exchange is a part of us and never completely fades away.