This was one mission you did not want to miss. However, (understandably) not everyone is able to attend the event of the year. Yes, we went there. As a first timer myself, I wanted to know what all the hype was about and, let me tell you, I was not disappointed. Buckle in as I walk you through the highlights, a few pro-tips and answer the ultimate question of "is InstructureCon all it's cracked up to be?"
Highlights. Stellar sessions, killer concerts, the happiest people on the plant and the most breathtaking views. How could I possibly choose favorites? The highlight of the week was a toss-up between the most informative and meaningful sessions and the amazing parties. I'm truly blown away by how brilliant our admins and instructors are. Seeing what innovative and exceptional enhancements they've made to improve their educational experience with the help of Canvas is truly inspiring. The best part is that even if you weren't able to attend a session you were eager to see or weren't able to attend the conference at all, those sessions will all be available in the Canvas Community in the coming weeks. Score!
If there is one thing Instructure can do, aside from creating stunning software, it's throw a party. What a complete riot the night events were. From the Jewel (aka my best friend) concert, to the casino night accompanied by food from around the globe, to Creedence Clearwater Revisited; I felt truly spoiled and fully entertained during the entire conference. The days can be exhausting as you try to attend all of the festivities, but do yourself a favor and don't miss evening events at InstructureCon. *hint hint* These nightly happenings are usually where the best networking takes place!
Pro Tips. First and foremost: Network, network, network. If there is one thing you should be taking full advantage of at any InstructureCon it's the networking opportunities. With over 2,200 educators and institutional figures in one centralized location, you are bound to strike collaborative gold.
Next, it is highly recommended to plan out your daily calendar of events. The schedule is released with plenty of time to look through the session offerings, events and keynotes. Take the time before you show up in Colorado to know what sessions you want to attend. Plus, if you have never been to Keystone take the time to map out where your sessions are and when you have to be where. Keystone is larger than you think so a little extra planning goes a long way when there is so much to do. But don't worry, if you need to get somewhere fast just flag down a trusty golf cart to zip you from the conference center to the lodge.
Weather can be unpredictable and even though we were pretty spoiled with great weather all week this year, random rain showers are very real and can happen at any time at 9,000+ ft of elevation, so rain jackets and umbrellas are necessary. Just ask Jewel.
Final Thoughts. At the end of the day if I had to answer the question, "is InstructureCon worth all of the hype?" I'd have to say 100 percent, absolutely, positively, YES! Getting to meet so many amazing people, learning mounds of new knowledge alone was enough to win me over. I have never felt so fulfilled, excited, exhausted, yet oddly energized as I did following my first ever InstructureCon. So the moral of the story here is that if you have yet to experience this for yourself, I will see you next year for a phenomenal #INSTCON2018.