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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
Community Coach
Community Coach

229780, The uncon​ was kind of like a non-secret secret. I found out about it at the very very bottom of the monthly CSM newsletter back on April 8, 2015. See image to the left.

As soon as I found out about it I tweeted about it - alluding to finding an #instcon Easter Egg. I then continued to tweet about it every so often as we got closer to the conference. Also, once the new Community got up and going, I started posting things here about the uncon.

From what I've been able to gather, it seems that it wasn't advertised that much because Instructure didn't want people picking the free uncon over the paid pre-conference sessions. For me it wasn't an issue because I wasn't planning on attending any pre-conference sessions. In addition, I know a number of people did both a pre-conference session or two and the uncon.

As to your desire to learn something new, it seems that the #uncon would have been great for you and I'm sorry you missed it. For me, I didn't really go to any conference sessions about how to use different features and instead focused more on sessions like Multitasking, Humanizing, How the Brain works, etc. Yet, what I think would be wonderfully amazing for super high-end users who have been there, done that, and have 3+ years of #instcon t-shirts to prove it, is to have an uncon running side by side with the regular conference. Think about it? What to really talk about discussions and the pedagogy of discussions? Let's have an open session on it. What about creative ways to engage student in online courses? Let's break into groups and share what we do! This is what I find inspiring and engaging and why I think an uncon track would make a great addition to #instcon 2016! Smiley Happy


This is my third InstructureCon​ and I must say that I left feeling disappointed. In years past, I've come away with so much information that I wanted to implement at my institution. This year, I left with almost no new information.

Venue - the venue is absolutely beautiful and refreshing. I love the ability to have some of the conference functions outside! I really wish we wouldn't have used the Sundial Tent for speakers...Instructure Staff - always extremely friendly and helpful. Couldn't ask to work with a better group of individuals!!

Swag - Canvas always does an excellent job on their swag! The jackets would have been great for cooler weather in Utah. I love the t-shirt and hat.


Sessions - there were too many of the same types of sessions (ex. Badges, Implementation, Rubrics). If you heard one, you heard them all. The sessions should be set in three stages: (1) Beginner (2) Intermediate (3) Advanced (coding, etc). I found that we either were way too beginner for me or too advanced, as I am not a coder. I took absolutely NO new information home...Smiley Sad

Activities - It feels like I am in an episode of Groundhogs Day. Similar activities every year. You always have fun games to play, you always hae food carts one night, you always show movies, etc. There is really no difference, except you give it a new name/theme.

New Orleans Mardi Gras Night - You were WAY off the mark! Someone should have done some research on that one. The cuisine, music, and culture were wrong. It honestly gave people the incorrect view of southern cajun cuisine and beautiful jazz music. There was a true disconnect with Mardi Gras and the Circus type of feel that you had going on.

Food - overall the food was terrible. The breakfasts were good, Mexican lunch was great, and dinner the final night was good also. Otherwise it wasn't tasty at all.

Travel Between Sessions - We needed more time to travel to the other buildings between sessions. I missed out on two of the sessions that I wanted to attend because they were already too full.

I always look forward to my trips to Instructurecon! I've always come back with an abundance of new ideas and information to share with those at my institution. This year just wasn't my year. Sadly, many from my state felt the exact same way. It is an expensive trip to not come back with the knowledge that I was so desperately seeking.

Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Longer time between sessions - give everyone the appropriate time to get from one building to the next, while still waiting on shuttles/go-carts
  2. Allow everyone to sign up for sessions PRIOR to the conference. I've attended many educational conferences and most require that you sign up for breakout sessions in advance. If you aren't on the list, you have to wait in line to see if there is additional space
  3. Create tracks that include Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced. This year was either beginner or advanced (coding)

I hate to provide negative feedback, but know that no change can be truly implemented without honest feedback from participants. I will also voice my concerns in the survey. Thank you for all that you do!

Community Coach
Community Coach

In regards to swag...

"Some people seemed to be special or have the inside track to get more stuff." For this I think it's a combination of things:

  • Vendors were giving out extra swag, but you needed to go talk with them to get the really good stuff.
  • Following #instcon on Twitter and seeing where they are giving out something extra.
  • Being at the right place at the right time. Sometimes they handout extra swag to people who attend the evening events.
  • There were at least a few groups of users that got some extra swag for helping out and doing extra stuff for Canvas. The ones I'm aware of are Canvas Coaches, Canvassadors, and Project Khaki.

"I don't drink so it would have been nice to exchange drink punches for swag." - I am ALL for this!! I don't drink either so I spent my drink punches making friends (offering to "buy" someone a drink when they ran out) and getting cranberry juice (I needed something a little more than water, but don't drink soda). I would have loved the option to get an extra t-shirt, hat, or jacket to take home and uses as prizes for my faculty!

Not sure why I got this message. The information provided is not relevant to my remarks….I did read these on another person’s post, but not mine.

Thank you,

Buffy Matthews

MGCCC eLearning Coordinator

PO BOX 609

Perkinston, MS 39573

Office: 601-928-6956<><>;

Not sure why I got this message. The information provided is not relevant to my remarks….I did read these on another person’s post, but they were not included in my responses.

Thank you,

Buffy Matthews

MGCCC eLearning Coordinator

PO BOX 609

Perkinston, MS 39573

Office: 601-928-6956<><>;

 @buffy_matthews , You got my messages because I replied to this Discussion after you posted your response. Once you post something to a discussion you'll get a notification every time anyone posts regardless of whether it's to your post or not. To turn this off you would need to go to your Preferences (click on your image icon) and adjust your email preferences.

Learner II


It was my first time attending the Conference and I love the Canvas Community even more after attending. Everyone working there were so helpful and fun! Please do not ever move this out of Park City to places like Orlando or Las Vegas as I believe you would lose the community feel!

I wish Game Night was offered more than just one night. I don’t drink and as someone stated it would have been nice to exchange the drink tickets for swag. Thank goodness for the Farm – great food but was not impressed at all on the food outside of the Farm. On the night of the food trucks I heard quite a bit of grumbling in line about how long it was taking to get the food.

I thought a few sessions were geared towards beginners and thought it might be helpful to mark them as beginner, intermediate, advanced or better descriptions. Half hour sessions were just a little short for me. One of my sessions they used videos for most of the presentation – that was kind of sad as I wanted to hear from them and not watch videos (would have loved to watch the videos later at my convenience).

Keynotes were great but the presentation by Josh Coates was really long and I was hoping that he would have tied it into the new interface instead of waiting until the general session.

I love Canvas and loved meeting all the members of the Canvas community!

Community Member

I agree wholeheartedly with much that has already been said, but let me with start with a slight disagreement. A couple of people have said that they didn't learn as much this year. I didn't feel that way at all. This was my 4th InstructureCon, and I'd say at least a third of the sessions I attended taught me brand new things, another third showed me interesting variations on things I already know about, and the last third I was probably reading #instcon tweets and not paying enough attention (but I've noted those as ones to go back to when the videos come out Smiley Wink).

To agree with and expand upon a few things:

  • Session length / break time / room size - Personally, I love the 30 minute length. That said, it doesn't allow for much Q&A. In the sessions where presenters deliberately left 10-15 minutes for questions, I felt like they skimped on the content. And although 15 minutes is enough time to make it from one hotel to another, it's not enough time to make it to a popular session at another hotel, because the room is already full. One possibility is to find a way to have larger rooms (different venue? find a way to partition Sundial tent?). Or maybe change to a slightly longer session and a slightly longer break (40 min session with 20 min break).
  • Activities / general zaniness - There seems to be mixed opinion on whether we need fun stuff to do, and whether the conference needs celebrities or glitz. I don't think we need nonstop entertainment - In fact, as an introvert (I know, hard to believe but true), I would love more quiet moments with smaller groups during the conference. Also, most of us have to keep working while we're conferencing, and it's hard to find a time and place (without hiding in the hotel room and feeling like you're missing out) to check a few emails or troubleshoot a few problems. There should be a big room (stocked with coffee, of course) called "Time Out", with tables and outlets. Like they have at hack night, but for stopping by during the day for a breather. All that said, I adore Instructure's sense of fun, and would miss the general zaniness if it was toned down.
  • Presenter gift - BEST. SWAG. EVER. As  @kona ​ said, it was "Wow, just Wow!" and immediately useful.
  • One tiny downer - the staff (Canyons staff, not Instructure staff) seemed a little less enthusiastic this year. I think we overwhelm them.

My answer to everyone who has asked "How was the conference?" has been, "Awesome. It's always awesome!"

Community Coach
Community Coach

YES! This! Smiley Happy

"There should be a big room (stocked with coffee, of course) called "Time Out", with tables and outlets. Like they have at hack night, but for stopping by during the day for a breather. All that said, I adore Instructure's sense of fun, and would miss the general zaniness if it was toned down."

Hi Tracey,

Using the Sundial tent for some sessions with partitions sound like a great idea. I hope they tracked attendance in sessions so they can judge popular session topics. I found gamification, badging, and the more pragmatic how-to sessions to be the most popular. I also like the idea of a time out gathering space, perhaps we can have a "Canvas Commons Cafe" where people know they can go and hang out and converse, I too would like chances for conversation beyond randomly sitting with new people for meals (which I highly recommend).

This was #4 for me and there have been a lot of changes but (IMHO) you have to be philosophical about it and let each Instructurecon be its own thing. They were talking about changing the venue back in 2013 because of the size but they are loath to give it up because it is so beautiful. They also face escalating expectations of what new, crazy thing they are going to do. Instructure and the number of organizations it serves have both vastly increased in size and virtually every Instructure employee used to be at the event, which is no longer the case. That is sad, but just the reality of growth.

But hey, this board is not just an exercise, and like all the community feature discussions, someone is listening and taking notes.