Why InstructureCon?

Instructure
Instructure
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I have been working in Higher Ed for about 13 years or so (most of it in Instructional Technology of some sort). I have been fortunate enough to go to many, many conferences over the years. I have spoken at conferences, worked with product management/marketing on their presentations, helped organize local conferences, etc, etc...but it has been roughly 4 years since I have been able to attend any conference as an attendee. And I have missed it.

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What is the value?

To me, there are two major selling factors to going to a vendor specific conference:

  1. Making connections with peers from around the country/world who are also in the trenches.
  2. Access to vendor support/resources and application specific announcements.

Connections:

When you are a new parent (or shoot, just a parent!), sometimes it's great to make a connection with someone who can commiserate with you; someone who "gets it". The connections at a conference are the same. You can say what you do (Administrator, Instructional Designer, Faculty, Instructional Technologist, Higher Ed, K12, Pro-Ed, etc, etc, etc) and you will make a connection - and one that will last (thanks to social media!). Exchange contact information, you never know when you will run into an issue and think, "I should contact Joe Schmoe, maybe he can help."

Vendor Support/Resources:

Do you have a nagging problem with your system? Have a major complaint from your administration or users? Well, guess what - not only do you have someone to talk to, you have their undivided attention! You can have a face-to-face conversation with representatives from Instructure - and if they don't know the answer, they will find someone who does! And maybe the best part? Product managers are at InstCon! What better place to ask them "Why did you do that!?!" or "What is coming and when?!?" (And as an added benefit, most vendors who integrate with Canvas will be there also, so you have even more people to talk to!)

Why am I going?

As I mentioned, it has been roughly 4 years since I attended any IT conference as an attendee. I had a stint working in the private sector for an Ed Tech company - so I went to a few conferences and had to work. I am very excited to go to InstructureCon 2017, make connections, and learn from my peers. I have only been working in Canvas since last August, so this will be a great opportunity for me to meet people and soak in everything!

I am fortunate to work for a great boss (shout out tdelillo@alamo.edu‌) who sacrificed her attendance so that I could go this year. I'm looking forward to talking with the vendors, pressing on ones we have, and talking with pcraighill@instructure.com‌ in person (plus a slew of other people - especially anyone from Canvas Mobile Users).

I am also really looking forward to Canvas Intelligence Exchange‌ where I can meet other community members, learn from them, and gather any pre-InstCon knowledge (kona@richland.edu‌ has already told me to bring an extra suitcase :smileylaugh:).

Why are you going? What are you looking forward to? What are your InstCon suggestions?

54 Comments
Learner II

Kenneth Rogers this sums it up great.  I have also gone to many conferences but InstructureCon tops them all.  Not only do you get to network, pick up ideas, meet with vendors, and collaborate, you get to have a lot of fun while doing it.  This is the first conference that makes learning FUN!!  There is no sit in the chair all day long at this conferences.

I can't wait to meet others going.  So excited, the count down has started.

Instructure
Instructure

tellison "The count down has started."...I feel like we all need a paper chain or something!

Learner II

I have some construction paper in my office right now. I will get on that.  Might have to find some panda gear to sport.  I can definitely cover the spy gear with 5 boys in the house.

Community Coach
Community Coach

Yes! Paper chain!! Great idea! 🙂

Community Coach
Community Coach

Why am I going? I'm going because it's hands down the best conference I've attended! I've attended a number of conferences over the years, including user conferences for other LMS's, but InstCon is so much better it's crazy!

What am I looking forward to the most? The People! I'm most looking forward to the people! Attending #CanvasCon yesterday in Indianapolis was a lot of fun because I got to meet in person a number of people I've only talked with online in the Community. It was great to actually talk face-to-face with people I already feel like I'm friends with (stefaniesanders and garth@academicplatforms.com I'm talking about YOU!) and it was awesome to meet new people and hear their Canvas stories! InstCon is even better because there are even more people and even more opportunities to talk and network with people! A great opportunity to meet and talk with people is definitely the Canvas Intelligence Exchange taking place Tuesday morning before the conference starts! If you haven't checked it out, definitely take a look and plan on attending if you'll be around!

Advice... Leave space for all the swag! Stop. No joke. LEAVE SPACE FOR SWAG. Last time I had to buy a new suitcase to bring home all the swag!

Wear sunscreen! Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Wear comfortable shoes! The only thing I'm questioning is rain gear of some type. I didn't get to attend last year, but I've heard it's pretty common for it to rain every afternoon in Keystone.

Can't wait to see everyone!

Instructure
Instructure

Sunscreen? Good. Call. This gringo don't want no burn.

Surveyor II

To re-enforce what kenneth.rogers@instructure.com‌ and kona@richland.edu‌ have said, the people are great.  That includes the folks from Canvas, everyone has been a pleasure to work/collaborate with.

For me the big upside of going to the conference is getting out of the "bubble".  It's very easy to get caught up in what "you" do in your daily routine.  In my opinion it is invaluable to have the opportunity to discuss and hear about what other people are facing in their "bubbles", and how they came up with solutions.  What resources are others finding helpful?  What tips and tricks can you pick up, or share with others?  Connect with people to increase the channels available for you to get the most out of Canvas at your institution.

For anyone who is on the fence, "just do it" : )

Instructure
Instructure

Excellent words, garth@academicplatforms.com‌! Hearing from others that our "status quo" may not be the only way is extremely beneficial. It's great to hear how other people are approaching ideas or issues!

Community Team
Community Team

kenneth.rogers@instructure.com‌, what kona@richland.edu‌ said Smiley Happy...I'm looking forward to meeting you, and other Community members I know, but don't yet "know," face to face! And I see you like the sunscreen tip. This is one of the tips and tricks I compiled based on my experience at InstructureCon last year, so please have a look: https://community.canvaslms.com/message/60788-instcon2017-prep-calling-all-flatlanders?sr=search&sea...

Instructure
Instructure

Who you calling a flatlander, stefaniesanders? I'm 650' above sea level!

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**Quietly clicks on provided link for ALL OF THE INFORMATION**

Community Team
Community Team

It's all relative, kenneth.rogers@instructure.com; I'm a paltry 12 feet above sea level, which pales in comparison to your 650' elevation--but believe me, we will both be gasping for breath at 9,000'-plus if we don't prepare accordingly.

Instructure
Instructure

stefaniesanders‌ - believe me. I'll be gasping for breath no matter how much I prepare!

Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi kenneth.rogers@instructure.com‌: 

The main reason I go to InstructureCon is the people. It's so wonderful to meet the community and instructure employees and not just talk Canvas, but talk about ideas, people's kids, favorite baseball teams, the weather back home, etc. It's just a good place to understand we are real people with awesome ideas together on the same education boat. Every year I want to talk to more and more people and that's why I push for more birds of a feather sessions. The energy, enthusiasm, and ideas are what fuels me to do what I do for another year. Even though I love the mountain resort, this conference would be successful anywhere because of people like you, kona@richland.edu, stefaniesanders, garth@academicplatforms.com, tellison and more. 

The conference team puts on a good show, the events are wonderful, and the presentations are so thoughtful, but without the people around us, it wouldn't be as successful. On that note, are you we going to meet up this year?  Smiley Happy

Instructure
Instructure

Thanks for humanizing us all, Ryan.Seilhamer@ucf.edu‌! It is very easy to forget at a conference that we are all "real" people. We want to talk about what's working (or not), bounce ideas off of each other, or the latest release...but that human connection is what builds that trust when we actually have an issue and we know we can lean on each other (even outside of the community! :smileyshocked:).

And yes! Let's meet up! We chatted a very long time ago about virtually meeting, but now we can find a time to meet in person. I'll be getting there Monday afternoon, then I'll be helping out Tuesday morning with the Canvas Intel Exchange‌ (if you're going to be there and aren't doing any pre-conference sessions, your wisdom would be a joy to have!), then I'll be free. Let me know what's up and I'll see what I can do!

Community Coach
Community Coach

I must wholeheartedly agree, kenneth.rogers@instructure.com and Ryan.Seilhamer@ucf.edu !

It is the people we meet, interact with and build relationships with that makes InstructurCon so special; and the fact that Instructure create a conference environment that actively supports this! The UnConference, the communal meals, the evening receptions, comfortable venues, staff everywhere (and the most friendly and helpful staff of any organization) and great entertainment activities, always give attendees time and incentive to meet and mingle. I have attended five InstCons and this Summer will be my sixth, and I cannot tell you how many times I have said, "Hi my name is Kelley, where are you from?", or "Hi, my name is Kelley, what do you do at Instructure?" And, the conversation takes off from there.  Not surprising, but I also learn the most through this networking, and over the years have built ongoing collaborations with folks I met at InstCon, so the learning continues long after the conference has closed. And I don't want to forget the families! No other conference I have attended is so family-friendly as InstCon; and this humanizes and personalizes the conference even more so, making it so much easier to get  to know folks.

Ryan, I know I will get to spend lots of time with you this year! Kenneth, drop by the Community booth and introduce yourself and we'll chew the fat and swap truly magnificent tall tales - I love putting a face to a name!

Kelley

Community Coach
Community Coach
Instructure
Instructure

kelley.meeusen@cptc.edu‌ - excellent words! I love how you put it - "ongoing collaborations". Beyond the relationships and community we built, collaborations is also key. I'm really looking forward to connecting, expanding my network, and building off of each other! The Canvas Community has already helped with that (as kona@richland.edu‌ said, I'm helping facilitate the https://community.canvaslms.com/community/instcon/2017/blog/2017/06/14/inserttitleofbriefing?sr=sear...‌), and I can only imagine how much more https://community.canvaslms.com/community/instcon/2017?sr=search&searchId=02853e3e-d98d-4bd8-ab69-fb...‌ will help build my network!

Looking forward to meeting you face to face and chatting about things. Hopefully you've got a funky hat...and if you actually play the bass like your current avatar suggests, maybe we can talk some music as well!

Cheers!

Community Member

Thanks for the comment and the wisdom. I share your enthusiasm for InstructureCon, though I've never been. We don't have it in our budget. Someone from our group should go and debrief the rest of us. 

I have hosted many user-conferences, but I picture this one being different because we live in Canvas. Having support's perspective or the perspective of other user's would be invaluable. You can't get these experiences in a book or video.

Thanks again! 🙂

Community Member

Yup agree with everything here!  I'm looking forward to seeing people I met last year and meeting new like minded people.  I'm also really looking forward to theCanvas Intel Exchange event.  We have a new but growing fast Canvas UK  HE users group and there will be a posse of us making the trip out.  The altitude is interesting...  I'll be swapping my 'sea level' for the heights of Keystone.  I also have conference badge envy - I've slung so many out over the years...

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Instructure
Instructure

Thanks for your post, a.birch@hull.ac.uk‌! And for what it's worth, I don't call my badges "Conference Badges", but rather "Battle Badges". Depending on the Conference, you've got to fight your way into a session, punch someone to get the last beer, or throw an elbow for that awesome t-shirt. I take conferences very seriously. Smiley Wink

And most importantly - thanks for the https://community.canvaslms.com/community/instcon/2017/blog/2017/06/14/inserttitleofbriefing?sr=sear...‌ shout out! I'm stoked for #canvasintel17‌ and can't wait to connect with my Community peers. You should reach out to your UK counterparts and encourage them to come along! Your "Yankee" brothers and sisters would love the chance to connect and learn from y'all! (And if you can't tell, my use of "y'all" means I am definitely not a Yankee!)

Instructure
Instructure

Sad you can't join us at https://community.canvaslms.com/community/instcon/2017?sr=search&searchId=dcead7b4-5042-44c1-a77b-3a...‌, thebert@dts.edu‌. However, I think this is where the power of The Community really comes into play. Whereas other LMS conferences are so isolated, The Community will bring a lot of the conference online to those who can't attend. Attendees will be posting their thoughts and feedback, and others will be providing more detailed blogs. I'm not sure of any https://community.canvaslms.com/community/ideas/canvaslive?sr=search&searchId=f174b3a3-e986-481f-b14...‌ sessions from #instcon‌, but I'm sure someone out there knows what the plans are! Even though you won't have the face-to-face interactions, hopefully it will bring you a tad closer to the action.

Community Member

There are quite a few of us there this year, certainly us at Hull, Uni of Birmingham, Royal College of Music and I'm sure some others.  We all got together last week in Birmingham together with the team from Canvas EMEA and had a brilliant day, I think some seventeen or eighteen of the now twenty plus UK institutions were there.  Oh, and there may have been a beer or two drunk the night before!   

Instructure
Instructure

Sounds like a great group of people! And what a great turnout - can't beat 85-90% attendance!

Now to get that many of y'all to attend the Canvas Intel Exchange‌!!  Smiley Wink *Shameless Plug*

Community Member

Way ahead on that one Smiley Happy We use a Slack team really successfully - although I suppose we really ought to do more in here!

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Community Coach
Community Coach

Awesome!! I'm part of a group that uses Slack and it's pretty awesome! Yet, we tend to keep that for back-channel type stuff and post the good stuff here in the Community! 🙂

Community Member

Kona - we are just going through that loop.  Birmingham was the first Canvas UK Uni and Hull not sure if we were the second or maybe third, but early in the UK anyway...  I spend some of my time with projects at Birmingham and some with Hull and I was always shuttling between the two teams checking stuff out.  I knew that we needed a better place for exchange other than old Birchy nipping in and out of Birmingham just because he knew the people (and the door codes) and that's sort of how the group came about.  It was formalised (sort of!!) over a beer in Keystone.  Now we have all of the UK Unis in the group and are working really closely with Canvas.  Slack was the quickest/easiest but I'm now wondering whether we should be leaving the tech in there and coming more in here for as you say 'the good stuff'.  Partly why I'm really looking forward to the Intel Exchange (I'm secretary to the group so get lots of the back office stuff to do) BTW I'm more than happy to share the story - it has been a fantastic 12 months! but suspect the agenda for the day is pretty much set?

Community Advocate
Community Advocate

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Community Coach
Community Coach

Love this!!

Instructure
Instructure

YES!

Community Advocate
Community Advocate

Why do I choose InstructureCon?  Definitely the people and the opportunity for continued conversations, sharing ideas (or Intel) and finally meeting so many community names face-to-face!   My first instcon was in 2015 in Park City and I was traveling solo (as I usually do) and everyone was so welcoming and excited to talk.  Now every year I return excited as if it's a family reunion seeing extended cousins, etc.   Never have I been to a conference that emphasized so much on the social events in the evenings.  And honestly, it's quite brilliant, because it keeps everyone from wanting to just hide in their hotel rooms and the social events are where the best conversations and networking are happening and continuing after sessions!   I was actually given the opportunity to go to a few conferences this year and my response was "I would like to go to ____, ___, and ____, but if I'm only allowed one, it must be InstructureCon.  I'm not budging on that one!"

I do have another commitment on Tuesday morning, but hoping to be able to slip into canvasintel17 to meet some of you and say hello!  

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Community Coach
Community Coach

a.birch@hull.ac.uk, wow, this sounds like an amazing story and one I'd definitely like to hear about!!

For the Exchange the participants will be picking the topics that get discussed, so you might want to recommend a topic related to transitioning to Canvas (or something similar). This is often a topic people like to talk about and compare notes on, so my guess is that it would be well received.

Also, I wouldn't be surprised if groups of people who attend the exchange decide they want to branch off and do something for lunch or in the afternoon together, so this could also be an opportunity to really share and network. In fact, it was a spur of the moment lunch when a group of us (who didn't really know each other beyond the Community and an unconference session) came up with #JoshCoates Keynote Bingo‌. I think that's actually a big theme for this conference as a whole... how random connections with people end up into amazing conversations, collaborating, and (sometimes) even bigger things!

Looking forward to meeting you and swapping Canvas stories! 

Instructure
Instructure

bcrook@standrews-de.org‌ - you'll be the best secret agent sneaking into the mission site for intel gathering. Smiley Wink

Community Coach
Community Coach

And hey, feel free to bring a few people over from your other event if you want... 😉

Community Advocate
Community Advocate

My AirBNB rental in Keystone included this in their welcome email!  

We are pleased that you will be staying with us during your vacation.  We want to make sure that you have a good experience when you come up to the high country. We have arranged for discounted oxygen concentrator rentals.  Altitude Sickness can affect anyone and supplemental oxygen can help you acclimate and avoid the side effects. Over 50% of individuals can be affected with headaches, nausea, tiredness, sleeplessness and flu like systems.  Contact Altitude Oxygen at 970.368.6166 and we can have an oxygen concentrator delivered to your accommodations waiting for you upon arrival.

 

Community Advocate
Community Advocate

I call it "Proactive Procrastination", which around here every says that's my job title.  LOL

Community Advocate
Community Advocate

I want in on any invites for Canvas-related conversations that just might have to happen at a local watering hole!  Just putting that out there...

Instructure
Instructure

I second bcrook@standrews-de.org‌...I'll share a pint...or two...with any of our UK counterparts!

Community Coach
Community Coach

Me too! Me too! 🙂

Instructure
Instructure

I'm super excited about my FIRST instructurecon experience! I just put my agenda together yesterday and realized I'm pretty much booked straight through from start of day to end of day. It is going to be super fun, but I'll definitely be needing that "unconference" session and the weekend following to Defrag from the sheer amount of awesome I'll experience! 

(as a side note: I feel like the term "Defrag" has died and I just summoned something from the grave.)

Great write up, Kenneth! I liked this ages ago, but didn't have a chance to comment when I wanted to. Alas. Smiley Happy 

Community Coach
Community Coach

Sounds great. My schedule is still in flux as I generally get pulled into R1 meetings or something similar. If I'm available, I'll be at the exchange. I will be there Monday afternoon, so we'll make it work! 

Instructure
Instructure

Thanks for the kind comments, Deactivated user‌! Glad you'll be experiencing #instcon‌ for the first time. If I remember from a post of yours, you'll be flying solo, no? If you're there Tuesday morning, you should check out the https://community.canvaslms.com/community/instcon/2017/blog/2017/06/14/inserttitleofbriefing?sr=sear...‌. It'll be a nice (and relaxing) way to learn from each other and kick off the week with your community peers! You can register for the event at http://bit.ly/cie0017. Hope you can join us!

Community Member

You are on for that beer Smiley Happy  Let's talk more during the morning and fix something up.  Either locally or there is an excellent microbrewery here https://www.dambrewery.com/  

Instructure
Instructure

Darnnnn it! I wish I could. My shuttle will bring me in shortly after that ends. (around 1pm.) and good ol' check in isn't until 3 something. hah! Gotta love 3rd party travel agents used by your company.... Smiley Happy 

HAVE A GREAT TIME! I'm sad I'll miss out.

And Yup! I am Flying Solo but I'm excited to see you cool cats around #instcon17‌ that week!

Community Coach
Community Coach

Strangely enough I've actually eaten there before about 8 years ago and it was excellent back then as well! I'm a nursing Mom, so certain beverages aren't on the menu right now, but I'm always happy to sit down with a big class of water (lol) and talk shop!

Instructure
Instructure

Oh my, a.birch@hull.ac.uk. Some of those brown ale's sound quite tasty. 

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And if I could have an imperial brown ale with a true UK'er?! Amazing.

Community Member

Okeydokes, you are on! 

Instructure
Instructure

I third that!! Smiley Happy 

Community Coach
Community Coach

Awesome news, kona@richland.edu!

Kelley

Community Coach
Community Coach

Unfortunately, kenneth.rogers@instructure.comall I play is a mean stereo! But that doesn't mean we can't talk music. Love music, and in all genres!

Kelley

Instructure
Instructure

Well, I've met some people who can't even play a stereo!