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In the category of better late than never, here are the slides from my presentation at InstCon this year!  It was so exciting to be able to present this year as a partner and it was great to connect so many of my former Instructure co-workers!


I co-presented with Tom Speyer from Wiley Publishing, and the work they are doing to collect and analyze data from multiple sources (including Canvas Data and Canvas Live Events) is very interesting.  We have learned so much already and I'm sure there will be more to share as things progress.


Here's the description of our session, which was held in the Partner Hall (an excellently organized venue this year, in my opinion):  

Unicon Partner Spotlight: Working with Wiley on Learning Analytics for an Ecosystem of Learning Applications

Please join us as we describe how we have worked with one of our customers, John Wiley & Sons, to bring data together across multiple learning applications, forming a coherent set of insights.  Our presentation will also include examples of data visualizations using learning data from Canvas as well as other sources in the ecosystem.


Please feel free to comment here or hit me up with questions!




Laura Gibbs

30. Thirty Blog Posts!

Posted by Laura Gibbs Sep 2, 2018

Okay, this is a meta-post: it is post number 30 in my series of 30 InstructureCon blog posts. Whoo-hoo! I've been tagged them as #InstCon30, but they are out of order there now that I updated all my posts that made reference to sessions with video, so to wrap things up for this post, I've made a quick list of all 30 posts below.


And I'll close with one last HUGE THANK YOU to everybody who made it possible for me to attend InstructureCon this year. I had such a great time and I learned so much. Plus you know I will be very much involved next year as a remote participant, eager to keep on learning. :-)


  1. Hats Are Good. This is all about my helicopter hat.
  2. All the Feels. I met so many people in person at last, including people I have known for YEARS online but had never met in person before now.
  3. I am TPACK. Something very cool that I learned about for the first time, thanks to Mathieu Plourde.
  4. Inspired by Earl. Getting to know Earl Sallade over lunch.
  5. The Canvas Past. My take on the opening keynote by Josh Coates.
  6. Give Me Bananas! The fabulous Game Night on Tuesday.
  7. Meeting Devlin Daley. I had no idea I would get to meet Devlin Daley: but I did! I share some thoughts about open Canvas courses here too. :-)
  8. The Wifi Gremlin. The Panda Drone did not operate as expected.
  9. OER and TIME. This was a wonderful presentation on OER development.
  10. Searching for Search. Khaki global search, which I asked about here, also morphed into an investigation of search at Canvas Commons.
  11. Fun with Polling. I really liked the way so many of the session presenters used interactive polling!
  12. Blog On, Everybody! In which I get to meet Guy Saward who came all the way from the U.K., along with some thoughts about blogging.
  13. Our Coach Kona. Kona's presentation on student-centered design was so inspiring!
  14. Go, Broward County! I was amazed at what Broward County was able to accomplish by using Canvas to do PD for both instructional AND non-instructional staff.
  15. RATS: Strong RATS. This was Matthew Jennings's presentation on team-based learning. And I won a prize!
  16. The Wednesday Keynotes. If you haven't seen the Larch Correctional Center video that Jared Stein shared as part of his keynote, please take a few minutes to watch (I embedded that video right here in the blog post).
  17. Local and Global. Twitter makes it possible to participate remotely... around the world. I had fun sharing my InstCon experiences with my Twitter network.
  18. Michael Bonner's Magic. Michael Bonner gave a great keynote, and I am very exited about our upcoming Bonner Book Club!
  19. Embed Magician Extraordinaire. Be sure to watch this video to see Sean Nufer work his magic; he used a Canvas course to do his presentation, not slides; very cool!
  20. Linda, Blueprint Goddess! If you are thinking about using Blueprint Courses, check out Linda's presentation about the many advantages Blueprint can offer.
  21. The UnConference: Outstanding! This was my favorite part of the conference. :-)
  22. Ted, UX Wizard. Those of us who attended the UnConference also got a crash course in user experience research from Ted Boren.
  23. Hawksey's #InstCon Widget!!! Adam Williams set up a TAGS archive for #InstCon and now that archive can become a live widget too.
  24. Embedding InstCon Videos. The videos are released, and I learned how to embed them in Canvas Pages.
  25. Michelle and @ONE. The videos allowed me to catch up with a presentation I was really sorry to have missed: the California community college Online Network of Educators, as presented by Michelle Pacansky-Brock.
  26. Clowns and Cannonballs. I had so much fun at the carnival on the last night.
  27. Conference "Beginner's Mind." Some things I learned as an InstCon newbie.
  28. Some InstructureCon Feedback. Some ideas I wanted to share as InstructureCon 2019 starts to take shape.
  29. My Video Gallery. This blog post explains how I set up a gallery of videos in Canvas Pages, linked back to my blog posts.
  30. Thirty Blog Posts! You are reading the last one right here right now. :-)
Laura Gibbs

29. My Video Gallery

Posted by Laura Gibbs Sep 2, 2018

I was really happy to learn that I can embed the InstructureCon videos in Canvas Pages (details about that), and so what I did was to create a Canvas Page at my InstCon site for each video I had mentioned in a blog post here: My Embedded Video Gallery. Then, I went through my blog posts here and put a link to the Video Page at the top of each post. So, now it is all linked: the pages at my InstCon site link to the blog posts, and the blog posts link to the Video Pages. Yay!


People had told me that it would be about a month or so before the video were available, which is how I embarked on this "30 Days of InstructureCon" blog post series, as a way to tide me over until the videos came out. Now the videos are out, and I have everything all embedded and linked up. :-)


And thanks again to the Instructure crew who did such a fantastic job of editing these videos. The way that we can see both the presenters and the slides makes the videos incredibly valuable, and I hope every one of the videos will find a large viewing audience!


Here's the list of presentations that I have written about in my blog posts here at the Community:


Broward County video plus blog post
Engineering Leadership video plus blog post
Jared Stein video plus blog post
Josh Coates video plus blog post
Kona Jones video plus blog post
Linda Jean Lee video plus blog post
Matthew Jennings video plus blog post
Michelle Pacansky-Brock video plus blog post
Mollye Russell video plus blog post
Sean Nufer video plus blog post


screenshot of Kona Jones video embedded

Here's another wrapping-up post to end this series (just two more to go after this one), and what I wanted to write about here is some suggestions that I would have to share back with the great people who are on the team that organized InstructureCon. Feedback is my mantra this year, after all! I know it is a monumental event, and it's trying to accomplish lots of goals all at once. Here are some ideas I would put on the table based coming from my own perspective, and maybe others have ideas they would want to share also.


1. Collect Twitter handles during registration. As I mentioned in a previous post, it would be really helpful to have a more representative Twitter list of InstructureCon attendees. By working hard on creating a list, I ended up with a couple hundred Twitter handles, but out of the huge number of people attending InstructureCon, I know that was only a tiny sample. It would be really helpful in my opinion if people could submit Twitter handles when they register, knowing that they might be included in an InstructureCon Twitter list. That way people could opt-in or out as they prefer; I'm guessing a lot of people would opt in. The Twitter handles could also be printed on the badges/booklets, so that when you are taking a picture of someone's badge name (as I saw many people doing), their Twitter handle would be right there too, assuming they opted in.


2. Allow for "remote participants" to register for the conference. Adam Williams and the other Community managers did such a great job of trying to promote the remote experience, and I think that would be even more powerful if you let people register as "remote participants" at no cost during the registration process. Maybe you could send them a page of stickers or something as their conference swag! That wouldn't cost a lot, and I am guessing it would build enormous good will along with providing a stronger foundation for helping people to have a good remote experience. There are all kinds of reasons why people cannot attend InstructureCon, and finding a way to share the goodness with that big group of people is really important IMO. My guess is that in the long run it would actually boost InstructureCon attendance if people felt involved remotely in the years that they are not able to attend. Is there any reason not to offer some kind of free "remote participant" registration option? Honestly, I cannot think of any reason not to do it, and there appear to be a lot of potential advantages!


3. Bigger fonts for names on badge/booklet. Yes, this is a small thing, but it was actually a big deal for me. As a very nearsighted person (even with my glasses, my vision is really poor), it would be great if the fonts on the badges could be as big as possible. The bigger, the better! And even for people who are not as nearsighted as me, having super-big fonts would allow people to be able to read names at a greater distance too. First name on one line, last name on another line: that would allow for the names to be bigger and easier to read at a distance. (On this year's badge, first and last names were printed on the same line, and the font size was not really big, just the same size more or less as the "Carnival Pass" phrase that also appeared on the badge.)


4. Breakfast/lunch/snack options nearer to the session venues. Keystone was really challenging that way, and I'm guessing that maybe it will be easier to come up with a variety of ways to do the food at the new venue for 2019. Again, just speaking for myself, I was glad that I brought some peanuts and such with home to carry with me since I found myself missing out on breakfast/lunch most of the time. The way we had catered breakfast and lunch for the UnConference was really nice; that was the only day where I ended up having both breakfast and lunch because the food was just right there.


5. Coping with overflow sessions. I always scrambled to get to sessions as early as possible (which meant I often ducked out of prior sessions early) because I had been warned in advance of the need to get to sessions early to secure a seat. I heard from people at the conference and I also saw at Twitter that there were sessions where people were turned away because there was no room, and in at least two of the sessions I attended, someone came in and had to tell people sitting on the floor that they were not allowed to sit on the floor because of fire regulations (which is totally understandable, of course, but standing up for a whole session is also no fun). I don't know what kinds of options the new venue will provide, but if there is a way to see when a session is overflowing and on the fly find a way to transmit the audio/video feed being collected somewhere that people could watch, that sure would be great. I don't know how feasible that is, but I felt really badly to think that people had come all that way and paid all that money but were not able to attend the sessions they were most interested in.


So, those are the main ideas that I had! Now that I think about it, I don't remember getting any kind of a survey or feedback form from Instructure. Was there some kind of effort like that to collect feedback? I might have missed it; the month of August was pretty hectic. Anyway, those are the ideas I would have shared, and if other people have ideas they want to add here in the comments, please chime in!


And in the spirit of feedback, here's one of my feedback cats. :-)


Cat walking down the road: Feedback helps you see the road ahead.

Feedback helps you see the road ahead.

As I get ready to wrap up this series of blog posts about InstructureCon, I thought I would write something here about "beginner's mind" and the mistakes / lessons learned for me. I met so many people who come to InstructureCon repeatedly, but it was definitely a first for me, and I don't have a lot of other conference experience either, so I was very much a beginner. By sheer luck I happened to do some things that worked out really well; other things I realized I should have done differently. Probably the most important thing, though, is all the lessons I learned on the ground that will help me be a better remote participant next year, since it's unlikely I would be able to attend InstructureCon again (simply because of the costs; if it were not so expensive I would be there next year for sure). Having seen what it is really like on the ground, now I will do an even better job of figuring out ways to participate remotely.


Here are three things that I lucked into that were really helpful:


1. Preparation. I did a lot of preparation that helped me be people-aware, like the big Twitter list I made of presenters and attendees plus remote participants who signed up also. That was such a big help in terms of knowing who to look for! I am sure there were still a lot of people I could/should have met, but the logistics of the conference were not the best for being able to meet people in a purposeful way unless they were actually presenting. So, I'm guessing there are maybe other things I should have done to have made more connections at the conference, but the preliminary work paid off. I wish the conference program made all that easier, so that if people wanted to share their Twitter handles, for example, they could do that, and there could be a REALLY big list of all the attendees who shared their Twitter handle as part of the registration process. Also, having created a Canvas course space to keep track of my stuff was also really helpful, and I definitely plan on reviving that space for next year's InstructureCon as a remote participant. 


2. The Hat. It might sound silly, but that hat was incredibly useful both as a way to identify me for anyone who was trying to find me, and also as an all-purpose conversation starter, not just with InstructureCon attendees, but even with random people I met like the bus drivers, etc. Any kind of silly hat would work, but the fact that the beanie was connected with the idea of being the "Panda Drone" worked out even better; it was not just a random conversation starter, but one with a purpose behind it.


3. Follow-up Blogging. I am really glad I decided to do this series of follow-up blog posts. I did not take into account just how hectic things would get with having to go to Austin and the start of school, etc., so I probably should have done 2 posts a day for 15 days instead of trying to do 1 post a day for 30 days -- because, obviously, that didn't work out; it is now September and I am still wrapping up the last posts, ha ha. Here are all the posts.


And here are three lessons learned:


1. Write Things Down. I repeat: WRITE THINGS DOWN. I was just kidding myself to have said, "Oh, I'll remember that." Even as the words came out of my mouth, there was a little voice inside my head saying, "No you won't! You better write it down!" But I didn't and, as a result, there are people's names and cool ideas that I really wanted to remember from the conference that I have now forgotten because I didn't write it down at the time. Just like with school: you can sit there listening to a lecture and think you are going to remember stuff... but you don't. I should have gotten a ballpoint pen to wear around my neck just like the little InstCon booklet we wore so that I could have written more things down right in the moment.


2. Get More Sleep. I felt really obliged to attend every single breakout session in my role as Panda Drone, but if I had not felt obliged, I would have watched the morning keynotes streaming in my condo, and then leisurely have made my way to the conference during the first break-out session. At the few conferences I have been to previously, there were not all these great evening events, so I could just go to bed early... but at InstructureCon, there were great evening events every single evening, and by the time I got to Friday, I was really exhausted. I'm someone who wants/needs eight hours of sleep each night and I ended up seriously sleep-deprived by the end. I wouldn't have wanted to miss out on any of those evening events (Game Night! Street Fair! Carnival! they were fantastic), and, since the breakout sessions are recorded, I would have been glad to have gotten some extra sleep by arriving to the conference center later each morning and caught up on the sessions I missed when the videos came out later.


3. Take More Pictures. I only got my first smartphone recently (I simply never needed one until my dad got sick, and I had to start texting to communicate with all his caregivers who prefer texting as the best way to stay in touch), so I'm still really not very good at even using my phone, and I'm not used to taking pictures while things are happening. I snagged a lot of great pictures that people shared at Twitter, but I wish that I had taken more pictures of my own too.


And I have to say: THANK YOU to all the people who shared great pictures. There are some people who really know how to take beautiful pictures with just their phones. If you have some images you want to share that are saved on your phones, there's an InstructureCon 2018 Image Gallery space right here at the Community where you can upload for posterity!


Here's a sweet panda shot from Paul:


panda in mountains



A picture from  Dave Hooker who was a morning yoga-goer:


Keystone sunrise



A lovely shot from Gannon Nordberg:


Keystone creek



And a sunset carnival picture from the CanvasLMS Twitter:


carnival sunset



Now that we know InstructureCon has outgrown Keystone and is moving to a more traditional conference venue, I feel so lucky that I got to attend an event in Keystone, and with such a wonderful carnival theme! I enjoyed it all so much, with so many great memories ... some things you remember even without writing them down thank goodness! :-)

I've kind-of sort-of been writing the blog posts in order of events, and since I am getting to the end of my 30-blog-post plan, I want to write about the ending event of InstructureCon/InstructureCarn: the carnival itself! It really was a carnival, with rides and food and everything.


I loved it all, especially the performance by the acrobats. That was one of the most spectacular things I have ever seen in person, and thanks to a tip from  Biray Seitz , I got myself a seat right up front, in the second row. The whole performance was fabulous; there were acrobats and jugglers, and also a clown who was so sweet and charming; I'm not even a fan of clowns usually, but this guy was great: his moves, his music, it all was so funny in a way that made you just relax and feel good... which was important as a calm-down interlude between the acrobatics which made me literally hold my breath, especially the acrobat at the end who was performing on impossible stacks of rolling tubes that went higher and higher and higher until I couldn't even believe it anymore... but it was REAL, and I was there. It was incredible! Does anybody know the name of this troupe? I would love to link to their website here if anybody from Instructure has that information.  They came out and posed for pictures at the end of the performance, so here is a picture that I took:


screenshot of acrobat troupe


I remember during last year's InstructureCon when Credence Clearwater was playing, and I was listening to someone sharing the music remotely just using their phone as I was sitting on my couch at home; even my husband wanted to listen -- he couldn't believe it was CCR for real. Attending InstructureCon this year, I was thinking there would be cool stuff, but that nothing could top something like hearing Credence Clearwater in person... but these acrobats managed to hit the top for me. It was unforgettable, especially the juggler who was on next-to-last before the acrobat who was performing on the rolling tower of tubes. There was just something about that juggler who had me completely mesmerized, and I was thinking, what an incredible skill he has: he could be transported back in time to any culture in any era, and he would dazzle them with what he is able to do. He could probably be transported to alien civilizations on other planets and amaze them with his performance. It was spectacular.


I also have to include here the HUMAN CANNONBALL, which was also unforgettable. When I first showed up at the carnival, I couldn't help but notice the cannon: it was huge! And I asked an older gentleman who was setting it up if they were really going to shoot someone out of the cannon, and he said yes. So I did most of my wandering on that side of the carnival field, knowing that I didn't want to miss this; I had seen Bugs Bunny and other cartoon characters getting shot out of cannons in cartoons... but a real person? in real life? As it turned out, I was standing with Sean Nufer right next to the net where he came down. It really was incredible to watch, and people captured it on video with their phones, like this video from Michelle Lebsock at Twitter -- I can't embed a Twitter video, but just click on the link to see the video at Twitter.


screenshot of tweet


When I went to write my "introduction post" for my class, this semester it was really cool to be able to include InstructureCon as a what-I-did-this-summer item, and I was able to embed that cannonball video in the blog post, yay! Because I enrolled myself as a student in the class (more about my #TotalCoLearner experiment), that means a lot of students will be reading my introduction post as the semester goes along (the students are all reading each other's introduction posts at random all semester long), so I hope that will add a fun new dimension to their perception of Canvas, and also inspire them to share their thoughts about Canvas with me over the course of the semester, knowing that I really am excited about what Canvas has brought to our school and how important it is to me as a teacher... and as a carnival-goer!

Laura Gibbs

25. Michelle and @ONE

Posted by Laura Gibbs Sep 1, 2018

You can see the embedded video here: Michelle Pacansky-Brock


* I'm typing the word on-line with a hyphen for reasons having to do with a tech problem at this platform; I know it looks weird, but otherwise the word disappears.


Now that I have figured out how to make use of the InstructureCon videos by embedding them in Canvas Pages (details), I wanted to share Michelle Pacansky-Brock's session, which is one I did not get to attend. Watching it via the video worked great! I am so impressed at how the video shows both Michelle speaking and also the media she used (slides, plus some video), and Michelle did a great job of repeating the questions at the end since the one thing the mic could not pick up was the audience questions. So, what I did was to make a Canvas Page with her video, and I'll include my main takeaways here in my blog post, just like I did for the sessions that I attended.


Here is the video Page I made, with my notes down below:

Video: Michelle Pacansky-Brock: InstCon Remote Control 


screenshot of MPB video


Both for those who were there and missed sessions (schedule conflicts, full rooms), and for those who were not able to attend, I highly recommend watching the videos, and maybe you will even want to share your thoughts in some Canvas Pages (here's how to embed) and/or Community blog posts of your own. :-)


Taming the Lion:
Innovative Practices for Supporting Canvas at a Large Scale


You can find the slides and other materials for this presentation at a site that Michelle created: 

#INSTCON 18: Taming the Lion 


We are on-line twins. I've often joked about Michelle and I being on-line twins who were separated a birth, and it really is true in so many ways: watching her introduction at opening of the video, I learned that she started teaching in 1999, which is the same for me, and we both fell madly in love with on-line teaching. Both of us decided to share all we were learning in the open, using all kinds of tools over the years, and that sharing is central to our learning, and it led to amazing things for both of us (the whole reason I ended up going to InstructureCon this year was because of a blog post I wrote and shared in Michelle's Reflective Writing Club this winter; details). "Sharing is central to my learning," she says, and now she is bringing the power of sharing to 60,000 faculty and 30,000 admins and staff in the California community college system. WOW.


California systems. After listening to this video I think I am finally starting to understand how the California system works. Michelle use to work at one of the CSUs (Channel Islands), and I know other people in the CSU system, and I also have on-line friends in the CCC, California community college system. Now Michelle is heading up this @ONE On-line Network of Educators which is a project of the community college system, which is in turn connected to the OEI, On-line Education Initiative. Sharing everything is very much the mantra of what they are doing, and their enormous range of professional development opportunities are available to all (not just people in California) at low or no cost. I also learned that there are 114 community colleges in California (wow!) and now that the community colleges can choose Canvas (I think at no local cost?), all but one of those schools is using Canvas, so that is 113 campuses on Canvas that Michelle is working with: wow again! That is why Canvas is very much at the heart of the work they are doing as part of both @ONE and the OEI. And across all those schools, Michelle is working with 90,000 faculty, staff, and admins: wow yet again! In the spirit of sharing, much of the @ONE content is Creative-Commons-licensed, and that CC-licensing is actually part of the condition of their state funding. What a great model for other states to follow!


Networking. That is a huge number of schools and people, but in many ways they are not well connected. Michelle made a Game-of-Thrones comparison, with the colleges as castles, built with features that isolate them from one another. Yet given limited resources, they just cannot afford to have people working alone, reinventing their wheels, spending precious time and energy recreating resources that already exist (even if not actually warring with one another like the houses in Game of Thrones, ha ha). There is also a culture of scarcity, along with the fear that things diminish in value by being shared, as if that makes them less special or precious. Yet at the same time, faculty seeing other faculty actually using technology is often the key to adoption and growth. We have to find ways to encourage and support people in sharing their work, and that is exactly what Michelle is trying to do, and with 60,000 faculty, they need to find on-line solutions; f2f just won't have the reach. That's how we get to the N for networking in @ONE: On-line Network of Educators, a network for sharing and free or low-cost PD, by educators for educators.

@ONE On-line Network of Educators


@ONE offerings. Michelle went into lots of details about all the webinars, "Bite-Sized Canvas," YouTube channel and on and on: so much great stuff! They offer courses for people to take in Canvas, which has the added benefit of them experiencing Canvas from the student point of view and with dedicated facilitators who actively care about their learning. There is also a Course Design Academy for the OEI / peer review of on-line course development. At the heart of all of this is a blog which has social networking features (in the past, the website had been very static). Michelle explained the different ways she helps faculty become active contributors to the blog, either by writing guests posts or by participating in video sessions that get shared via the blog as well as at YouTube. We got some behind-the-scenes information about how Michelle manages the blog and also her content development flow, how she helps faculty with the blog editing and with the video editing (all of which might be something very new to them). It all sounds really great! Here is the blog:

@ONE Blog

And here's a screenshot of what just happens to be there at the moment; I love the term "autocurate" that Michelle used to describe the way she uses the power of blog categories to manage the blog site navigation and to help users browse the content while making it easy for Michelle to keep adding new content to the blog all the time:


screenshot of @ONE blog


OEI rubrics. Michelle also gave us a quick tour of some of the features of the rubrics used for on-line course development in the OEI initiative. This is something I know about indirectly from friends I know who teach on-line in the CCC system, so it was really helpful for me to hear about it from the system-level perspective. The idea is that there are all kinds of successful design approaches, so the rubric is not meant to constrain development or even push it in one direction, and that's why they have been reluctant to present anything labeled as a "sample" course. That has made me really curious to investigate the rubric and see how they have designed it to promote this open-ended philosophy. I also really like the fact that they treat all faculty as designers; there are very instructional designers in the CCC system, so it really is up to the faculty to learn about design and find the design approaches that will work best for them. As a faculty member who does all my own design, I can really appreciate that approach; the most important things I learn about instructional design are what I learn every single day as I watch my students working their way through a course.


I would really encourage people to watch the full video if you want to learn about this extremely proactive and supportive faculty development process, and also if you are curious to learn about all the great work that is going on in support of on-line education in California higher ed. And don't forget that Michelle has shared all the support materials in a website too! Yay!


Video: Michelle Pacansky-Brock


#INSTCON 18: Taming the Lion website with slides 


screenshot of MPB website



(testing the word  to see if the gremlin is gobbling it... that is a real problem for this post because "" also appears in some of the URLs: fingers crossed -- maybe the gremlin will leave this post alone!)

(argh: this is one of the posts that the gremlin is editing; that's why the word  appears as on-line, and I will have to use a URL shortener for all the links that have "on-line" in the URL... this is just so weird, Stefanie Sanders! but at least I know to be on gremlin-defense ha ha)