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Community Member

InstructureCon 2016 Post-Conference Feedback

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tl;dr: This is an open discussion where you all can publicly share your qualitative thoughts and feedback about InstructureCon 2016! Please post before reading the comments from others. Then feel free to reply to others!

Once again we were stunned by another kumbayawesome InstructureCon! Fortunately the great sessions, ideas, and connections we made, can live on within our Canvas Community and in the InstructureCon 2016 community space! Remember that you can keep the conversation alive, around each breakout session, by adding comments! This is a great way to connect with the presenters and share thoughts/ideas with other participants.

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 2016!

Here's some things you might want to talk about: the sessions, the keynotes, the activities, the online schedule, the app, the booths, the venue, 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!

PS... Don't forget to add all those kumbayawesome photos you took, to the Camp Canvas Photo Gallery...

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

Let's kick off this discussion with some @mentions:

kristin.lundstrum@delasalle.com​, jward@instructure.com​, tom.gibson@esc13.txed.net​, kub26@psu.edu​, kdfrench@utexas.edu​, Ryan.Seilhamer@ucf.edu​, ckofeldt@palcs.org​, ktesterman@ccaeducate.me, roush.94@osu.edu​, amber_morse@allenisd.org​, dlyons@instructure.com​, mjevins@winwholesale.com​, hyrum@instructure.com​, lalevesque​, mfgu@dxatc.edu​, kbeimfohr​, jasond@victoryoutreach.org​, britain.woodman@instructure.com​, regina_mccurdy@scps.k12.fl.us​, hsiao.62@osu.edu​, shortridge@gatewaycc.edu​, stuart.ryan@collaborative.education​, lambj@centergrove.k12.in.uslindalee@wharton.upenn.edu​, awilliams​, thatcher.bohrman@yc.edu​, crystal_trotter@allenisd.org​, Deactivated user​, 985706039​, bsargent​, bwalters@swinburneonline.com​, travis.cox@adelaide.edu.au​, beth.ritter-guth@ucc.edu​, tmercer@msddecatur.k12.in.us​, mouldera​, Deactivated user​, sblyth@instructure.com​, tawnya.means@ufl.edu​, michelle@ou.edu​, mlattke@instructure.com​, jray11@iupui.edu​, Deactivated user​, mlove@msjc.edu​, colleen.ortega@adelaide.edu.au​, whitney.kilgore@idesignedu.org​, victoria-maloy@uiowa.edu​, arovner@shoreline.edu​, kevin@ou.edu​, lstark@instructure.com​, dtheriault​, kmiller​, bcrook@standrews-de.org​, grahamb@sfu.ca​, chofer@morainepark.edu​, floria@umd.edu​, sphoward@ccaeducate.me​, Deactivated user​, dhawley@btc.ctc.edu​, jwhite@ivey.ca​, mmorvant@ou.edu​, goodrum​, kristie.johnson@southlakecarroll.edu​, Deactivated user​, hooker.24@osu.edu​, lydia​, yotebrarian​, A00015317​, catherine_gregory@allenisd.org​, kyle.johnson@chaminade.edu​, timothy.mckean@ccs.spokane.edu​, murphy.1527@osu.edu​, sbeck@nwmissouri.edu​, ewilson@occ.cccd.edu​, lclontz@emory.edu​, straussi@erau.edu​, chriscas​, candace.girard@tufts.edu​, p.bier@auckland.ac.nz​, kdscholl@indiana.edu​, bigenhoc@greenhill.orgaharris​, dave-long@uiowa.edu​, kschneider25@alamo.edu​, 16247​, skowlaski@hccfl.edu​, msl_adm​, evans.1517@osu.edu​, eanderson3@greeleyschools.org​, jbrady2@hccfl.edu​, Adrienne.J.Gauthier@Dartmouth.edu​, np@unplag.com​, ebaker@centralia.edu​, timf@bigbend.edu​, travis.thurston@usu.edu​, Deactivated user​, jap98y​, seneman@uncc.edu​, SchaeferG@husson.edu​, stefaniesanders​, rcarney@instructure.com​, scottd@instructure.com​, biray@instructure.com

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182 Replies
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Learner II

The most important thing to me was the sessions were informative and inspiring. Everyone who worked the event were equally informative and inspiring! It did take a little time to figure out where everything was and how to get there but I ended up renting a bicycle and that ended up being the best way for me to get around (I would feel very comfortable going back to Keystone and knowing where to go now). They Might Be Giants and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band were awesome! Best swag ever – Really!

I hate to say this but one of the improvements would be the food choices as I did not have a lot of vegan or veggie options available to me, especially the night at River Run where the only options were Veggie Pot Stickers and Falafel balls (I remember at Park City they had The Farm Restaurant available for more Veggie/Vegan options). It would have been great to have more tables and tents at Decatur field too.

TL/DR summary – It rocked – more food choices for leaf eaters!

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Great point bcrook@standrews-de.org about coming out a day or more early as the change in altitude kicked my butt for the first 24 hours which made it tough to get around on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning!

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Community Member

Keynotes: The keynotes were inspiring.  I was especially intrigued by the idea of moving away from the traditional educational experience to allow students to take what they are learning and apply it to real-world problems.  I have heard this concept discussed at several conferences prior to InstructureCon, but I had never heard it articulated in the same manner with so many examples of actual students engaging with the world around them as I did here.

App: The app made a great experience even better.  It was wonderful having almost everything right at my fingertips.  It would have been nice to have included the food and events section.  Those are the only things I did find myself having to bring up a web browser for when I needed to double-check times and locations.

Activities: These kept me engaged both on-the-ground and online.

Sessions: The sessions were very informative.  I especially like being able to hear about upcoming changes and learning about new ways to leverage Canvas and/or partner tools.

Venue: The venue was lovely, and I have tons of pictures to prove it.  I plan to visit again on my own time to experience more of Keystone and the surrounding area.

Making Connections: It was nice to connect with so many wonderful and helpful people.  I was able to spend time with some of my colleagues outside of our normal work environment, meet people who are located at other schools not that far from mine that I probably never would have met otherwise, and finally meet, in-person, some of the wonderful people I have interacted with in the community.

Overall there was entirely too much to do to do everything, but I tried to get in as much as possible.Smiley Happy

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mouldera​ I also missed out on the s'mores. Smiley Sad

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I definitely agree with bcrook@standrews-de.org​ about the Keystone staff.  They were always very helpful and friendly.  Another factor that has influenced my decision to return to this venue on my own time.

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Adventurer

TL;DR, good conference but could definitely use some tweaking in various areas for next year.

Things that were great

  • The keystone employees.  Super friendly and helpful everywhere we saw them.  Even providing rides on their carts if you could find them (more on that in the tweaking section)
  • The scenery was even better than park city!  Gorgeous mountains to see in the morning and before bed
  • The selection of non-conference activities was also nice.  The free bike rides, paddle boats, etc were a refreshing break from all of the learning!
  • It was great to have most sessions in one place (the convention center), though capacity seemed to still be a big issue this year.
  • The swag, as always, was fabulous!

Things that could use some tweaking

  • I would 3rd (or 4th or 5th by now) the comments about accessibility.  The amount of stairs (or even steep ramps) needing to be traversed form breakfast to conference to lunch to conference to dinner was way too much for a co-worker who had gotten injured the week before.  Luckily we did run into a golfcart-like shuttle a couple times that helped us out, but there was no predictable place to find them at all.
  • I'd also agree with more covered spaces for breakfast/lunch/dinner.  I know Instructure can't control the weather, but it seems there should always be a plan for the worst case (and the plan shouldn't be to hand out ponchos and let people's food get soggy sitting/standing in the rain).  Having tables sit at also really facilitates starting conversations as people come and sit down.  Wandering around in open spaces just didn't have the same effect (for me anyways).
  • For the sessions, I wish there was some sort of "level" indicator, in addition to the K-12/higher ed classifications.  This is out 3rd year on Canvas, and it's really hard sometimes to figure out which sessions were meant for beginners or which were for more advanced users.  I also agree with the comments on capacity for the breakouts.  There were 3 sessions I couldn't attend because they were full (including quizzes 2.0 and customer service).  Not sure hot to fix that with so many attendees and not so many breakout rooms, but it was definitely an issue this year.
  • Food was good overall, but I think the breakfasts at Park City were slightly better (at least for my preferences, I loved the sausages there). I'm more of a "simple" food person, and would really have loved to have a burger or pizza option at the river-run street food night.  There were a lot of different options, but most of them just weren't my taste at all.  The Tuesday and Thursday dinners were awesome though!
  • I'd echo the comments about the guest pass price.  I'd love to bring my fiance (wife by next year), but $400 for 7 meals and no swag or anything definitely seems expensive.  I wonder if the price was intentionally set high to discourage families from coming and leaving more room available for attendees instead?

-Chris

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Surveyor II

I enjoyed the conference. The location was beautiful and the Keystone Inn had a really great staff. In all it was a really good conference experience.

But...

  • I was shut out of two breakout sessions. I agree with others that popular sessions need to be moved to larger venues. Offering a second session is good, but when the second session is created after other plans have been made, you miss out.
  • Some way to get a better idea on the target audience of the presentations (Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced). I had heard complaints that some sessions that sounded advanced were actually geared toward beginners.
  • More tables to eat at, preferably covered. The only time I was able to really talk to anyone during meal time was when I arrived early with a colleague and we were able to get a table under a tent. People are more relaxed and more willing to chat when they don't have to stand up and avoid the rain, or sun.
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Community Coach
Community Coach

InstCon was a great experience! I am sure I'm not the only one trying to sort through all of the ideas collected in those few days.

The keynotes were amazing. Thank you for inviting speakers to share their experiences with InstCon...Marc and Angela were relevant and engaging!

The marketing team deserves a major shout-out. The hours of design time that must have gone into transforming Keystone into Camp Canvas must have been tremendous. There were so many small details, and the graphics tied the entire "camp" experience together.

I think the conference rooms, while not planned perfectly, were better than last year. I think opening up the sessions as events prior to scheduling them was a great idea. I hope that next year more attendees actively add their yes/maybe votes in order to help the Events Team plan for high-demand sessions. I also liked how there were two places (rather than several) to travel between this year. The extra time between the sessions allowed me to walk between the main conference center and Keystone Lodge & Spa without any issues.

The app was awesome. It was so much more convenient than the pocket guide. I also liked that the information from The Community was linked into session details. However, it would be helpful if you could add items to your schedule. I had a few meetings other than the sessions, and it would have been great to be able to see my InstCon experience all in one place...and be able to add notifications/reminders for important items.

The food was plentiful! I'm thankful that it was easy to grab a meal or snack and be on my way. However, it was sometimes hard to find a place to eat (with the exception of the Hoedown) without feeling rushed so the next person could use the space. It would be great to have more standing tables and some options for sitting next year.

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Adventurer

Let's see ... :smileycool: cool things:  Canvas people, They Might Be Giants, Quizzing Engine (Jason Sparks), Gradebook Features. The app got better as we went along. Session seating was better and an actual conference center was waaay better than Park City. Sunsets! Wednesday Street Party Food.

Argh :smileyconfused: things: rain when we had outdoor activities, altitude sickness, airport shuttle buses, resort shuttle buses (I even got left in the middle of the wrong parking lot once).

I gotta say, I appreciate the outdoorsy scene as much as anyone (I was in Boy Scouts both as a youth and a leader), but it might really be time to go to a nice large conference center in a city where we have lots of lodging, sessions space, indoor eating, and the only bus ride is the start and end of the day ...

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I'm posting my response here so it will be grouped with that of my fellow Floridian, dreesd​. (Hi, Dale! Smiley Happy)  For me, coming from an elevation of 12 feet (no exaggeration), it was helpful to be able to spend a few days in Denver to acclimate, but not everyone has the time to do that. I was surprised that Keystone didn't have a few oxygen bars dotted around the facility. This is something that I've seen in trips to Telluride, Aspen, Vail, and even Leadville, so it's not unusual for high elevation towns in Colorado. I wouldn't expect the oxygen to be supplied gratis, but I think offering it on a cash bar basis (or hey, let people use their drinks tickets for oxygen instead of drinks) might be both possible and welcome.