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InstructureCon 2018

4 Posts authored by: Kona Jones Champion

Hi! My name is Ken and this is the story of my InstructureCarn adventure. 


Things started out normal enough... canvasbaby brought me and Barbie along for the annual Jones family road trip to InstructureCon (Kona "Community" Jones), and I figured I was in for the typical paddle boating and stroller rides. 

Kennedy and Ken

Tuesday as we were wheeling around Keystone CanvasBaby got distracted by all the carnival fun and didn't realize that I got left behind. And this is where my true adventure began!


Tuesday night was game night and let me tell you, Panda is a pretty crazy bear! I partied a little too hard and unfortunately I lost a few bets... and my shorts. 


Ken wearing a diaperKen wearing a diaper

I honestly don't remember all that happened Tuesday night (PS - message me if you do!), but apparently I was the life of the party and fun enough that some people not only Tweeted about me, but also posted about me on Facebook. [Is this like my 5 minutes of fame?]


Ken collage


Thankfully Canvas users are a friendly and fun group, and didn't take offense to my lack of clothing and crazy ways!


On Wednesday and Thursday I got to go on a hike and everyone who passed by my hangout spot (on the post by the conference center stairs) smiled and some people even took selfies with me!

 Ken and fan clubKen


InstructureCon really is an amazing conference and the carnival like environment made it even better! I was having the time of my life and even had a chance to do a bit of yoga and reconnect with nature!

Ken yoga

Yet, by Thursday night I was getting a little worn down and was starting to wonder how Canvas Baby and Barbie were doing. Unfortunately, I found out later on that Canvas Baby had been sick Wednesday and part of Thursday, which is why I wasn't missed. Thankfully as the Jones family was packing up Thursday night they realized I was missing. It was then that Canvas Baby's Mom (Kona) realized that she knew exactly where to find me. She'd seen the crazy pictures on her Twitter feed, but had never connected the dots to realize it was ME, Ken! I was retrieved from my hangout spot on the post and Canvas Baby welcomed me home with open arms... and my shorts!

Ken and Canvas Baby

It felt strange, but good to be back with my family! Friday morning I drank my coffee with Barbie and looked out over Keystone lake and recounted my amazing InstructureCarn adventures and all the friends I made over the week. 

Morning coffee with Ken

Once coffee was done it was time for the next adventure... the trip home! We started by dropping off Canvas Grandma at the Denver Airport and then headed north to Mount Rushmore!


After Rushmore we stopped at Wall Drug for the free water and to feed the dinosaur! I'd also strongly recommend the donuts and $0.05 coffee, but save your money on the panning for gems experience.

Ken at Wall Drug

I took a little time in the Badlands to chat up a prairie dog. He was curious if Instructure could use a new mascot. I told him Panda was pretty awesome and that I didn't think so, but hey Panda, consider this your heads up to watch your back! 

Ken badlands

During InstructureCarn I noticed a lot of clown themed stuff and even some face painting, so when the opportunity presented itself at the Omaha Children's Museum I decided to try my hand at clown make-up. Honestly Canvas Kid ended up looking pretty creepy, so I'll probably keep my day job and stay away from clowns! 

We were almost home when we decided to swing by and visit Canvas Grandma. I hadn't heard of Hog Days or the Hog Capital of the World, but luckily a local pig was hanging around and filled me in on the big event. It sounded pretty cool and even includes a carnival (oh yeah!) and mud volleyball! 


After almost two weeks we finally made it home! It was good to be home, but after hearing about next year's InstructureCon in Long Beach, CA I'm wondering if they could use a good lifeguard??

Ken at home

Special thank you to everyone who partied with me at InstCon and shared their pictures! My memory is a little hazy about everything that took place, so if you have a story about me at InstructureCarn feel free to share it below! 

Here are resources, video, and PowerPoint file (attached) for my InstructureCon 2018 session - "Energize your class with Student-Centered Course Design." If you have any questions please let me know!


Session Description

Want to create the greatest student-centered course on earth? Come experience how to energize a course through increased teacher presence, better utilization of Canvas features, and creative uses of the different assignment types. Leave with the information needed to make students feel more connected and motivated to succeed. 



Below are some of the resources and guides discussed during the presentation. To see all Instructor guides see the following page - Canvas Instructor Guide - Table of Contents 


Before Class Starts












Additional Resources


After Class Starts



Canvancements are enhancements to Canvas that allow Canvas to do things it doesn't current do, but a lot of people wish it would. For the full list of Canvancements see the following page - Canvancements - Canvas Enhancements  


Student Guides

These are guides that I provide to my students at the beginning of the semester to make sure students know how to access and view the feedback I provide for them. To see all Student Guides see the following page - Canvas Student Guide - Table of Contents 


Viewing grades and feedback



If you missed it above, here is the link to the video of this presentation - Energize Your Class with Student-Centered Course Design


I really enjoyed putting on my "teacher" hat on for this presentation and I hope you find the resources and information useful! Until next year!!


Yes, the presentations at InstructureCon are amazing, but what if instead of just one person sharing and talking about a topic, there was an opportunity for a number of people to share and collaborate on that topic?

“The sum of the expertise of the people in the audience is greater than the sum of expertise of the people on stage.” – Dave Winer, What is an unconference?

What does this quote mean? Together we have more experience, knowledge, and insight than any one individual does. That’s the amazingness of an unconference, it's the chance for everyone who attends to share and collaborate!


Want more information on what an unconference looks like? Check out this blog – What is an Unconference?


So why should YOU attend the InstructureCon unconference? Here are my top 5 reasons why attending the unconference could be the best part of your InstructureCon experience!


  1. Your mind just got blown away by all the amazing things you saw and heard at InstructureCon, so why not take some time to debrief? What was the most amazing thing you heard/learned about? What about those new features/tools? How can you take what you learned and apply it at your school?
  2. Want to dig deeper into a topic/feature/idea? Unconferences are a great place to get lost down a rabbit hole with other like-minded people!
  3. Collaborate and make connections. An unconference is a chance to really talk and share with people. Wouldn't it be great to make a few friends that you can email after the conference when you have a question or want to talk Canvas?
  4. Topics are current, so no delay between proposing a presentation and presenting! Here is a chance to have relevant and up-to-date conversations about things that are happening right now!
  5. Fun, fun, fun! Unconferences are relaxed, very informal, and seriously, if it's a Canvas event you know you're going to have a great time!


And if these aren't enough reasons, the InstructureCon Unconference is being facilitated by the Canvas Community Team! Yep, yours truly and some of the amazing Community Managers and Coaches are working together to make this the most awesome unconference yet!


Interested in attending the unconference? See the following information:


InstructureCon 2018 Unconference

Friday, July 27th, 2018


Lodge & Spa

Cost: FREE


Kona Jones

What is an Unconference?

Posted by Kona Jones Champion Apr 20, 2018

As the definition above (from Google) implies, an unconference is an informal participant-driven meetup where those who attend decide on the topics and agenda. Participants are the ones who facilitate the discussions – so no pre-planned presentations, just on the fly conversations and collaborations about what people are interested in talking about.


So how does an unconference normally work?


At the beginning of the event attendees propose topics they’d like to talk about during the event. These topics are written on post-it notes and organized into themes. [Example – Best way to use Discussions in Canvas? or How is your school going to roll out the new Quizzes LTI?] Sometimes people advocate for their topic, explaining what they want to talk about or what they are interested in sharing/learning. People then vote – often using dotmocracy – to decide which topics will get discussed during the unconference.


Once topics are decided on, a general agenda for the day is laid out showing which topics are being discussed during a given time period. While the person who originally suggested the idea is normally the person who starts the conversation and facilitates, the goal of the unconference is that these are engaging and collaborative sessions where everyone has a chance to share their knowledge and expertise. The general feel for most unconferences is fun and positive. It’s ok to disagree, but be respectful! In addition, if anyone finds themselves in a session that isn’t working for them – for whatever reason – there is the “Law of Two Feet” that states people are responsible for using their two feet to move to a different group that’s more beneficial to them.


The whole goal of an unconference is to find the people or conversations that are most meaningful and valuable to YOU!


Interested in attending an Unconference? Canvas is hosting a free unconference during InstructureCon 2018!

Share your secrets in Keystone at EdCamp the Friday after the conference concludes! EdCamp is a type of “unconference” event, where attendees drive the day’s agenda and learning experiences! You bring the topics that interest you (no need to be an expert). We’ll offer the tools needed to support sharing and authentic conversations. We’ll throw in a keynote to jumpstart the day (gotta show up to see who it is), and there may even be some exclusive swag! Breakfast (and, of course, coffee) will be provided.

Need more reasons to attend? Check out the following blog - Why should YOU attend the InstructureCon 2018 Unconference? 


Convinced and ready to register? Here are the details you need!


InstructureCon 2018 Unconference

Friday, July 27th, 2018


Conference Center

Cost: Free



Hope to see you there!!