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jordan
Community Member

InstructureCon 2015 Public Postmortem

tl;dr: This is an open discussion where you all can publicly share your qualitative thoughts and feedback about InstructureCon 2015! Please post before reading the comments from others. Then feel free to reply to others!

So InstructureCon 2015 came, took our breath away (thanks Olivia), and now it's over. Fortunately the great sessions, ideas, and connections we made, can live on within our Canvas Community and the InstructureCon 2015 community space!

Please be sure to take that survey that our marketing team sends out, so we can make instcon even better next year. That quantitative feedback is invaluable.

In addition we wanted to have an open discussion where you all can publicly share your qualitative thoughts and feedback about InstructureCon 2015!

Here's some things you might want to talk about: the sessions, the keynotes, the general sessions, the activities, the online schedule, the printed schedule, opportunities to connect, ideas for the community team to improve community interaction and engagement.

Thanks for your help Canvas Community...  We ❤️ you!

Onward and upward!


Please @mention other community friends or use the "Share" tool to encourage others to offer their feedback as well!

talk about a #ff FYI:

 @scottdennis ​,  @Renee_Carney ​,  @biray ​,  @shauna_vorkink ​,  @kona ​,  @clong ​, awilliams​,  @mjennings ​,  @travis_thurston ​,  @ewander ​,  @seanmichaelmorr ​,  @jared ​,  @scottdennis ​,  @G_Petruzella ​, Deactivated user​,  @canvas_admin ​,  @mfgu ​,  @tdelillo ​,  @hvaughn ​,  @ted_coopman ​, 229780​,  @sbastian ​,  @kschneider25 ​,  @jmunoz1 ​,  @anthonem ​, st2840​,  @rseilham ​, Deactivated user​,  @jward ​,  @dlyons ​, Deactivated user​, Deactivated user​, JGarton​, 504417​,  @bacherts ​,  @SethBattis ​,  @mlattke ​, Deactivated user​, erinhallmark​,  @sabsmith ​,  @adam_b_nemeroff ​

126 Replies
hornej
Community Member

It was my first InstructureCon. I learned a lot, and I had a great time. I love that the sessions were only 30 minutes. They don't need to be longer than that. I see some complaints about not learning anything, but I feel that there was enough variety where everyone could find something. The meet and greet for presenters was really nice, and the cookies and milk were a really clever idea.

I will echo the comments another person made about Mardi Gras night and the food. It wasn't Instructure's fault, but the resort can surely do better than that. The food truck night was cool except for it was also hurry up and wait night, so that was kind of annoying. I reckon I could have just eaten at Farm or somewhere.

I don't want it to change venues at all. I thought the Canyons were perfect.

Overall, great job! I'll be back with some of my people next year!

sharonking5
Community Member

This was my first visit to InstructureCon. I absolutely loved it. I'll just give a short list of everything.

Loved -

I loved having the access to the outdoors. I hate conferences because I'm cooped up all day in air conditioning.

I loved being able to get exercise.

I loved the session on Flipping the Woodshop. I'm using that as soon as I can.

I thought the keynotes were amazing.

Canvas Community presentation was very helpful. It's why I'm here, and I'll be training our 13 community colleges on how to use it.

Did not like -

The Food. I'm from Louisiana. Nothing Mardi Gras-ish about that first night's meal. I finally found the special meals tent, and they had some fresh, amazing healthy food. However, there was no protein at all. This is very common for vegetarian options. There are plenty of protein sources that could be used... beans, eggs, tofu???

I won't beat the wifi to death, but it's on my list.

The black program. Unusable.

I actually would have loved to have had time to experience the area a bit. I did squeeze in hikes at 5 AM, but I felt like I would miss too much if I escaped for a bit.

Thanks so much! It was a great conference. I definitely will bring protein next time just in case, but I'll definitely be there. Smiley Happy

Although the Instructure people know all the local areas inside and out, I'll volunteer that two years ago (my first conference) I had a DELIGHTFUL walk from the conference hotel to Park City. There's an extensive series of trails along the main road. I picked one up near the 7-11. It goes up past the historic barn > into the city. You'll never have a better walk. About 3 miles each way. When you get into Park City there's a creek that runs along the side. Wonderful....

Hi Mark! Thanks so much for your positive feedback - I'm glad the pre-conference session was helpful for you! We still have a Twitter bird for you if you want it - if you send me your address, we'll gladly mail it to you! Smiley Happy You can reach me at katie@instructure.com. Thanks Mark, hope to see you next year!

Oh, and if you have some time next year, go to Sundance. It's not far from Park City. (Maybe 30-40 miles.) Fantastic. Robert Redford's place. (I call him Bob when I visit. 😃 They have chairlift rides up the mountain. Breathtaking vistas. (Canyons x 10) Kitschy little shops. And a zip line that you have to see to believe. Those people friggin' FLY down that mountain. Scared the crap out of me just watching. Beautiful....

Conference? What conference?

rseilham
Community Coach
Community Coach

Great responses...Let me jump in.

This is my third InstructureCon, and personally I find the networking with Instructure employees and other schools the most valuable part of this (and most conferences). This is especially true since the size of UCF makes some presentations not apply to our environment. There are some many things I like (the venue), but I won't repeat them, but here a few points.

What I loved:

  • Meeting everyone.  The Twitter stream was jumping. Thanks Canvassadors!
  • The big tent. It was like being at the circus! I originally was disappointed because i liked the forum stage, but the tent ended up being much better.
  • The UX and Mobile tent. There needs to be more of this! I'd like to be able to find product engineers and managers easily at the conference. It's invaluable to have a discussion with a real person.
  • The wifi was actually better this year.
  • The punch cards for swag. It was less chaotic this year.
  • Game night! Can we have Uno or Sorry! next year?

What I loved less:

  • I used the InstructureCon 15' PPT template as suggested, but when I got to my presentation, the fonts weren't installed. :smileyconfused:
  • The community for sessions. Although, I did like having a place to see who is attending my session and a public place to leave my presentation files, please consider adding a mobile application for scheduling next year.
  • The food trucks, especially the pizza was packed. I love the food truck idea, but we need more of them!
  • The location dictated my session selection. This is nothing new.
  • I feel like I learned less at this InstructureCon, but that's just me personally. I think people who are newer to Instructure (Canvas) get more out of the sessions.

Suggestions:

  • Some "birds of a feather" opportunities. I love mobile, that's no secret. I would like a place and time to meet others with my interest.
  • Possibly splitting the conference session for K12 and Higher Ed.
  • Bring back Flashback Heart Attack for the last night, they were great! (Maybe Hammer too)
sbastian
Community Member

This was my first InstructureCon, although not my first (by a long shot) Educational/EdTech conference. This one blew the others out of the water. I'd put it on par with the NSTA (National Science Teachers Association) conference but with a much better venue and a more fun/entertaining vibe.

I really don't do altitude well at all. The anti-altitude-sickness medication I got from my doctor helped, but not 100%. But it's SO PRETTY up there! I really did love the location. I LOVED being able to ride the Orange Bubble Gondola on Tuesday - I only wish it was open later in the week as well - nothing beats an open-air view of that area! I also liked that the gondola rides were free and there was enough time here and there to ride them. I certainly had no time to explore anything else in the area (if I can swing it next year, I'll plan for an extra day or two to do just that).

I was EXTREMELY happy to find the "Special Diets" food in the Farm. As a pescatarian, I appreciated not having to second-guess what was in the food, and the chef and his staff went above and beyond to give us creative, healthy, beautiful food. I kept hearing complaints about the "regular" food, but the Farm was just a gem.

The sessions were short, which at first I thought would be a problem, but most tailored their presentations to fit the time slot and promised us we'd have access to slides and video later, so it felt OK. A few I wish had a longer time slot - maybe there could be a variety of session lengths with a few going 60-90 minutes each day? Just a thought. Nearly all of them were crowded, no matter how large the room. I quickly learned to hop on the nearest golf cart (THANK YOU for those!) and head to the front of the room to find a seat (there was almost always a front-row seat available even when the room looked packed to overflowing - only once did I have to sit on the floor). I spoke to someone driving a golf cart who said the conference had nearly doubled in size this year - wow! I think that showed in the crowded session rooms. I'm not sure what the best solution is - are there more rooms? Cap attendance (boo)? Maybe erect some smaller tents or use the bigger tents for some breakout sessions? Maximize the space you have!

Despite being involved in the online Community Space and jumping on the Twitter bandwagon, I felt like I was missing some information all week. I discovered the Unconference VERY late in the game, but managed to get into the "course" on time and attend part of the it. I was already registered for some Pre-Conference sessions, so I couldn't attend all of it (which I suspect is why it was on the down-low - free vs paid sessions). I didn't understand what the General Sessions were about and almost skipped them in favor of a nap - until I asked a conference veteran who explained that's when we learn about new stuff in Canvas. In retrospect, I think all the information I needed was indeed, somewhere, but for some reason, I felt a bit scattered compared to other conferences I've attended. The hugely enthusiastic, energetic, and helpful Instructure staff more than made up for it though - They were easy to locate with their matching shirts, they were EVERYWHERE, and not one ever hesitated to help out and make everyone feel super-welcome. They really made the difference in this conference in my opinion. Kudos to Instructure for fostering such a great sense of community and welcome in your staff!

The Wi-Fi issues were, in my opinion, inexcusable. During the Pre-conference, I was unable to participate at all in one session due to not being able to connect. I eventually got onto the hotel Wi-Fi, but their connection was so slow I was unable to keep up with the hands-on class. It felt like a huge waste of $100 for that session. 😞  I asked the IT guys I found in the hall during that session why my laptop couldn't find an IP address - I was told they were "working on it". But the connection issues continued all week - some times I was golden, others, I couldn't connect at all. Incredibly frustrating! Especially for a tech conference where folks were encouraged to bring multiple devices. Again, I suspect this was a function of growing pains, and I hope and trust that it will be much improved for InstCon2016.

I liked the theme, but the color scheme left a lot to be desired. All the yellow was extremely hard to read - both on the website prior to the conference as well as in the PowerPoint templates presenters were given.

There was almost too much to do - I wanted more time! More time to meet and chat with folks from around the world. More time to play games at game night, more time chat and learn at Hack Night. I may, possibly, have tried to do "everything", which may not have been the best plan. But I had a blast!

The swag was generous, but perhaps include some more practical items like water bottles (I HATED to keep using plastic bottles and then searching for a recycling bin), a notebook (I found one on the last day - I could have used it earlier to take notes during the sessions), etc...

A huge THANK YOU for the air-conditioned giant tent for the keynotes and general sessions. If those had been held outside in the blistering sun, I would have had to look for a live-feed or wait for the YouTube video.

Overall, I had a ton of fun, learned enough to keep me busy for weeks if not months, met a whole new community of awesome people, and came home both energized and exhausted. Well played, Instructure. Rock on!

Thank goodness for the Farm!!! Could not agree more - the food was great and everyone working there were awesome!

sbastian
Community Member

Agree 100% about using Sched.org or something similar. Between time zone issues and different devices and Wi-Fi issues, something simple and clear for keeping track of sessions was sorely needed.

I really hope the UnConference grows as well - I wish I could have attended all of the sessions, but the energy and focus was just awesome.

I Did venture out to the start of that trail, but I'd love to take it all the way on.

Its a beautiful ​area and thanks for the tip on Bob's place. I blogged about my trail adventure if you are interested.

Morning Sunshine: McPolin Farm Nature Trail | Midlife Moments